A Wolof trace in the verbal system of the Portuguese Creole of Santiago Island (Cape Verde)
A few cases of simple relexification of elements from Wolof in Santiago Creole suggest that the Wolofs were the dominant linguistic group amongst the “creolisers” in Santiago. Two arguments taken from the history of the slave trade will be proposed to confirm this hypothesis. In a final section, we present a case of the survival, in a simplified form, of a verbal category of Wolof in Santiago Creole: The imperfective variety of the Wolof ‘situative’ survives in a semantically simplified form in the progressive of Santiago Creole. Both categories are marked by a series of two verbal particles, the second of which is the marker of imperfectivity. However, the Santiago Creole progressive has retained only the progressive meaning of the imperfective variety of the Wolof ‘situative’, abandoning its ‘situative’ meaning. Such cases suggest that, in the creolisation process, the language structures of the group dominant amongst the creolisers more often survive in a modified form (generally, simplified) than as simple calques. Arguably, these modifications/simplifications are intended to ease the joining of other groups.