Development of a creole lexicon

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This paper explores the contribution of lexical research, with particular regard to Ndyuka of Suriname, to evaluation of Arends’ gradualist hypothesis of creolization. The number and semantic nature of 195 Ndyuka lexical items from different relevant African groups of languages are compared. The results are evaluated in light of our knowledge, thanks largely to Arends’ work, of when speakers of each group were numerically most dominant among slaves in Suriname. The results show continued growth of the African-derived part of the Ndyuka lexicon over several generations. Although this lexical inventory does not comprise a structural phenomenon to the same degree as creole syntactic and phonological systems, this conclusion provides indirect support for the gradualist hypothesis.


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