Gradualism in the transfer of tone spread rules in Saramaccan

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High tone spreads rightward in certain serial verb constructions in Saramaccan, parallel to the rightward spread of high tone in Fongbe, suggesting transfer. Saramaccan rightward spread contrasts with the default leftward spread, suggesting the independent transfer of serial verb constructions. Rightward spread overrides the default leftward spread. High tone spread for quantifiers in Saramaccan contrasts with serial verb and default rules, and resembles tonal phenomena in Kikongo quantifier phrases, again suggesting independent transfer. The quantifier tone spread rules override both the serial verb and the default tone spread rules. Particular tone spread rules for different syntactic domains imply incorporation of those rules at different times, which is supported by demographic data where a period well into the formation of Saramaccan is followed by a period of dominance by Fongbe and then Kikongo speakers.


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