6. The origin of the Portuguese words in Saramaccan: Implications for sociohistory

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The aim of this article is to try and trace the source of a phonological change that applies only in the Portuguese-derived lexicon in Saramaccan. Saramaccan is a mainly English-lexifier maroon creole language with a very substantial Portuguese element in its vocabulary. This phonological change, from /g/ to /k/, cannot have taken place in Surinam, as none of the other contributory languages to Saramaccan shows any sign of it. I identify the change as one that occurs in Kikongo-dominated or Kimbundu-dominated contexts. I then try to identify the particular geographical and historical context of this change.<br />I work back along a number of possible transfer paths: (1) Cayenne–Surinam; (2) Dutch Pernambuco–Cayenne; (3) Pre-Dutch Pernambuco–Dutch Pernambuco, and conclude that all three paths are involved in the transference of the phonological change. I try, finally, to identify Jewish individuals and families who could have been involved in both Pre-Dutch Paramaribo and Surinam, i.e., both ends of the path.


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