Explaining Kabuverdianu nominal plural formation

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In this study, we apply the morphosyntactic 4-M model developed by Myers-Scotton and Jake (2000a, b) to data from Kabuverdianu or Cape Verdean Creole Portuguese (CVC) which has been less strongly restructured than so-called prototypical creoles.1 We focus on nominal plural marking where CVC presents similar morphosyntactic configurations as Brazilian Vernacular Portuguese (BVP) and the Portuguese spoken by the “Tongas”. Previous accounts of CVC and BVP nominal plural marking mention the occurrence of (at least) one inflectional marker per NP. We argue that the reduction of inflectional plural marking in CVC constitutes a case of overall loss of morphosyntactic complexity which is due to CVC having arisen through substantial reduction and restructuring during creolisation and to having shallow time-depth of existence in comparison to older languages, e.g., its lexifier Portuguese. We also argue that 4-M theory may constitute a useful diagnostic tool for the prediction of the configurations of complexity vs. simplification in cases of language reduction.


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