Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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The Indo-Portuguese creole languages that formed along the former Malabar Coast of southwestern India, currently seriously endangered, are arguably the oldest of all Asian-Portuguese creoles. Recent documentation efforts in Cannanore and the Cochin area have revealed a language that is strikingly similar to its substrate/adstrate Malayalam in several fundamental domains of grammar, often contradicting previous records from the late 19th-century and the input of its main lexifier, Portuguese. In this article, this is shown by comparing Malabar Indo-Portuguese with both Malayalam and Portuguese with respect to features in the domains of word order (head-final syntax and harmonic syntactic patterns) and case-marking (the distribution of the oblique case). Based on older records and certain synchronic linguistic features of the Malabar Creoles, this article proposes that the observed isomorphism between modern Malabar Indo-Portuguese and Malayalam has to be explained as the product of either a gradual process of convergence, or the resolution of historical competition between Dravidian-like and Portuguese-like features.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): case; convergence; diachrony; Indo-Portuguese; Malabar Indo-Portuguese; Malayalam; word order
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