Substrate Influence in Creole Formation
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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This paper takes as its starting point the recently discovered fact that Saramaccan contrasts two types of voiced labial and coronal stop, plain and implosive. The plain labials appear to be modern in origin, something which cannot be said about their coronal counterparts. So we reconstruct an earlier situation in Saramaccan in which only one type of labial voiced stop, the implosive, was present, but both types of coronal. The Gbe languages also have one voiced labial stop, and two coronals, although none of these are implosive. It can be demonstrated, however, that a near-regular correspondence exists between the three putative Saramaccan voiced stops and the three Gbe stops, and conclude that this is an additional piece of evidence for the role of Fon/Gbe as a substrate language for Saramaccan. We further discuss the implications this correspondence has for views on the nature of the 17th century Fon consonant system.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): consonant system; Fon; Gbe; implosive; Saramaccan; Substrate; typology
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