Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Unlike most Caribbean English-based creoles, Saramaccan has two predicate negator allomorphs, á and ná. While aspects of their distribution suggest that the former is simply a phonologically eroded reflex of the latter, synchronic, diachronic, and comparative evidence indicate that á actually resulted from a phonological coalescence of a resumptive pronominal and the following original negator, in the context of topic-comment constructions. This account explains predicate negator occurrences in the grammar which are otherwise anomalous. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that caution must be applied in the tendency to view Saramaccan as a repository of ontoge-netically primary creole features, or as an instantiation of Universal Grammar on view. Finally, the account leads to various conclusions about the role that topic-comment constructions play in diachrony, particularly relating to the various reanalyses that resumptive pronominals will undergo depending upon the grammar in question.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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