A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole by McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff

By McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff

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This sound change partly explains, for example, the form of the words béi ‘bury’ (from English bury, passing through a stage with a form like béri) and fúu ‘full’ (from English full, passing through a stage with a form like fúlu). ) Instances of words where l alternates with nothing intervocalically simply represent cases where, for some reason, the sound change is not consistently applied synchronically (perhaps due to dialect borrowing or influence from other Surinamese creoles which did not undergo the sound change but show otherwise similar forms in some cases).

Agó ‘knot’; and kэ̗lu ‘guilder’ vs. kálu ‘corn’ and bэ̗ ‘bow’ vs. 2. Nasal vowels Saramaccan has distinctive vowel nasalization. 2. for brief discussion of a small set of phonological environments where certain nasal vowels have been observed to significantly change their articulation). The distinctions among the front and back series of vowels are often more difficult to perceive under nasalization, in particular for each pair of mid vowels. Here, all phonemic nasal vowels are transcribed directly with a tilde.

Furthermore, there are a number of words which alternate between a-initial and a-less variants, for example (a)kulí ‘Hindustani’ (where the a-initial variant is clearly a Saramaccan innovation with the word ultimately deriving from the same source as English coolie), (a)tengútengú ‘limping,’ and (a)dikpókpo ‘mushroom,’ suggesting there is more to the presence of a- than mere accident. Perhaps the a- can be interpreted as a prefix, but, if so, it would seem impossible to devise any conditioning environment for its presence since the class of words showing a- is not obviously semantically coherent.

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