Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 6 (2015)

On the origins of the Lengua ri Palenge (Palenquero) relativizer lo ke: the pathways of (re-)grammaticalization

John M. Lipski (Pennsylvania State University)

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Creole morphosyntax has sometimes been regarded as "simpler" than corresponding structures in the lexifier language. It is rare for the range of functional elements in the lexifier language to be expanded in the respective creole language. One exceptional case is found in the Afro-Colombian creole language Palenquero , where the Spanish-derived complementizer/relativizer ke  introducing restrictive relative clauses has been supplemented with lo ke. Spanish restrictive relative clauses can only be formed with que; Palenquero lo ke seems to be morphosyntactically more complex than its Spanish counterpart. At first glance Palenquero lo ke appears to be derived from the Spanish bimorphemic relative pronouns lo que 'that which' or los que 'those which' (or possibly Portuguese o que 'that which'), but the syntagmatic occurrences of Palenquero lo ke are different enough from the Spanish relative pronouns that supplementary or alternative patterns of evolution need to be sought.

Keywords: Palenquero, relative clause, relativizers, grammaticalization