Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 9 (2019)

New paths of contact and variation: background and design for a future study of Capeverdean in New England

Fernanda Pratas (Universidade de Lisboa)

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The main goal of this paper is to describe the case of morphosyntactic variation concerning the markers for the habitual and the progressive in Capeverdean, a Portuguese-based creole, the mother tongue of virtually all inhabitants of the Republic of Cabo Verde (around 500,000) and of most Cabo Verdeans living abroad. Then, a line of future research is proposed that takes a current analysis of this linguistic phenomenon to a different level, involving a brand-new challenge in terms of approach. This may be outlined as follows. The current analysis of this case drains into the proposals that (i) some types of variation may be the result of underspecification between some (functional) lexical items and the morphological forms, and that (ii) in Capeverdean, all temporal interpretations are obtained without dedicated tense morphemes, but rather through a combination of mood and aspect, pragmatic inferences, and linguistic and non-linguistic context. Taking (i) and (ii) as the main working hypotheses, it will then be interesting to study how these properties of Capeverdean behave in the contact situation it experiences in New England (USA), to where hundreds of thousands Cabo Verdeans have immigrated since the early 19th century. More specifically, given the existence of many attested lexical borrowings, it will be investigated whether these temporal Capeverdean phenomena are vulnerable to the influence of English.

Keywords: Capeverdean, linguistic contact, mood and aspect, temporal meaning, micro-variation