Language Typology and Tonogenesis in Two Atlantic Creoles

Yolanda Rivera-Castillo


This paper provides evidence of strong typological similarities between the tonal systems of Papiamentu and Saramaccan with the systems of West African languages. These typological similarities constitute the basis for a proposal that there is a genetic affiliation between Papiamentu and Saramaccan with the Kwa and Bantu language families; an affiliation that reaches beyond the accidental lexical borrowing. Since Saramaccan has been classified as an English-based Creole, and Papiamentu as a Romance-based Creole, their similarities indicate that their substrata have a greater significance in Creole genesis than previously recognized.

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