Edited by Cecelia Cutler, Zvjezdana Vrzić and Philipp Angermeyer
[Creole Language Library 53] 2017
► pp. 275–304
Number marking in Jamaican Patwa
Variation is examined in marking of number on plural nouns in mesolectal Jamaican Patwa (JP). Earlier claims for grammatical/functional principles constraining variation are found wanting. Two corpora are analyzed. I provide a taxonomy of surface structures which map reliably onto the level of reference, and permit reorganization at an abstract level capable of allowing generalizations. I consider choice between plural -z and zero marking on regular nouns in light of major known potential linguistic constraints – syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and (briefly) phonological. Results are compared with Creoles, African American Vernacular English (AAVE), and African American Diaspora varieties. Conclusions do not match ‘Creole patterns’ advanced in the literature and used as a basis for historical conclusions concerning AAVE and Creole genesis.
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