Nana K Nana, Nana K Napa
The Paratactic and Hypotactic Relative Clauses of Reunion Creole
A recent study of Tayo shows an obligatory subordinator sa in all relative clauses. The Isle de France dialects, like most other varieties of Creole French, have an obligatory subordinator ki for subject relatives, while ki is optional elsewhere. Reunion Creole has a subordinator ke which is almost always optional, and thus stands out as different from all others in this respect. To explain this oddity, the paper contains the following topical sequence: 1) Reunion Creole relative clauses and the "mysterious" verb marker i with which they interact are described, using data covering nearly three centuries; 2) a highly specific past tense formation is described and discussed; and 3) inferential arguments are advanced, with the addition of data that pertain to both Tayo and Isle de France Creole, to suggest that the anomalous optionality of the relative subordinator in Reunion Creole became established in the 17th century as a result of Malagasy influence on what is essentially a continuation of 17th century (varieties of) French. Tayo and Isle de France Creole are seen as new creations, new solutions to problems of interethnic communication.
Published online: 01 January 1995