The Article Systems of Cape Verde and São Tomé Creole Portuguese
General Principles and Specific Factors
In the study of article systems in creole languages, two opposing models of analysis stand out. On the one hand, Bickerton, in line with his bio-program hypothesis, proposes an article system in which there is a clearly marked distinction between the notions of specific and nonspecific reference. On the other hand, Janson explains the creole article system in terms of its transmission from the lexifier language, and its further development under the influence of the lexifier language. The capacity of these models to account for the article systems of Cape Verde and São Tomé Creole Portuguese is examined in a number of oral texts in these two languages. One feature of the analysis stands out in particular: once a discourse item has been introduced via the indefinite article, which marks it as both specific and new, no further marking of successive occurrences of that discourse item by means of a so-called definite article is necessary or even useful. This feature partially contradicts Jan-son's account and accounts for the failure of these two creoles to conform to Bickerton's universal system. Additionally, the paper considers a number of general principals governing the formation of pidgin and creole languages and the action of specific factors in their genesis.
Published online: 01 January 1993
Cited by 1 other publications
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