Edited by Bonnie C. Holmes and Michael T. Putnam
[Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 10:3] 2020
► pp. 315–350
What you hear is (not always) what you get
Subjects and verbs among receptive Palenquero-Spanish bilinguals
The present study offers data from native Spanish speakers who possess receptive competence in Palenquero, a Spanish-lexified creole spoken in the Afro-Colombian village of San Basilio de Palenque. Until recently Palenquero was endangered, but language revitalization activities are now underway in Palenque. These efforts are resulting in young L2 Palenquero speakers and receptive bilinguals, who do not actively use the language but who are exposed to it within the community and through occasional classes. This study, based on experimental research conducted in Palenque, examines receptive bilinguals' grasp of Palenquero subject-verb structures as a demonstration of how the divergence between active and receptive bilinguals' grammars can go undetected within the speech community. Receptive bilinguals sometimes produce referential null subjects instead of overt pronouns even in the absence of other disambiguating cues. Receptive bilinguals also do not systematically differentiate Palenquero pre-verbal particles, in a fashion suggestive of a maximally simplified subject-verb configuration.
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