University of Pennsylvania
Below, I present relevant sociohistorical information,
describe Spanish -ndo and relevant PP structure, then present results
of a real time, quantitative analysis of the affix in PP and Venezuelan
Spanish texts supporting my hypothesis.
2 Relevant Sociohistorical Facts
PP is spoken on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, which lie near Venezuela in the Caribbean Ocean. Arawak Indians lived there when the Spanish arrived in 1527. The Dutch took possession in 1634, forcing the Spaniards and most Indians to leave. They took some Indians as slaves on Curaçao, and sent others to Bonaire and Aruba. This change in power did not necessarily lead to a change in language spoken, however, because the Dutch often preferred to use Spanish or Portuguese or creole Portuguese with conquered peoples, and Dutch amongst themselves (Holm 2000).
The Dutch brought the first West Africans in 1648; at least some probably spoke pidgin Portuguese. Sephardic Jews relocated from Brazil beginning in 1659, probably speaking a regional variety of Portuguese or Spanish. After 1660, Jews played a major role in the administration of slave camps, often trading with Spanish Americans. By the 1680s, the African population equaled the white population. Most slaves did domestic work.
Dutch and Jews learned the emerging creole for contact. Holm (2000) estimates that the creole stabilized on Curaçao around 1700, then spread to Bonaire and Aruba. PP words are attested in Jewish ship names in 1706, and Dutch documents in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the time the creole was fully established in the late 18th century, Dutch missionaries preached in PP.
After slavery was abolished, the islands remained under
Dutch control, but later achieved some autonomy. Curaçao and Bonaire
now belong to the group of islands called the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba
was part of the N.A. until 1986, when it became independent of this group.
(It remains under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands.) Today, about 80%
of island residents speak PP as a first language. Dutch remains the language
of government and education. Spanish is culturally important. Portuguese
was used during the early slave trade, but fell out of use by 1800. English
has only recently (1915 on Curaçao, 1928 on Aruba) entered the picture
on the islands with the introduction of the petroleum industry, and is
economically important in oil and tourism. Today, residents speak PP, Dutch,
Spanish, and English.
3 Spanish -ndo
In Spanish, verb + -ndo forms the progressive participle (1). The periphrastic progressive (2) and locative constructions (3) consist of estar, ?to be? + verb + -ndo. A verb marked by -ndo can be used after other auxiliaries ((4) such as ir ?to go? or andar ?to walk?). Stative verbs are prohibited in these constructions (5) though they are permitted in absolute clauses (6).
(1) a. hablar + -ndo --> hablando
From the earliest evidence of the creole, we find preverbal markers of the imperfective-ta (from Sp. esta) and tabata (from Sp. estaba). Andersen (1990) analyzes tabata as specifically past marked and ta as unmarked for time. Both indicate general imperfective aspect, which may include a more specific progressive or habitual interpretation (7-9) (Maurer 1998:162). Ta in PP functions beyond Spanish esta, however. In the creole, Andersen shows that time of action can be marked at some point in the discourse, after which ta indicates agreement with the previously marked time of action. (10) (Andersen 1990). Ta and tabata also serve as forms of the copula in PP.
(7) Awor mi ta lesa.
In 20th century grammars, authors have repeated that -ndo was "recently borrowed", but add the progressive function to the repertoire of the affix. None has noted that progressive -ndo used with ta or tabata (12) is not mentioned in early descriptions.
(11) ...i kantando na bos altu el a bolbe kas.
Data are taken from 99 PP texts, of varied genres, dating 1775-1999. I coded every instance of ta or tabata marking a verb, and noted whether or not the verb was marked by -ndo. I also coded verbs marked with -ndo in other places (i.e. absolutive clauses, main verbs with auxiliary other than ta or tabata, etc.). Up to 100 tokens were taken from each text, though some contained more (e.g. Books of Mark, over 400 tokens each). Texts were grouped roughly according to decade for regression analysis. There were 2911 tokens. Of 2911 total clauses, 145 were cases of -ndo. Of 1419 main verb imperfective clauses, 52 were -ndo-marked progressives.
I compare the PP data with analogous data from 45 Venezuelan Spanish texts of similar genres, dating 1831-1999. This variety is used because of its geographic proximity to the islands. There were 2255 tokens. Of 2255 total clauses, 126 contained -ndo. Of 1389 main verb imperfective clauses, 23 were -ndo-marked progressives.
Finally, religious materials allow direct comparison of
texts. There are two PP translations of the Book of Mark (1865 and 1916).
I compare these to a version of the Spanish Bible which was published in
7 Presentation and Analysis of Data
The earliest texts show no -ndo (1775 letter,1776 court testimony, Curaçao). The earliest attestation is found in an 1803 letter from Aruba (13).
None of these early religious works were originally written in PP. The New Testament Bibles could have been translated from Spanish or Dutch. Most Dutch were Protestants, the known Portuguese speakers were Jews, and there were few, if any, English speakers on the islands in the 19th century, so Spanish is the most likely source language for the Catholic texts. The -ndo affix was more than likely first used in PP as an interference feature of Spanish-dominant bilinguals.
Unlike the religious texts, the 1871 Curaçao newspaper articles were originally written in PP (not translated) and were more than likely written by PP dominant speakers, or possibly even Dutch dominant speakers (about half of the newspaper articles are written in Dutch and half in PP; none are in Spanish). The -ndo examples in the Curaçao newspaper (e.g. (14)) provide evidence that -ndo was a productive morpheme used by L1 PP speakers at this time, not simply a Spanish interference feature.
(14) Toer miembronan tabata presente kitando doos, koe ta miembronan Royer i Heldewier
(15) ...eel a saka soe manoe afoor i a tokele bisando: mi kieer pa bo bira limpi
(16) Spanish Estaba Juan en el desierto bautizando...
7.2.1 The Rise of Progressive -ndo
Figure 1 shows the increase in periphrastic progressives. There are no cases before 1920; by the 1990s, they comprise 11% of main verb imperfectives.
Figure 1. Regression of main verb -ndo
7.2.2 Comparison of Spanish and Papiamentu Progressive -ndo
I examined Venezuelan Spanish texts to find the frequency of -ndo in main verb constructions. While the rate of estar + verb + -ndo (Figure 2) shows a gradual increase in Spanish, there is a sharp increase in the analogous ta/tabata + verb + -ndo in PP after 1920. This increase is important for two reasons. First, the rate of -ndo progressives in PP becomes dramatically greater than in Spanish, suggesting that something besides Spanish interference is influencing this rate. Second, the increase comes only after contact with English began in 1915. English progressives take the form copula + verb + -ing, which is analogous to the PP ta/tabata + verb + -ndo. English progressives are used much more frequently than Spanish ones and PP ones at the time contact was introduced, and so could cause the frequency of -ndo progressives in PP to increase if speakers relate the English and PP constructions (Prince 1988, Silva-Corvalán 1991).
In contrast, Figure 3 shows that the decline in rate of -ndo in absolutive clauses is about the same in Spanish and PP. This use of -ndo does not appear to be influenced by English.
Figure 2. Comparison of ta/tabata, estar + -ndo in PP, Venezuelan Spanish
Figure 3. Absolutive -ndo in PP, Venezuelan, and Tejano Spanish
7.3 Observations from the 20th Century Texts
7.3.1 The Integration of -ndo into the Grammar of Papiamentu
The PP periphrastic progressive construction is composed of a preverbal marker (ta or tabata) and a verb marked by -ndo. Certain verbs cannot be marked by ta, some are optionally marked by ta, and others must be marked by ta (or another preverbal marker). Only verbs that can be marked by ta can appear in a periphrastic progressive in PP. Thus, a PP stative verb that takes ta could be found with -ndo even though such a case would be ungrammatical in Spanish. Finding such cases should be possible since ta and esta are not exactly equal. Though they are rare, we do find them (18, 19). In these examples, PP allows stative live and keep to take -ndo, while Spanish would express these with the present indicative.
(18) Konsiderando ku nos ta bibando den un mundo kaminda notisia propaganda material i pelikula i novela konstantamente ta influensha nos mente...
Further evidence of borrowing from English is found in the form of nonce-borrowings of surface word strings that could only have come from English (20). Spanish uses an infinitive here.
(20) Pero aseptando e chens pa bai pariba ta grandi.
The -ndo affix was probably introduced by Spanish-dominant bilinguals, who used the form when speaking and writing PP. They only added the morpheme to Iberian verbs. They would have used the affix as in the most common Spanish usage, absolutive clauses, and in the speech styles and genres in which it was typically used in Spanish.
Both the irregular gerund forms reported in the literature and the texts in which they appear support this hypothesis. First, recall that stative verbs in Spanish can take -ndo in absolutive clauses, but not in progressive cases. The irregular forms found are all statives-?to be?, ?to have?, ?to be able to?, ?to want?, ?to believe?. Since none of these can take progressive -ndo in Spanish, the Spanish speakers who first used the affix in PP would not have used them in the context of a periphrastic progressive. Thus, -ndo was clearly used in absolutive clauses at the time the irregular forms were first borrowed into PP. Second, Álvarez (1995) notes that -ndo absolutive clauses are used frequently in legal and administrative Spanish. The first attested -ndo in PP is found in a document with some legal weight-a letter signed by individuals swearing to the veracity of its contents-which is just where we would expect to find a token.
The interference hypothesis is also supported by the work of Prince and Pintzuk (2000), who showed that bilingual speakers do not seem to have full control of items in closed lexical classes (i.e. functional items) in their L2, as evidenced by the fact that closed class items from the L1 surface when they speak their L2, but not vice versa. The -ndo affix discussed here is a functional morpheme in Spanish, so should be considered a closed class item. As such, we can expect it to have surfaced in the PP of L1 Spanish speakers.
Spanish-dominant bilinguals would have held a high social status. Their introduction of the affix may have been copied by members of lower social classes for prestige purposes, in change from above fashion. It would also have been copied by the children of Spanish-dominant bilinguals, simply because that is the variety of PP that they heard. Once L1 PP speakers began to use -ndo productively, we can say that it changed from being an interference feature of the Spanish speakers to a borrowing for PP speakers.
It is difficult to say for certain when -ndo first began to be used by PP speakers, but we can use existing information to pinpoint the time frame. Integration had already occurred by the time of the publication of the Curaçao newspaper (1871). The first example is found in 1803, so we can suppose that integration occurred some time in the first half of the 19th century.The affix has been in use in PP since 1803 and PP speakers have been bilingual in Spanish and Dutch since before that time. Dutch has no progressive morphology. In Spanish, -ndo has both gerundive and progressive functions, but periphrastic progressive constructions do not appear in PP until the 20th century.
In 1915, English entered the contact picture with the introduction of the petroleum industry in Curaçao. In cases of Spanish-English contact, it has been reported that English dominant bilinguals overuse the Spanish periphrastic progressive (e.g. Floyd 1978, Klein 1980). At the time when English speakers arrived on the islands, auxiliary + verb + -ndo was an infrequently used, though possible construction (15). I argue that PP-English bilinguals began to use the periphrastic progressive construction in PP after identifying it with the analogous English construction (copula + verb + -ndo) via the kind of surface string matching reported in Prince (1988) . This construction is more frequent in English than Spanish, and thus more salient. If English had not entered the contact picture, PP speakers may not have picked up the elusive Spanish periphrastic progressive.
English-dominant bilinguals first used ta/tabata +
verb + -ndo as a periphrastic progressive, but PP-dominant speakers
(children of the English speakers and others) have now adopted the construction.
Once speakers identified it with the English progressive construction,
they began to use it more and more frequently, eventually surpassing the
rate at which progressive -ndo is used in Spanish.
8 Summary, Conclusions, and Future Work
To summarize, when an inflectional morpheme is borrowed, its grammatical function may also be borrowed. Where a morpheme has more than one function in a language, it is not the case that all functions are borrowed with the morpheme. Here, English and Spanish have similar surface strings for the periphrastic progressive, but English uses this construction more frequently than Spanish, making it more salient. Contact with Spanish provided the morpheme, but surface string matching with the English progressive lead to the increase in use of periphrastic progressives, as indicated by the fact that this increase occurred only after English was introduced into the contact situation. Thus, the present state of -ndo in PP can only be explained by referencing the successive influences of Spanish and then English on the creole. The saliency of the borrowed item in the source language, time of contact, and nonce borrowings together explain how this borrowing took place.
Further work with -ndo is needed. Current data show that -ndo is used more frequently on Aruba and in newspapers (as opposed to other islands and genres), suggesting regional and possibly social and/or stylistic variation, but spoken data and ethnographic observations are needed to understand the variation. In addition, there is some debate in the literature about the degree to which the use of Spanish morphemes like -ndo is indicative of the overall hispanization of the creole. It is wrong to say that PP is undergoing heavy decreolization as there is no evidence of a continuum of lects from PP to Spanish. However, it is possible that there are regional, social, and/or stylistic varieties of the creole which are more or less ?hispanized?, in other words, which show more or less influence from Spanish. These can also be better understood through spoken data and ethnography.
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