The Genesis of a Language: The formation and development of Korlai Portuguese

The Genesis of a Language
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It was built on an island Morro de Chaul [3] which guards the way to the Revdanda Creek. It was meant as a companion to the fort at Chaul. At this strategic position the Portuguese could use it to defend their province which stretched from Korlai to Bassein. Vestiges of the Portuguese occupation are manifested in the distinct dialect of the Korlai villages inhabitants which is a Luso-Indian Portuguese Creole called Kristi.

Portuguese-based pidgins and creoles

History This fort was built in by the Portuguese with the permission of the Ahmednagar sultanate. In , taking advantage of the confusion in the aftermath of the death of the Burhan Nizam the Portuguese tried to take over the fort.

Subsequently, a truce was reached in which the Ahmednagar sultanate occupied the island and no furthe. This is a list of pidgins, creoles, mixed languages and cants that are based or partially based on Indo-European languages. A lexifier is the language that provides the basis for the majority of contact languages' vocabulary, or lexicon. One adstrate still contributes the majority of the lexicon in most cases, and would be considered the lexifier.

However, it is not the dominant language, as there are none in the development of mixed languages, such as in Michif. For example: Malaysian Creole Portuguese, with Portuguese being the lexifier and the superstrate language at the time of the creole development. Alibag Alibag is a coastal town and a municipal council in Raigad District of Maharashtra.

It is the headquarters of the Raigad district and is south of the city of Mumbai. Alibag is part of Mumbai Metropolitan Region. History Alibag is a coastal town and municipal council in Raigad district of Maharashtra, India.

It is the headquarters of the Raigad district. Alibag and its surrounding villages are the historic hinterland of Bene Israeli Jews. A Bene Israelite named Ali used to live there at that time. He was a rich man and owned many plantations of mangoes and coconuts in his gardens. Hence the locals used to call the place "Alichi Bagh" Marathi for "Ali's Garden" , or simply "Alibag", and the name stuck.

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Alibag houses a magnetic observatory which was set up in It serves as one of the. Chaul is a former city of Portuguese India, now in ruins. The first Portuguese settlement at Chaul took place in with the construction of the first fort on the south bank of the Kundalika River. In October , the Portuguese erected a new square stone fortress, named Santa Maria do Castello, which contained a church and dwellings for men.

Because of the aforementioned caste barriers, the access to Portuguese on the part of these Indian slaves, concubines and their offspring was arguably only partial. Thus, thrown into a new living situation and presented with incomplete input from a new language, which they were obliged to somehow learn, the Indians naturally tried to communicate, making guesses about what their Portuguese interlocutors would understand. For their part, the Portuguese most likely altered their speech to the extent that promoted the greatest likelihood of communication, using models that they had already been exposed to or restructuring their speech, as alluded to above.

The positively perceived instances of communication, that is, those that promoted intelligibility, were taken as successful by the speakers. The grammar of the emerging L2 variety, then, would have initially been a direct reflection of the shared successes partial as well as complete in communication experienced by the shifting recent converts and the colonial-language speakers. Instances of partial success would have yielded lexical items with altered meanings, due to substrate influence.

I argue that nativisation occurred when the offspring of these Indian Christians began learning as a first language the variety of Portuguese spoken by one or more parents or guardians. This process most likely happened with input from various adult L2 varieties, and possibly in situations in which children spoke among themselves—recall that there were Indo-Portuguese offspring in Chaul from very early on—in which case it is reasonable to speak of abrupt rather than gradual nativisation cf.

Thomason and Kaufman, : ch. With this new primary language connected to their new religious customs, I assume that these new Christians were also instrumental in the development of a new cultural and religious identity. What is crucial to understand in this development is that once the lower-caste Hindus converted to Catholicism, they became doubly limited in their social contact with others, not only by the extremely strict constraints on social interaction placed on them by their caste, but by religious constraints that isolated them from their Hindu peers.

A language lost, in race for future

It is not that the Indian Christians did not interact with Christians of other castes e. In particular, where before they could not marry outside of their group because of caste restrictions, after conversion they no longer married even Hindus of equal caste because of their new religion. I have just outlined one feasible scenario for the formation of kcp. I have argued that the formation of kcp was abrupt, as just mentioned, and that this new variety was spoken as early on as as the pidginising variety at least by the lower-caste native Indian Christians, and as a first language by the Indo-Portuguese offspring.

I have also argued that, because of their caste and religion, the emerging lower-caste Indian Christian community who came to speak the creole were relatively isolated from other Christian castes and from the Hindus and Muslims of the area in that there was virtually no intermarriage between the lower-caste Christians and members of the other groups. In my argumentation, I assume, reasonably, that many of the lower-caste Indian Christians were farmers by caste, but tenant farmers in practice, both before and after their conversion.

This assumption would account for why, until quite recently, virtually all the Korlai inhabitants were farmers. In discussing possible models that may have been available for the Chaul-area creole, I begin with the demographic distribution in Portugal in the 15 th and 16 th centuries. With the influx of so many African slaves into the workforce in rural as well as urban Portugal in the 15 th century, the linguistic aspect of the situation takes on an interesting light. It can be reasonably assumed that the vast majority of these slaves learned Portuguese naturalistically.

Thus, the speech of the first generation Africans would be the 15 th th century equivalent to immigrant varieties of Spanish or Portuguese spoken today in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries see Clements, : — In the plays of the 15 th e. Enrique da Mota and 16 th centuries e. Gil Vicente , we find approximations of African speech in the mouths of some of the characters of their plays. The examples in 1 — 9 represent what are arguably portrayals of African speech that reflect naturalistically acquired L2 Portuguese.

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In the poem, a voice of a slave woman speaks the lines 1 — 3 below taken from Tarracha Ferreira : — Naro compiled numerous examples from plays in which there were African-origin characters whose speech was portrayed by the playwrights. We cite six of his examples, given in 4 — 9.

More general traits shared by such varieties are lack of copula and the use of an all-purpose preposition.

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Rather, in large part they are the consequence of naturalistic L2 acquisition. Such varieties of Portuguese must have also emerged in interactions between the Portuguese sailors and African natives along the African coast, and these varieties would have had similar features as well. It is also quite probable that the Portuguese who ended up as soldiers travelling to Asia, if they had had any direct or indirect contact with the speech of Africans in Portugal and Africa, could possibly have already become familiar with strategies for restructuring their Portuguese or even developed an actual restructured variety that they then used in India.

The Portuguese Language and What Makes it Intriguing

Expressed another way, in contact situations where successful communication was urgent, and drawing on the linguistic feature pool in such contact situations, the Portuguese sailors and speakers of the indigenous languages would have co-constructed a system of communication based primarily on the Portuguese lexicon, the target language. The most commonly used lexical and structural features in the feature pool would have found their way into the emerging linguistic systems in each contact situation. It is out of these contact situations that we assume pidgin Portuguese likely developed, which for the Chaul area was one of the sources along with L2 varieties of Portuguese and substrate languages for the formation of the creole there.

If this is true, then the Portuguese creoles should display features found both in Immigrant Spanish and L2 African Portuguese. For example, we would expect to find stative verbs to be based on the most commonly used verb forms for stative predicates. Revealingly, stative verbs in the Portuguese-based as well as Spanish-based creoles are based on the 3sg present-tense form cf. There is another possible model that may have influenced the formation of the Chaul-area creole, though little is known about it.

There is lexical evidence found in Korlai Creole Portuguese that suggests that there was input from a language s from South India, either Malayalam or a Portuguese-based variety developed in the Malayalam-speaking area, in the formation of kcp. The presence of these lexical items in kcp leads me to conjecture that there would have been speakers from the south who were in the Chaul area and were taking part in the formation of kcp.

In this section I have argued that in the two-language contact situation that existed in the Chaul area, kcp conceivably formed through the interaction between the Portuguese soldiers, who in their communication with the indigenous population used Portuguese and one or more varieties of restructured Portuguese.

For their part, the Marathi-speaking indigenous population were targeting Portuguese constructed language based on the repeated, successful instances of communication, whereby they incorporated into their emerging variety those features and structure with which they were successful in communicating with the Portuguese.

Given that in Korlai there was and continues to be a two-language contact situation, and given the highly inflectional nature of both Portuguese and Marathi, we might expect features that usually do not show up in creole languages to find their way into kcp , such as inflectional morphology. Indeed, this is exactly what we find. The base form of the kcp verb derives historically from the Portuguese infinitive, the kcp progressive form from the Portuguese gerund form, the kcp past form from the 3sg Portuguese preterit form, and the kcp past participle form from the corresponding Portuguese counterpart.

The same is true of the northern varieties Indo-Portuguese creoles, as well, such as those spoken in Daman and Diu cf.

Cited by other publications

Loan Translations; 6. It is up to the community and how they see progress and growth. Paradigm restructuring from Portuguese to Korlai Portuguese2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Neither of these itself.

Clements and Koontz-Garboden, ; Cardoso, Based on historical documents and descriptions from various sources, I have offered a perspective on the social and historical developments leading up to, and coinciding with the first 50 years of the 16 th century, a time period in which the Portuguese colonised various places along the coast of the Indian subcontinent, including the Chaul-Korlai area, where Korlai Creole Portuguese is currently spoken.

Starting around the second half of the 15 th century, southern Portugal saw an influx of sub-Saharan Africans, who during this time made up 10—15 per cent of the population, depending on the area. At the same time, the younger Portuguese workforce in all of Portugal was attracted by the reports of the Portuguese colonial expansion. Throughout the 16 th century, it is estimated that between 1, and 4, left Portugal yearly for overseas, the majority of whom were able-bodied, unmarried young men bound for the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

From letters between governors and the Portuguese Crown, we know that many Portuguese young men in India kept harems, the women were converted to Catholicism, and their offspring were born Catholics. Given the introduction of a new religion in the subcontinent, and given that the conversions took place within the relatively rigid caste system in India, I argue that the new converts became doubly isolated, through their new religion, but also through caste system that carried over into Indian Catholicism.

It was in this situation, that what we call Korlai Creole Portuguese was likely created. It has been argued that kcp formed by and that because of the isolation of its speakers, largely because of their religion, their caste and their occupation, kcp has been maintained up until the present day even though the Portuguese presence has been virtually absent there since around Korlai Portuguese KP , a Portuguese-based creole only recently discovered by linguists, originated around on the west coast of India.

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Initially isolated from its Hindu and Muslim neighbors by social and religious barriers, the small Korlai community lost virtually all Portuguese contact as well after This volume is the first-ever comprehensive treatment of the formation, linguistic components, and rapidly changing situation of this exotic creole. The product of ten years of research, Korlai Creole Portuguese provides an exciting, in-depth diachronic look at a language that is now showing the strain of intense cultural pressure from the surrounding Marathi-speaking population. This book contrastively examines the following areas: phonemic inventories, phonological processes, stress assignment, syllable structure, paradigm restructuring, paradigm use, lexicon, word formation, semantic borrowing, loan translations, grammatical relation marking, pre- and postnominal modification, negation, subject and object deletion, embedding, and word order.

Sociohistorical and linguistic background of the Chaul-Korlai area. Bakker, Peter Baptista, Marlyse Creole formation and L2 acquisition. Grammars are robustly transmitted even during the emergence of creole languages. Clements, J.