IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin192.gif



his), I would say that there is a very apparent reason, namely that the immigrants
in question, most of which happened to be from Africa, experienced language shift in
an enironment where there was no motivation to acquire French tel quel.

The immigrants to Saint Vincent too "happened to be from Africa, experienced language
shift in an enironment where there was no motivation to acquire" the local Indian
language "tel quel" though they outnumbered the Indians to a much greater extent than
the African ever outnumbered the French.

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin06.gif

This is a reason as good as any, and as I have repeated several times already, the
same thing has happened elsewhere to people not of African descent.

Exact. It happened to French which creolized without the contribution of people of
African descent.

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin22.gif

Finally, maybe Hans den Besten, who recently said that no one on the list has
accused anyone of racism will change his mind, now that Wittmann has suggested that
I think "immigrants from Africa are less smart than immigrants from elsewhere" and
that my "perception of verb serialization in the relevant African languages is
somewhat daintily perverted with ditherings of unconscious albocentrism".

Though the person concerned has already corrected your misquote, let me remind you
once again of Salikoko Mufwene's (04/02/01):

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin06.gif

Positions can be racist while their proponents need not be. It's a matter of what
is implied by what we say.

By what I said, I didn't even imply your position to be "racist". All I said is that
I couldn't "help feeling" your perception of things to be "somewhat daintily
perverted with ditherings of unconscious albocentrism".



In this context, I might want to comment on some other misfits from "Out of Africa"
regarding the interpretation of phonological and morphosyntactic data from the
Atlantic varieties of creole French (2000:25-97) to the extent they havn't been
discussed yet and leaving side other concerns that could merit an appropriate review:

On page 27, open-mid vowels /è ò/ in word-final positions are said to be restricted,
with few exceptions, to items where the loss of a final /r/ can be inferred
suggesting the existence of some kind of empty category of aperture at the open-mid
level. The same is however true for all varieties of koine French, etymological
open-mid vowels either raising to closed-mid or lowering to low (Wittmann 1996). If
I style the <(é)tait> : <(é)té> opposition which neutralizes to /té/ in the southern
varieties of koine French as /te/ : /té/ in the northern ones, it's purely for
reasons of underlying phonology, the surface phonology gets us [tà] : [té].
Likewise, the non-occurrence of closed-mid vowels in other positions of the Atlantic
FCs are interpreted as categorial holes in complementary distribution with the
missing aperture in word-final positions. These holes in the distribution of
apertures in the phonologies of Atlantic varieties of creole French seem to warrant a
general conclusion on p. 151 that a "reduction of four degress of aperture to three"
might be compatible alternatively with Bantu or Upper Guinean origins. As it is,
Magoua and more closely related varieties of koine French have three degrees of
aperture inherited from the Picard input into the original koine whereas four degrees
of aperture systems are a later development (Wittmann 1996; cf. the vowel diagram on
p. 1 of my handout). The three degrees of aperture system is maintained also in the
Indian Ocean varieties of creole French.

The front rounded vowels discussed on pages 28-30 are definitely less frequent in
koine French that in Standard French and are extant only on one degree of aperture.
Most front rounded vowel occurrences are restricted to positions where schwa
insertion obtains.

The high nasal vowels in Atlantic varieties of creole French are not a "new"
development as claimed on p. 30 but are koine related besides being extant in all
Indian Ocean varieties of creole French (Wittmann 1996; cf. the vowel diagram on p. 1

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin01.gif


Printed for Henri Wittmann <>

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin01.gif



of my handout). High nasal vowels result from the fact that the original system was
based on three degress of aperture, each degree of aperture having its own contrasts
of [±lax] and [±nasal].

As for the /l/ : /r/ alternation and the distribution of velar and non-velar
rhotacisms discussed pp. 33-38, the former is a standard feature of Karipuna (the
language being itself known as Karipuna, Kalipuna, Garifuna, Galifuna, etc.), the
latter splits Québec into two halfs, the isoglosse line running North-South not far
away from Trois-Rivières.

If the "phonotactically more liberal" syllable structure simplification pointing to a
"stronger Senegambian component in FC formation" of p. 54 refers to a "tendency
towards CV syllable structure" on p. 52 or to Holm's (1988:113) "absence of
word-final consonant clusters", the same features may be said to exist in koine
French. Weighing my 200 word-list of Haitian Creole (Wittmann 1973a, b) against
lists for Magoua and Standard French, Parkvall's 26% to 11% ratio for vowel initial
items in French and Haitian Creole drops to 17% for Standard French, 5.5% for Haitian
Creole and 4.5% for Magoua when nouns are listed with their corresponding noun class
prefix as this would be the case if Bantu items were listed. As for consonant
cluster simplification in Québec French and Haitian Creole, Nikièma (1999) sees them
on a par with each other (cf. Wittmann 1996). If on the other hand I misread totally
pp. 52-55 on syllable structure, I defy Parkvall to tell us what exactly the impact
of these pages on creole French could be and in which ways the syllable structure of
creoleFrench differs from that of koine French.

Since there are no other items in Parkvall's list of substrate-suspectable features
in creole French phonology, I refrain for lack of time from making a list of
koine-creole continuities in this respect (cf. Wittmann 1996). On the side of

"Marginality" is a very poor excuse to disqualify body parts from reflexive
constructions in French (2000:57-60), they are just as marginal in creole French.
The class of verbs supporting body-part complementation as markers of reflexivity is
a small semantically severely restricted set. Even at that, as Sylvain 1936:110
reminds us of, it's for purposes of "emphasis" only. Moreover, for any example for
Haitian Creole that comes to my mind with /kò/ "body", I have a corresponding example
in Magoua with /ku/ "ass" (according to Parkvall, this would be an Igbo feature):


li menm lave kò-li(HC)
"he self wash body-his"
lui i-té s-làvé l-ku(Magoua)
"he AGRS-PAST self-wash CL-ass"
il s'est lavé(Standard French)
"he washed"




wete kò-u la(HC)
"remove body-yours (from) there"
ot ton-ku d-dla(Magoua)
"remove your-body from-there"
retire-toi de là(FS)
"get out of the way"




li jete kò-li atè(HC)
"he throw body-his totheground"
(pi lui) i-kris son-ku àter(Magoua)
"(and he) AGRS-throw his-ass totheground"
il s'est jeté par terre
"he trew himself to the ground"




m ap woule kò-m pou mwen wè si m a jwenn yon djòb nan Kolas(HC)
"I FUT manage body-mine for I see if I FUT get a job in Kolas"
m a m-grouyé l-ku pou (mwén) wè si m a ponyé èn djòb à chòp(Magoua)
"I FUT manage CL-ass for (I) see if I FUT get a job at factory"
je me débrouille pour voir si je peux trouver du travail à la Kolas(FS)
"I'll make a move to see whether I can find a job at the local factory"




gouye kò-u(HC)

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin01.gif


Printed for Henri Wittmann <>

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin01.gif



"move body-yours"
tas ton-ku(Magoua)
"move your-ass"
pousse ta viande(Paris slang)
"move your meat"
"move over"




As for the Magoua examples, that's how the men will talk in taverns all over Québec,
no offense meant. The fact that /CL-ku/ or /POSS-ku/ is not determined in any way by
a corresponding AGRO or DET is indicative of a quasi-grammatical function. The same
is true for Haitian Creole. Nevertheless, the phenomenon has a restricted
distribution in the lexicon. For the fun of it, I took the Grevisse (a standard
reference for the grammar of Standard French;I used the 9th edition of 1969) and I
opened pp. 549-59 on reflexivity. I could barely find one verb supporting the
kò/ku-type of reflexivization

Though the impact on FCs of the discussion on negation pp. 60-62 is unclear to me,
let me state for the record that even Standard French has preverbal negation in basic
word order:


... ne T pas V ...

Superficial postverbal negation occurs when the "conjugated" verb moves into T (T for
"tense"). However, we have already seen that the possibility of movement is sverely
restricted in koine French.

On pp. 67-68, the non-comitative uses of <avec> joining nouns phrases in FCs are said
to be substrate-derived. That cannot be so since Indian Ocean varieties of creole
French ("with a substrate not belonging to the Niger-Congo phylum", 2000:1), koine
varieties of French and Karipuna have here the same range of uses. It's in fact a

FC reduplication strategies discussed on p. 80 are shared with koine French as can be
seen from the Magoua example in (7a). As a matter of fact, reduplication is more
extensive in Québec French than in most FCs (cf. Drapeau & Roy 1981).

On pp. 85-86, the secondary function of the progressive as a future in HC and LC is
seen to be substrate-induced. For Haitian, the source seems to be Valdman (1978:217)
who however documents the phenomenon as a "negative prospective" only:


m p-ap ba ou anpil lagent(Valdman 1978:217)
"I NEG-FUT give you much money"
"I won't give you much money"

We also know that this negative prospective arose in the South as a "euphonic"
avoidance strategy of /pa/ with the regular future /a, va, ava/ (cf. Sylvain 1936:87)
and that the negative to non-negative spill-over is a recent innovation. As for the
LC /ape/ as a non-progressive, it's not prospective to the same extent as HC /ap/ and
translates into Standard French as an "anticipatory" present tense. The same effect
can be obtained in all varieties of Trois-Rivières French with the progressive /àpre/
in replacement of /pou/:


Milèt i/t-àpre/pou l-enstàlé ta-fournez dmen-màten
"Milette AGRS-PROGR/FUT AGRO-install your-furnace tomorrow-morning"
"Milette is going to install your furnace tomorrow morning"

Ordinarily, without the urgency of having a working furnace in a country with
temperatures of below 25 Celsius, /pou/ would have been used. Using the progressive
/àpre/ was meant to render the "tomorrow-morning" more immediate and thus more
acceptable to the customer.

Aspect prominence for FCs in general is claimed pp. 87-88. The term is interpreted
as meaning that "TMA markers of the imperfective domain show a higher degree of
grammaticalization than do the various markers whose primary semantic contribution is
+past."Though no examples are given in this short and very dense section of
Parkvall's thesis, I think that my Magoua data qualifies as "aspect prominent" just

IMAGE 01h2LexDiffFin01.gif


Printed for Henri Wittmann <>

[made with GoClick]