LINGUIST List 10.1539

Sat Oct 16 1999

Sum: Papiamentu

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <>


  1. Annie L. Clark, Sum: Papiamentu

Message 1: Sum: Papiamentu

Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 15:00:57 -0400
From: Annie L. Clark <>
Subject: Sum: Papiamentu

Thanks to the many people who responded to my questions about Papiamentu:

John Davis
Sarah H. Ross
Peter T. Daniels
Gary H. Toops
Victor Vazquez
Ralph Penny
Bob Trammell
Silvia Kouwenberg

The best site I found so far is, recommended by
John Davis

Sarah Ross gave me some great tips:
"I too spent some time in Aruba for occasional getaways while living in the
nearby Paraguana Peninsula of Venezuela. As far as I can tell, scholars are
in disagreement about the component languages of Papiamentu, but obviously
there is a strong Portuguese-Spanish and Dutch admixture. Given the
island's history, it would be very surprising if elements of one or more
African languages weren't involved too, but I can't find any works that
definitively assert that; they give only speculations on the probability
(which we can figure out on our own, thank you!). Also, the general
theories on creoles would suggest that Portuguese originally provided much
more input into the creole than Spanish, which later gained dominance over
it through relexification -- again, hardly a surprise considering the
proximity of Venezuela, Colombia, and other Spanish-speaking islands.
Last year I tried to do some linguistic work on Papiamentu and sent out a
help message much like yours, but with no responses. I hope you find some
good solid linguistic help!"

Gary Toops pointed me to two texts:
"Sylvia Kouwenberg and Eric Murray. Papiamentu. Munich/Newcastle:
 LINCOM Europa, 1994. (Languages of the World/Materials, 83.)
 ISBN 3-929075-44-X. Pp. 57.

E. R. Goilo. Papiamentu Textbook. 9th ed. Oranjestad, Aruba:
 De Wit Stores N.V., 1994. Pp. 145.

'Papiamentu is a creole language spoken natively by about 250,000
people, the majority of them in the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire,
Curac,ao), some 30,000 in the Netherleands. Dutch is the official
language of the islands and most of the population consider
themselves polyglots, with some competence also in Dutch, Spanish
and English.' (from the back cover of Kouwenberg & Murray, v.s.) "

And thanks to Peter Daniels for this reference:
"A leading expert on Papiamentu was the late Frederick B. Agard. I can't
give you any specific references, but you could look for him in indexes
from the 1950s and 1960s."

>From Victor Vazquez
"There is a fairly complete work on papiamentu which covers both the
cultural aspects and the grammar of the language:
-Munteanu, Dan: El papiamento, lengua criolla hispanica.Gredos,Madrid,1996."

Ralph Penney recommended the same book:
"Dear Colleague,
The most comprehensive work on papiamentu is
 Dan Munteanu, _El papiamento: lengua criolla espannola_
(Madrid: Gredos, 1996)."

Bob Trammell wrote:
"Cleland (?) Harris who worked for the State Department's School of Foreign
Languages in the late 60's did his Cornell PHD disseration on some aspect
of it. I think their a fair amount of info on it in addition."

Silvia Kouwenberg responded with a copy of her paper, which is no longer in
"I attach a copy of a short description which I published of Papiamentu
(phonology, morphology, syntax, short text), and which includes a long list
of references. The full reference for this description follows. It is now
out of print, and I don't quite know when it will get back in print. It is
in WordPerfect format, but should convert to Word without too much trouble;
a phonetic character might get lost here & there.

Kouwenberg, Silvia & Eric Murray 1994. Papiamentu. Languages of the World/
Materials 68. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa.


Silvia Kouwenberg "

This paper by Silvia Kouwenberg is incredibly helpful & contains a great
deal of useful information about the history & structure of papiamentu. I
recommend it highly to anyone interested in learning more about it!

Thanks again to everyone who responded.

Annie L. Clark Ferreira
Linguistics Specialist
Lyrix Systems, Inc.
(978) 851-5300

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