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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: What's Past Is Past: Variation in the Expression of Past Time Reference in Negerhollands Narratives
Author: Robbert van Sluijs
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Sociolinguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: Negerhollands
Abstract: Negerhollands (or Virgin Islands Dutch Creole) is the extinct Dutch-lexified creole of present-day US Virgin Islands. One of the typical features of Caribbean creoles is the occurrence of both, overtly marked and unmarked pasts. This has been attested in Negerhollands, where there is variation between preverbal (h)a and the bare verb. Studies in a number of creole languages have shown that such variation is not random. Following up on these results, I investigate the impact of factors such as narrative discourse function, aspect, and syntactic priming on the expression of past time reference in 20th-century Negerhollands through a quantitative variationist study. The results show that the factors conditioning past time reference marking in Negerhollands resemble those in other creole languages but with an entirely different outcome: Whereas other (English-lexified) creoles typically use unmarked pasts, Negerhollands typically uses overt pasts. This may reflect Akan substrate influence rather than being a sign of language death.


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 26, Issue 3.

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