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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: Three Dutch Creoles in Comparison
Author: Peter Bakker
Institution: Aarhus University, Denmark
Linguistic Field: Genetic Classification; Historical Linguistics
Subject Language: Creole Dutch, Berbice
Dutch
Creole Dutch, Skepi
Abstract: Three Dutch creoles, all of them extinct, have been documented, but not all to the same extent. Negerhollands of the Virgin Islands has been documented throughout a 250-year period, Berbice Dutch of Guyana during two decades of solid fieldwork in the 1970s and 1980s, and Skepi Dutch is only known through a handful of sentences and some 200 words collected in the 1970s. In this article, the lexical and grammatical data from the three creoles are compared, to the extent that they are available and comparable. The lexicons are compared on the basis of the etymological sources (from Dutch and other languages, and when the source is Dutch, whether the same or different words provide source for the same meanings), and the phonological and phonotactic patterns of the roots. The grammatical comparison is done initially on the basis of the 10 grammatical traits deductible from the scarce Skepi material, and then on the basis of a larger set of 22 traits, where Skepi could not be taken into account. Typologically, Berbice Dutch appears closer to Dutch than the other two creoles, but lexically it is farthest from Dutch. For some of the analyses, phylogenetic software was used to visualize connections and distances between each of the creoles and Dutch. The conclusion is that the three creoles came into being independently, with some areal contact between Skepi Dutch and Berbice Dutch. It is also argued that the varieties of the 20th-century Negerhollands had become so typologically distinct from those of the 18th century that they should be treated as varieties of two separate languages. The documented forms of the language show a gradual move away from Dutch and toward a more creole-like profile in the 20th century.

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

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