Problems of contact languages in newly independent countries:
-> Creole to be used for elementary education, lower courts, hospitals, some radio broadcasts
Cabo Verde becomes Kaboverde, creole Kabuverdianu as national language to be used in media, education etc. Problems:
Es traboj foj sid fejt pa min
girl bad-mannered-FEM this job was been made for me
"a bad-mannered girl" "This job was done by me"
Continuum: Portuguese > Barlavento Kabuverdianu> Sotavento Kabuverdianu
Alfabeto Unificado para a Escrita do Crioulo ("Unified alphabet for writing of creole") - a compromise between phonemic orthography and traditional etymological spelling; still awaiting approval
Ledikasyon pu travayer ("Education for workers"): an organization promoting literacy in Mauritian creole
Mauritian Creole Phonemes:
t d s z
m n l
w y r
i e a o u (oral vowels)
en an on (nasal vowels)
fen (< French faim)
manze (<French manger) 'to eat'
bon (<French bon) 'good'
Problem: if we use 'vowel + n' to represent nasal vowels (following French
orthography, as in roman 'novel'), we need a different symbol to
show syllables ending with the consonant [n]. Solutions:
(a) use 'nne' as in French orthography e.g. banne la roue "the tyres" .
(b) use 'nn', e.g. enn roman "a novel", bann mo "words", as used in the Catholic Bible, Dev's plays, and the LPT dictionaries
Consequence: words ending in -en, -an and -on are potentially ambiguous between nasal consonant and nasalized vowel!
3.1 etymological spelling: words from lexifier language written as if they were English, French etc.
e.g. Mauritian proverbs recorded by Lafcadio Hearn (1885)
Faut pas cassé so maie avant li fine mir
[fo pa kase so mai: ava~ li fin mi:]
must not break one's corn before it PFV ripe
'Don't pluck your corn before it's ripe'
3.2 phonemic spelling: one-to-one match between phonemes and orthographic symbols
e.g. Mauritian kase [k'ase] "break"
Example: Haitian Creole: see Sebba, 249-252
Phonemic system devised by English speakers for Haitian annoyed some native speakers--particularly the "Germanic letters" k and w
French: qui "who", Haitian: ki
3.3 Ethnophonemic spelling
Nou éna tous la volonté pou avancer, si nou
ti en Europe, nou ti pou capav
alle pli loin. Mais nou
Mauriciens, nou bizin continié fer zéfor. Récompense la pou vini.
"We all have the will to go forward, if we were in
(From French newspaper Le mauricien, quoting an actor's exact words)
mo ti anvi ekrir enn roman an Morisien me mo ti mank konfians dan
since long I ANT wish write a novel in Mauritian but I ANT lack confidence in myself
"I had wanted to write a novel in Mauritian for a long time, but I lacked confidence in myself"
e mo pa ti sir ki
pou reponn lapel
and I not ANT sure that language that ANT enough evolved to respond call
"and I was not sure if this language was sufficiently developed to respond to the call." (Dev Virahsawmy)
Hawaiian Pidgin as vehicle of literature (see Romaine 2005; also project by Carol Chan)
Turtles from Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre by Lois-Ann Yamanaka
On the wall in Bernard's Taxidermy Shop
is two big, green turtles. They all shiny.
Bernie, he use varnish make um look wet.
Bernie say, before he could catch turtles
for the shell or for the meat, but now,
he say not suppose to catch turtles
or else the police going arrest you.
He say, when you catch a turtle,
the turtle he cry a tear
from his big, wet eye.
Bernie seen um when he went fish
down South Point side.
He ask if I ever taste turtle meat.
He say, Ono you know.
I tell my wife cook
the frozen turtle meat one night
and you come over try some.
Ask your mama first.
I thinking about the tear from the turtle eye.
I tell Bernie I no like.
2002. The Syntax of
Ledikasyon Pu Travayer. Langaz Kreol Zordi: Papers on Kreol.
Ledikasyon Pu Travayer,. 2004. Diksyoner Kreol-Angle: Prototype Mauritian Creole-English Dictionary.
Mendes, Mafalda, Nicolas Quint, Fátima Ragageles & Aires Semedo. 2002. Dicionário Prático Português-Caboverdiano (Variante de Santiago). Verbalis.
Rajah-Carrim, Aaliya. 2008. Choosing a spelling system for Mauritian Creole. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, Volume 23, Number 2, 2008 , pp. 193-226.
Romaine, Suzanne. Orthographic practices in the
standardization of pidgins and creoles: Pidgin in
Virahsawmy, Dev. Aprann Lir ek Ekrir Morisien. ['Learn to read and wirte Mauritian': CD-ROM including rules for spelling and grammar, poems with audio files, and the script for his play Li]