Dr. Hugo Cardoso
University of Coimbra, Portugal
20 March, 2012 (Tuesday) 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Place: MG07, Main Building
The arrival of the Portuguese language in Asia, in 1498, inaugurated an age of European expansion in the continent which was to re-shape its linguistic configuration. As a product of contact with various Asian languages, various Portuguese-lexified creoles formed between India and Timor. Some of these subsist – with different degrees of vitality – and have been documented in recent years. In this talk, we will take a global look at the structure of prototypical comparative constructions in all Asian-Portuguese creoles for which there is sufficient (and sufficiently reliable) data. These include the creoles of Diu, Daman, Korlai and Cannanore [India], Batticaloa [Sri Lanka], Malacca [Malaysia], Batavia/Tugu [Indonesia; extinct] and Macau.
Our comparative study hinges on the analysis of five typological parameters involved in the expression of the comparison of inequality. In so doing, we establish the similarities and dissimilarities between each of these creoles and their main lexifier, Portuguese, as well as the major Asian languages in their respective ecologies: Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Sinhala, Malay and Cantonese. The complex patterns of typological alignment between each of these creoles and their source languages result in a ranking of their reliance on lexifier input, used here to test earlier proposals about their development and theories concerning the dynamics of language contact, and to establish historical relationships of precedence between some of these creoles. As a result of our findings, we will argue for the need to posit a dynamic competition between the input of the lexifier and that of the adstrate(s) (a ‘typological tug-of-war’) in the diachrony of high-contact varieties, as this will assist in accounting for instances of variation, change and innovation.