Multilingual language use and creole formation: The case of property items in early Sranan


  • Margot van den Berg NWO Veni postdoctoral researcher Radboud University of Nijmegen Netherlands



Multilingual language use, creole formation, property items, Sranan


This paper sets up a comparison between the use of property concept items in a creole language and in the languages that contributed to the creole’s emergence. The comparison is extended with equivalent constructions in a different outcome of language mixture, namely codeswitching mode, in order to advance our understanding of the role of language transfer in creole formation. While the type of language transfer that is observed in codewitching mode differs from the type of transfer typically found in creole formation, that is recipient language agentivity and source language agentivity respectively, it is shown in this paper that the Surinamese creole Sranan Tongo displayed both types of transfer in the early stages of its development, which underlines the slow nativization of this particular creole. 

Author Biography

Margot van den Berg, NWO Veni postdoctoral researcher Radboud University of Nijmegen Netherlands

Margot van den Berg (PhD) is a NWO Veni postdoctoral researcher at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. In her current research project, titled ‘Creoles at birth? The role of nativization in language formation’, she combines historical and experimental linguistics to explore the social and linguistics factors involved in language formation. Her work includes scholarly contributions on morphosyntactic topics in Sranantongo and Negerhollands, and codeswitching in Ghana and Togo. She can be contacted through


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How to Cite

Berg, M. van den. (2012). Multilingual language use and creole formation: The case of property items in early Sranan. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 1(2), 23-42.