Split prosody and creole simplicity: The case of Saramaccan
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Saramaccan, an Atlantic creole whose lexifier languages are Portuguese and English, has a “split” prosodic system wherein the majority of its words are marked for pitch accent but an important minority are marked for tone. Split prosody is typologically unusual and runs counter to McWhorter’s (2001a) idea that creole languages should have “simpler” grammars than non-creole languages. However, this complication of Saramaccan grammar does appear to be broadly consistent with the more general claim of McWhorter (1998) that creoles form an identifiable class of languages on typological, in addition to sociohistorical, grounds.