[Grammaires créoles] Donna Park (U. Göttingen)

Negation in Mauritian Creole Serial Verb Constructions

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Donna Park (U. Göttingen)

Negation in Mauritian Creole Serial Verb Constructions

(handout, pdf)

  A unique feature of Mauritian Creole’s Serial Verb Constructions cited in recent literature is concordant subject marking.

In Syea (2013), subject marking is shown to have different reflexes (single marking or concordant marking) depending on the status of the subject (referential, or pronominal). Muysken & Veenstra (2017) take it a step further and show that negation may be marked once or concordantly marked, and that this influences concordant subject marking.

This work set out to establish more precisely the effects of concordant negation marking on concordant subject marking, both in the context of referential NPs and pronominals. Based on Muysken & Veenstra’s (2017) work, as well as Syea’s (2013) work, the grammaticality judgements obtained show a general weaking of rules towards consistent concordant marking, as well as a general preference against Serial Verb Constructions. Given the limited demographics of this study (three 25-year-old native speakers), this may show a development amongst the youth towards the non-use of Serial Verb Constructions in general.

            This talk also aims to shed some light on the origins of the Serial Verb Constructions found in Mauritian Creole, considering Malagasy, the main identified substrate language of Mauritian Creole, potential pathways to an independent development, a Universal Grammar account, as well as a comparative look at other French-based Creoles. While no conclusions can be drawn with much certainty, all these grammatical pathways show that SVCs likely developed with the influence of multiple factors. Furthermore, the general historical picture of Mauritius’ past are much more hazy than certain linguists paint it to be.


Muysken, P., & Veenstra, T. (2017). Serial Verb Constructions. In The Wiley Blackwell Comparison to Syntax, Second Edition (pp. 1-51). Martin Everaert & Henk C. van Riemsdijk.

Syea, A. (2013). Serial verb constructions in Indian Ocean French Creoles (IOCs) . Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 28:1, 13-64.


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