Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 9 (2019)

The synchrony and diachrony of an Asian-Portuguese causal morpheme

Hugo C. Cardoso (Universidade de Lisboa)

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This study explores the use of a particular causal morpheme, derived from a protoform that may be reconstructed as *[V/B]IDA, in the Portuguese-lexified creoles of Asia. A survey of the various formal means

employed by the Asian-Portuguese creoles to establish relationships of cause, reason, and purpose demonstrates that only three may be said with certainty to use or have used a *[V/B]IDA-related morpheme, viz. those of the Malabar (South India), Sri Lanka, and Batavia/Tugu (Java, Indonesia) – a geographical distribution which, it is argued, calls for an assessment of the exact role of South Asian populations in the formation of Batavia/Tugu creole, in addition to other pieces of linguistic and ethnographic evidence. In order to determine the etymology and synchronic transformations of these causal morphemes, this study also explores several diachronic and dialectal corpora of Portuguese, which reveals that the Portuguese expression por via de ‘by way of’ is a more likely source than another proposed alternative, por vida de ‘by the life of’.

Keywords: Asia, Asian-Portuguese creoles, cause, reason, purpose, etymology