General Locative Marking in Martinican Creole (Matinitjè): A Case Study in Grammatical Economy

Anne Zribi-Hertz, Loïc Jean-Louis


This article bears on General Locative Marking (GLM), as exemplified in Martinican Creole (MQ): the surface homonymy of phrases denoting Goal, Source and Stative Location. With a few languages as comparative background, we explore in some detail the expression of stative location and directional predications in MQ, breaking down GLM into two independent homonymies – Place/Goal, and Goal/Source. The first homonymy is not a Creole innovation since it obtains in French and various West-African languages. The Goal/Source homonymy, an MQ innovation with respect to French, is attested in some West-African languages but also in Indian-Ocean Creoles (whose Non-European features are not West-African), and assumedly results from the general non-survival of French de in French-Based-Creole lexicons (Syea 2017), an expected development under general patterns of unguided L2-acquisition (Klein & Perdue 1997). On the other hand, the licensing of Goal and Source arguments by directional verbs in serial-verb constructions is likely to be of West-African origin. MQ thus appears as a good illustration of the hybrid nature of Creole grammars (Mufwene 2001, 2010; Aboh 2015), involving the recombination of European and Non-European features under general laws of language change and grammatical economy.


Creole formation; General Locative Marking; Goal/Source (In)difference; locative predications; Martinican Creole

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