Posted: 20 Jul 2011 06:00 AM PDT
Jul 20 2011
Adjectives as verbs, by Leticia Thomas
Spanish is the official language of Panama and many Panamanians of Antillean descent are bilingual. The other language spoken by the Caribbean people who immigrated to Panamá, their descendants and by others who have learned it from them is an English-based creole. Antillean Panamanians do not call their English-based language 'creole'. Throughout the city of Panamá the language of Antillean Panamanians is commonly known as English.
Although it is called English in Panamá, it is a creole because it exhibits many of the well-known characteristics of creoles worldwide. Creoles are languages with multi-lingual roots, primarily lexified by one language but exhibiting influences of one or more other languages in their lexicon, syntax and phonology. Panamanian Creole is an English-based creole, which means it is primarily lexified by English. Nevertheless, it does contain lexical items documented in West African languages and in Caribbean English-based creoles. It also contains lexical items from Spanish, French as well as original lexical items or innovations. Not every Panamanian of Antillean descent speaks Creole English and not everyone who speaks the creole speaks it in the same way.
Syntactic structure (grammar) provides the strongest evidence for creoles being separate languages from their lexifiers. A creolized language displays a markedly different structure from the language upon which it is based. This series of articles will highlight some common syntactic characteristics of the English-based creole spoken in Panama City.
Adjectives as verbs
Adjectives can function as verbs In Panamanian Creole English. Sentential adjectives do not require any form of the verb 'to be' therefore, 'the girl is hungry' can be expressed as 'di gyal ongri' and 'they are fat' can be expressed as 'dem fat'.
The flexibility of Adjectives used as verbs is extended to their use along with the preverbal tense marker di to indicate the tense of the action/situation as illustrated by the following:
"Un taim ai driim mai grandmada di dai, an ai, raatid!, wen ai wiek op, ai di glad ai wiek op man."
(Once I dreamt that my grandmother had died and I, raatid! (an exclamation indicating surprise or anger) When I woke up, I was glad that I woke up man.)
"Ai din go so gud in skuul beka di sik"
(I didn't do very well in school because was sick).
Posted: 11 Jul 2011 12:00 AM PDT
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