Forthcoming: A grammar of Pichi

Kofi Yakpo  


Pichi is an Afro-Caribbean English-lexifier Creole spoken by some 150,000 people on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. This first comprehensive description of Pichi based on primary data presents a detailed analysis of the grammar and phonology of the language. It also includes sections on pragmatics and language contact with Spanish, a collection of texts, and wordlists. Pichi is an offshoot of 19th century Krio (Sierra Leone) and shares many characteristics with its other West African sister languages Aku (Gambia), and Nigerian Pidgin, Cameroon Pidgin, and Ghanaian Pidgin. However, isolation from English and extensive contact with Spanish, language shift from Bube (Bantu), as well as koineization with Nigerian and Cameroon Pidgin have given the language a distinct character. There are also many structural and lexical parallels with the English-lexifier Creoles of the Caribbean including Jamaican, Creolese (Guyana), Sranan, and Ndyuka (Suriname). Pichi features a nominative-accusative alignment, SV(O) word order, adjective-noun order, prenominal determiners, and prepositions. The language has a seven-vowel system and twenty-two consonant phonemes, including two labio-velar plosives. Pichi has a two-tone system with tonal minimal pairs, morphological tone for the marking of pronominal case distinctions, and numerous tonal processes. The morphological structure of Pichi is largely isolating. However, there is some affixation, as well as tonal inflection and derivation. Pichi is an aspect-prominent language and the modal system includes an indicative-subjunctive opposition. The copula system employs various suppletive forms and is differentiated along the semantic criterion of time-stability. Like other Afro-European Creoles, Pichi shows typological blending. Most of the characteristics summarised above align Pichi with the Atlantic-Congo languages spoken in the West African littoral zone. At the same time, the prenominal position of adjectives and determiners show a typological overlap with its lexifier English.

Kofi Yakpo
Kofi Yakpo is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong. His main research interests lie in the areas of language contact and multilingualism. He has conducted research on Pichi (Equatorial Guinea), Sranan (Suriname) and other English-lexifier Creoles of the Atlantic Basin, as well as the Asian diaspora languages of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
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