Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 10:40:45 CST
From: Mike Picone MPICONE[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UA1VM.UA.EDU
Subject: Cajun: mixing markers
In quick reply to Peter Patrick's comments:
I was fascinated to see in Dick Heaberlin's reply ...
that he pluralizes /buku/ + /-z/. ...
"there are buku(z) of us"
I never noticed the inflection with plural /-z/ before-- is this a
regular and usual thing in, what I guess we'd have to call, Cajun
I've done a couple of studies of pluralization in Jamaican
Creole, where mesolectal speakers (maybe everyone, in fact) often use
English /-z/ and less often post-nominal /-dem/, and very occasionally
even combine them in a double plural. So I'd be interested to know
from you Cajun observers and others about this mixing of markers from
When I'm with Cajuns, I avoid use of English as much as possible, so my
observations on Cajun English are not going to be as well informed as they
would for somebody who made this the object of study. For what it's worth,
however, I don't recall hearing a lot of pluralized _beaucoup_. It wouldn't
go against the grain, though, since other Cajun French lexical elements can
receive English inflection. For verbs, however, it appears that Eng. inflection
is added to an infinitival Fr. stem: He's out fouiller-ing with his truck.
You fouiller-ed with them no-goods all day yesterday. (fouiller `mess around,
fool around, tinker with', both examples come from Cheramie & Gill "Lexical
choice in Cajun Vernacular English" in _Cajun Vernacular English_, Ann Martin
Scott (ed.), 1992). The opposite tends not to be true. When English
lexical items are inserted into French discourse (it happens very frequently)
they tend to be stripped of all inflection, both English and French. I touch
on this in the article I mentioned earlier (in WORD, Dec. 1994) and develop
it further in a CLS-30 paper that will appear very soon in their proceedings
and also in a LAVIS-II paper, whenever that finally makes it into print,
in case anybody is interested. So use of double plural in code-mixing when
French is the matrix language is relatively infrequent: Il voit les TRUCK.
Ils vont donner les FOOD STAMP. Rarer still is inflection on an Eng. verb
stem: Il a RETIRE. J'ai DRIVE en ville.
University of Alabama
MPICONE[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UA1VM.UA.EDU