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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

ABC Islands Creole

Willemstad, capital of Curaçao—
one of the places in which Papiamentu is used.

Language info: Papiamentu (also known as Papiamento) has been an official language of Aruba (alongside Dutch) for some time. On March 7, 2007, it was instated as an official language of Curaçao (Papiamentu Kòrsou), alongside Dutch and English.
     The beginnings of Papiamentu seem to have been in contacts between Portuguese, African languages and indigenous Arawak varieties, with later additions of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), Dutch, Spanish and English, among others.
     The name of the language originally meant something like “colloquially,” based on the archaic Portuguese and Spanish verb papear or papiar ‘to converse’, originally perhaps ‘to chat’ or ‘to babble’.
     Primarily West Africans, including Cape Verdeans, arrived on the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) by way of slave trade, especially between 1660 and 1713. This trade was dominated by Sephardic Jews from Portugal and Brazil (many of whom had had Spanish and Ladino proficiency as well, as did educated Sephardim of Amsterdam and Hamburg) whose ancestors had escaped the Iberian Inquisition and had forged connections with what are now the Netherlands and Northern Germany. They were later joined by Ladino speakers with ancestry in Spain. All the languages that came together left imprints on Papiamentu, but its base appears to be a mix of Portuguese and Spanish.

Tiny by anyone’s standard, each slave “house” (like
these at Bonaire’s old salt mines) was “home” to six
persons each ...
      Papiamentu is the first language of the majority of people born and raised in Aruba and in the Netherlands Antilles (Papiamentu Antias Hulandes, Antias Ulandes, Antias Neerlandes). However, only as a result of language activism did it begin to enjoy a positive and official status in 1995, and it is now widely used in the media. In Bonaire (Papiamentu Boneiru) and Curaçao it is currently used in the first two years of primary education. Most of its speakers are conversant in Dutch, English and Spanish as well.
     Lately, the language is being more and more influenced by Spanish, which is considered prestigeous in the region, in part because of the close geographic proximity of Spanish-speaking countries (with only short boat and plane rides to Venezuela). Outside the region, Papiamento is primarily used in the Netherlands, ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Puerto Rico.
      Papiamentu is widely regarded as being a rare tonal Creole, influenced by tonal West African languages. While it is true that a high tone (here ´) and a low tone (here `) are used, probably West African in origin, these appear to be merely realizations of stressed and unstressed syllables respectively; e.g., sálà ‘living-room’ (cf. Spanish sala), sàlá ‘to salt’ (cf. Spanish salar); biáhà ‘voyage’ (cf. Spanish viaje), biàhá ‘to travel’ (cf. Spanish viajar). In other words, Papiamentu has tonal stress: primary stress carries a high tone, while other syllables carry a low tone.

Historical Lowlands language contacts: Dutch, English

    Click to open the translation: [Click] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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