Casamancese Creole

Casamancese Creole is the mother tongue of about 10,000 people living in or around the Senegalese city of Ziguinchor (Basse-Casamance, Southern Senegal). It is also spoken with various degrees of proficiency by several tens of thousands of second language speakers living in the same region. The language seems to be quite homogeneous. However, language variation exists and seems to be linked with several factors. First, there is a contrast between urban Casamancese (spoken in Ziguinchor), more exposed to the influence of Wolof, French and Guinea-Bissau Kriyol vs. rural Casamancese, generally more conservative and also more influenced by several local adstrates (mostly Ñun, Joola, and Mandinka). Second, there are differences between native and non-native varieties of Casamancese Creole. In the Casamancese-speaking sections of Ziguinchor and in some neighbouring villages (e.g. Sindone), Casamancese is spoken by many people as a first language whereas in other villages (e.g. Djifanghor), Casamancese is used on a daily basis but as a second language alongside with a native language (e.g. a local variety of Ñun in Djifanghor). As regards Djifanghor (and this surely applies to other bilingual communities), the Casamancese spoken by Ñun-speakers, although being very similar to native Casamancese, displays some idiosyncratic developments, e.g. it allows analogical synthetic causatives for mas ‘more’ > masintí ‘surpass, have a bigger share than’ or bas ‘underneath’ > basintí ‘surpass, be better than’, which are refused by native Casamancese speakers. Third, together with urban vs. rural and first vs. second language, there also exists diatopic variation (e.g. the word for ‘cloud’ is nuybu in some villages and nirbu/nírbu/nibu in other places). Unless otherwise specified, the default lect illustrated in APiCS is the variety of Casamancese Creole spoken in the village of Sindone (some 30 km East of Ziguinchor). This rural variety is the native lect of Noël Bernard Biagui, who co-authored this contribution and it is today the main vernacular (and also the first vehicular) language in Sindone.

Acknowledgement:

« cet article a été réalisé grâce au soutien de l’ANR dans le cadre du projet Sénélangues Projet ANR-09-BLAN-0326 »

"this contribution was realised thanks to the support of the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) within the scope of the project Sénélangues (Projet ANR-09-BLAN-0326)"

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No. Feature Value % Details Source
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Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

mbprenasalized voiced bilabial plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ⁿdprenasalized voiced dental/alveolar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ŋgprenasalized voiced velar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɐnear-open central vowel - Exists only as a minor allophone
ⁿtprenasalized voiceless dental/alveolar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ŋkprenasalized voiceless velar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
mpprenasalized voiceless bilabial plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɲcprenasalized voiceless palatal plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɲɟprenasalized voiced palatal plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source