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Abstract

This paper is part of Peter Svenonius’ Adposition Seminar at the University of Tromsø which was taught in 2005-2006. The main focus was the distinction between locative path and locative place constructions. The aim of this paper is descriptive in nature and focuses on the complete prepositional system of Krio, an English-based Creole language spoken in Sierra Leone. The paper starts with a general introduction to prepositions in Krio. Three different categories are distinguished. This is followed by a description of each preposition individually and a discussion of intransitive prepositions and verb-particle constructions.
Prepositions in Krio
Marleen van de Vate
CASTL, University of Tromsø
Abstract
This paper is part of Peter Svenonius’ Adpositions Seminar at
the University of Tromsø which was taught in 2005-2006. The main
focus was the distinction between locative path and locative place
constructions. The aim of this paper is descriptive in nature and
focuses on the complete prepositional system of Krio, an English-
based Creole language spoken in Sierra Leone. The paper starts
with a general introduction to prepositions in Krio. Three different
categories are distinguished. This is followed by a description of each
preposition individually and a discussion of intransitive prepositions
and verb-particle constructions.
1. Introduction
This paper discusses the prepositional system of Krio, an English-based
Creole language spoken in Sierra Leone. Around 472,000 people speak
the language natively (Ethnologue.com). Krio is used as a lingua franca
in Sierra Leone and as a consequence over four million people are second
language speakers. The language is closely related to other English-based
Creoles in West-Africa, such as Cameroon Pidgin English and Ghanaian
Pidgin English. Additionally, a relation with the Caribbean English Creoles
has been posited. This is not only due to shared linguistic features (Alleyne
1980, Hancock 1987), but also to historical facts (Huber 1999, Smith and
van de Vate 2006).
Adpositions are a controversial issue in Creole Studies. Linguists (e.g. Bick-
erton 1981, M¨uhlh¨ausler 1997) often assume Creole languages not to have
prepositions. Instead they argue that Serial Verb Constructions are em-
ployed in functions for which Indo-European languages use a preposition.
Arguing against this, Muysken (1988) claims:
“The hypothesis that serial verbs emerged because the Cre-
ole languages had no category preposition in their initial stage
will have to confront at least two objections. First, all Cre-
ole languages, including those with extensive serialization, have
the category preposition, [. . . ]. These selective data show that
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Creole Workshop at the Uni-
versity of Giessen in 2006. Special thanks to Margot van den Berg, Norval Smith and
Peter Svenonius for valuable suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper. I am also grateful
to my informant, MH, without whose help this paper would not have been possible.
c
2006 Marleen van de Vate. Nordlyd: Tromsø Working Papers in Linguistics,
33.2, special issue on Adpositions, ed. Peter Svenonius, pp. 234–252. CASTL,
Tromsø. http://www.ub.uit.no/munin/nordlyd/
Marleen van de Vate
even languages with extensive serialization possess a number
of prepositions. Further research will reveal more prepositions,
probably, since this is an under-researched area in Creole lin-
guistics. Thus it is not the absence of the category preposition as
such that gave rise to serial constructions” (Muysken 1988:296).
Recent work by Bruyn (1999; 2003a;b), Essegbey (2005) and Plag (1998)
on prepositions in contemporary Sranan (an English-based Creole spoken
in Suriname) has shown interesting features in the prepositional system.
Additionally, the work of van den Berg (to appear) on early Sranan demon-
strates that a number of these prepositions were already present in 18th
century varieties of the language. These studies support Muysken’s claim.
Following his proposal and the work of these above mentioned researchers,
this paper aims at an analysis of Krio’s prepositional system.
The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 is a general introduction
of prepositions in Krio. Section 3 discusses the data elicitation method. In
Section 4 all Krio prepositions are discussed individually. Fyle and Jones
(1980) is taken as a guideline. Section 5 addresses intransitive prepositions
and verb-particle constructions. Section 6 concludes this paper.
2. Prepositions in Krio: a general introduction
This section discusses the prepositional system of Krio in general. Since
hardly any work has been done on this topic in Krio, I have taken the intro-
duction of the Krio-English dictionary by Fyle and Jones (1980) (henceforth
F&J) as a basis. According to them, Krio prepositions should be divided
in two categories: true prepositions and prepositional locatives. They de-
scribed the former as:
“These words are distinguishable by their low tone and by the
fact that their sole function in the language is in construct with
noun phrases as indicated above” (Fyle and Jones 1980:xxvii).
The latter are defined as
“[T]hose words which not only conform to the general pattern of
locatives in Krio in that semantically they are place words and
grammatically they can function on their own both as S[ubject]
and C[omplement] and also as A[dverbial] [....], but in addition
can construct with subordinate noun phrases in the same man-
ner as true prepositions” (Fyle and Jones 1980:xxvii).
In this paper I follow F&J and their distinction of the two groups of preposi-
tions. A reason for this is that as one can see in Table 1, there are differences
between the two groups. Whether the differences also lead to a difference
in behaviour is something which has to be analysed. The main difference
between these two categories, in my opinion, is that true prepositions occur
235
Prepositions in Krio
only as transitive and prepositional locatives as transitive and intransitive.
Another difference is that most true prepositions are functional prepositions
and most prepositional locatives are spatial prepositions. Before path and
place prepositional constructions are addressed, I add a third category of
prepositions to the two defined by F&J, namely locatives. These items are
not defined as prepositions in the dictionary. F&J categorize these items
as locative markers. However, my informant uses these in prepositional
constructions as illustrated in (1).
(1) Di
det
tik
tree
de
cop
bifo
before
os.
house
‘The tree is in front of the house’ 1
Additionally, tests demonstrate their prepositional status.2The locatives
appear to be similar to the prepositional locatives; items in both cate-
gories appear transitively and intransitively. The locative items will form
a temporary group until it can be established if they belong to a separate
group or if they should be classified as one of the other two categories of
prepositions.
Table 1 lists all Krio prepositions. They are divided in the three cate-
gories just discussed.
true prepositions prepositional locatives locatives
f`o ‘or/on behalf of’ `onda ‘under’ ´ınsay ‘in’
b`ay ‘by’ pantˆap ‘on/above/in addition’ b´ı`en ‘behind’
t`o ‘to/towards’ ˆop ‘up’ b´ıf`o ‘before’
b`ot ‘about’ ong ‘down’
l`ek ‘like/as’ botˆom ‘under/at the bottom’
fr`om ‘from/for’ klˆos ‘close to/near’
w`ıt ‘with’ ıa ‘near’
p`an ‘on/concerning’ eba ‘neighbouring/near’
n`a ‘in/on/at/etc’
Table 1: Prepositions in Krio
As mentioned, the main focus of Svenonius’ seminar was the distinction
between locative path and locative place prepositional constructions. In
Krio these constructions have different structures. First, let us compare
some examples, (2a) is a place and (2b) a path construction.
1det=determiner; cop=copula; prog=progressive; sg=singular; pl=plural;
comp=complementiser; compl=completive marker; fut=future; pst=past;
dem=demonstrative; neg=negation.
2I followed Lefebvre and Brouseau (2002) and Plag (1998) in defining the status of
the items in the third category.
236
Marleen van de Vate
(2) a. Di
det
man
man
de
cop
nia
near
faya.
fire
‘The man is near the fire’
b. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
go
go
insay
in
rum.
room
‘S/he is walking into the room’
Example (2a) is a straightforward example of a prepositional place expres-
sion. These constructions consist of the locative copula, de, or a position
verb, e.g. lidon ‘lie down’, sidon ‘sit down’, tinap ‘stand up’ and heng
‘hang’,3and a prepositional phrase. The verbal item expresses that the
Figure is located somewhere. The prepositional phrase is the item in the
sentence which contains information on the specific location of the Figure.
Other verbs are allowed in locative place expressions as well, this is illus-
trated in (3). However, the locative copula and position verbs are the most
common verbs in locative place expressions.
Example (2b) is an example of a locative path expression. This con-
struction contains a manner of motion verb like waka ‘walk’, ron ‘run’, etc,
which is combined with a directional verb like kam ‘come’, go ‘go’ and ko-
mot ‘come out’. The direction verb is the item in the sentence which forces
the reader to interpret the sentence as a locative path expression. Without
this type of verb, the sentence will be parsed as a locative place expression
(3). The final item in a directional expression is a prepositional phrase. It
expresses in which direction the Figure is heading to or coming from.
(3) I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
insay
in
rum.
room
‘S/he’s walking in the room’
The verbs in (2b) form a Serial Verb Construction (SVC). So, one can con-
clude that Krio is a serializing language. According to Essegbey (2004:483)
It is generally known that directional-expressing verbs occur in V2 (the
second verb in an SVC, MSvdV) after manner of motion verbs to express
direction”. In this respect, Krio is no different from other serializing lan-
guages. Unfortunately, locative path constructions are not as simple as
this. Krio has two other possibilities to convey a directional interpretation.
Compare the examples in (4), (2b) is repeated here as (4a).
(4) a. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
go
go
insay
in
rum.
room
‘S/he’s walking into the room’
b. Di
det
kondo
lizard
de
prog
ron
run
de
prog
go
go
pantap
upon
tik.
tree
‘The lizard is running to the top of the tree’
3The first two position verbs need an animate subject; the latter two can be used for
both animate and inanimate subjects.
237
Prepositions in Krio
c. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
fo
comp
kam
come
botom
under
brij.
bridge
‘S/he’s walking to get under the bridge’
Example (4b) is quite similar to (4a); both contain an SVC with a manner
of motion verb and a directional verb. The difference between these two
constructions is that in (4a) only V1 is modified by a progressive marker and
in (4b) both verbs are. Veenstra (1996) argues for SVCs in Sa´amaka that
if both verbs are marked for aspect, the sentence is interpreted as iterative.
When only V1 is marked for aspect, the sentences receives a durative, habit-
ual or iterative reading. This is context dependent. It would be interesting
to study whether a similar distinction can be made for Krio. In (4c) the
direction verb is preceded by the complementiser fo. This marker indicates
a non-finite form of the verb. Jones (1990) describes fo in constructions like
this one as a pre-infinitive particle. He argues against analysing fo in a way
similar to English infinitival to, because fo also has some modal features.
A sentence with fo introduces a complement stating a purpose intended
and in a sentence without fo, the “action referred to by the main verb of
the embedded clause was carried out by the subject of the matrix clause
(Jones 1990:857-858). Due to limited space I will not go into this discus-
sion further. I refer to van de Vate (2006) for a more elaborated analysis
of directional constructions in Krio.
Now I turn to the descriptive part of this paper starting with the data
elicitation method.
3. Data collection
To collect the data I used the ‘Topological Relations Pictures Series’ devel-
oped by Melissa Bowerman and Eric Pederson of the Max Planck Institute
for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. This booklet contains 71 pictures, which
represent various topological relations. In English they would be expressed
by prepositions as on,in,up,under, etc. My informant was asked to de-
scribe what was shown in the pictures. The data was collected from a
native speaker currently living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He was
born in 1975 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Due to the war in Sierra Leone he
only went to primary school. Here he learned English, which is the official
language of the country, and he speaks it fluently. In 1999 he came as a
refugee to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands he acquired Dutch as a
third language. Although he has not been in his home country for years, he
still uses Krio on a daily basis with his friends and relatives. Additionally,
Krio stage plays written by native speakers and published by the University
of Ume˚a were utilized. The stage plays made use of here are God pas Kon-
sibul by Lawrence Quake-Woode and Bad man bete pas emti os by Esther
Taylor-Pierce.
238
Marleen van de Vate
4. Description of Krio prepositions
This section gives a general description of all prepositions in Krio. Since
a number of prepositions can be used either as functional or as locative
prepositions each preposition is analysed individually. First, true preposi-
tions are discussed, followed by a description of prepositional locatives and
this section will finish with a sketch of the locatives.
4.1. True prepositions
The general preposition na is discussed first. Na can be interpreted as
‘in/on/at/out’ etc. In the examples provided by my informants and the
stage plays na is generally used as a locative preposition; that is it expresses
place (5a) and (5b) or path (5c). On rare occasions, na is interpreted
as a functional preposition. The examples provided here show the many
interpretations of na.
(5) a. A
1sg
lidom
lie-down
na
on
wata.
water
‘I lie on the water’
b. A
1sg
de
cop
na
in
os.
house
‘I’m in the house’
c. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
fo
comp
go
go
na
to
rum.
room
‘S/he’s walking to the room’
Na is also encountered as an identifying copula.
(6) a. Di
det
uman
woman
na
cop
tica.
teacher
‘The woman is a teacher’
b. Na
cop
mi.
1sg
‘It is me!’
The second preposition discussed is fo, one of the most difficult morphemes
in Krio. The particle is complicated because it has three homonyms. Fo is
interpreted as a modal marker expressing future or probability, as a comple-
mentiser, and as a preposition (Jones 1990). According to F&J the former
two are derived from the Twi word fa ‘take’, the latter, and the one de-
scribed here, is derived from the English preposition for. In its prepositional
meaning fo can be interpreted as benefactive (7a) or purpose preposition
(7b). In (7c) and (7d), fo conveys a non-benefactive or ‘secondary theme’
reading (Jones 1990).
239
Prepositions in Krio
(7) a. ... bay
buy
klos
clothes
fo
for
mi
1sg
en
and
den
det.pl
pikin
child
wit
with
sikstin
sixteen
lion,
leone
...
‘. . . buy clothes for myself and the children with 16 Leone, . . . 4
(Taylor-Pearce 1989:17)
b. yu
2sg
go
go
tek
take
in
3sg.poss
man
man
fo
for
witnes?
witness
‘Are you asking her husband as a witness?’ (Taylor-Pearce
1989:6)
c. A
1sg
go
fut
slip
sleep
fo
for
am.
3sg.obj
‘I will sleep for her/him’
d. A
1sg
go
fut
it
eat
fo
for
am.
3sg.obj
‘I’ll eat for her/him (instead of her/him)’
The item wit is derived from English with. The interpretation of this prepo-
sition is similar to its English counterpart. In Krio too it is used to express
instrumental (8a) and (8b) and comitative (8c) and (8d). Interestingly, bay
‘by’ is not used as an instrumental preposition. In cases where English uses
by Krio uses wit (8b).
(8) a. Wi
1pl
ol
all
bin
pst
sori
sorry
fo
for
da
dem
bobo
boy
we
who
den
3pl
bin
pst
kill
kill
wit
with
bit.
beat
‘We all were sorry for that boy, whom they had killed with
beatings’ (Taylor-Pearce 1989:37)
b. A
1sg
travul
travel
wit
with
aiship
airplane
go
go
na
to
Fritong.
Freetown
‘I traveled by plane to Freetown’
c. A
1sg
go
go
bia
be.patient
wit
with
mi
1sg
bad
bad
pikin.
child
‘I’ll be patient with my wicked child’ (Taylor-Pearce 1989:38)
d. Di
det
man
man
de
prog
waka
walk
wit
with
dog.
dog
‘The man is walking with the dog’
The preposition to (<English to ) heads benefactive (9a) prepositional
phrases. Additionally, the item is used to indicate motion of direction
towards someone (9b).
(9) a. Di
det
man
man
give
give
presen
present
to
to
uman.
woman
‘The man gave a present to the woman’
b. Di
det
uman
woman
de
prog
waka
walk
de
prog
go
go
to
to
yu.
2sg
‘The woman is walking towards you’ (action is already happen-
4Leone is the currency unit in Sierra Leone.
240
Marleen van de Vate
ing at this moment)
Since both to and na express a locative path reading indicating a goal, one
might expect that these prepositions are interchangeable. However, there
is a difference. Na can, when interpreted in the meaning ‘to’, only combine
with inanimates and to only with animates, compare (5c) and (9b) .
The preposition bay, derived from English ‘by’, is used as an agen-
tive (10a) or locational preposition, where it indicates a position in space
nearby the Figure (10b). In the latter case it is combined here with a posi-
tion verb (sidom) and it expresses place, the locative copula de is accepted
here as well.
(10) a. Neks
next
ia
year
bay
by
God
God
pawa
power
i
3sg
go
fut
bi
be
masta.
master
‘Next year by God’s grace, he’ll have his Master’s degree’
(Taylor-Pearce 1989:34)
b. Di
det
man
man
sidom
sit
bay
by
faya.
fire
‘The man sits by the fire’
In general, the preposition from (<English from ) is used as a directional
morpheme denoting source (11a). However, it can also be interpreted as
non-benefactive (11b) or as a possessive marker (11c).
(11) a. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
from
from
il
hill
kam
come
na
to
tik.
tree
‘S/he’s walking from the hill to the tree’
b. Don
and then
i
3sg
ker
take
di
det
siksti
sixty
lion
leone
we
which
i
3sg
ayd
hide
from
from
mi,. . .
1sg
‘And then he took the 60 Leone which he hide from me. . . ’
(Taylor-Pearce 1989:17)
c. di
det
pen
pen
from
of
Meri.
Mary
‘the pen of Mary’
Another preposition used as possessive marker is of. However, according
to my informant of is not ‘true Krio’, but more English-like. This is in
agreement with F&J who state that this item only occurs in English loan
phrases. (12), a saying from the Bible, is an example.
(12) Buk
book
se
that
di
det
voys
voice
of
of
di
det
pipul
people
na
cop
di
det
voys
voice
of
of
God.
God
‘The book that is the voice of the people is the voice of God’
(Taylor-Pearce 1989:11)
241
Prepositions in Krio
The preposition lek (<English like) is used as comparative preposition (13).
(13) a. Di
det
pikin
child
de
prog
waka
walk
lek
like
dog.
dog
‘The child is walking like a dog’
b. Di
det
pikin
child
du
do
lek
like
kaw.
cow
‘The child acts like a cow’
The item bot (<English about ) indicates approximation; generally it is
followed by an expression of time or quantity (14a) and (14b). It can also
mean ‘concerning’, or ‘with regard to’ as in (14c) and (14d).
(14) a. A
1sg
go
go
de
there
in
in
bot
about
twenti
twenty
minits.
minutes
‘I went there in about twenty minutes’
b. Di
det
pikin
child
dem
3pl
na
cop
bot
about
ten.
ten
‘The children numbered about ten’ (Fyle and Jones 1980:49)
c. Wetin
what
dis
DEM
buk
book
de
cop
bot?
about
‘What is this book about?’
d. Oltem
all-time
yu
2sg
de
prog
tok
talk
bad
bad
bot
about
mi.
1sg
‘All the time you are talking bad about me’ (Taylor-Pearce
1989:14)
The final true preposition discussed here is pan (<English upon). Accord-
ing to F&J, this item can be interpreted as ‘on, about, concerning’. Thus,
the reading is contextually dependent. In (15) pan is analysed as a locative
place preposition, where it is interpreted as a position above and in contact
with the Ground.
(15) a. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
pan
on
rod.
street
‘S/he’s walking on the street’
b. I
3sg
rob
rob
di
det
meresin
medicine
pan
on
im
3sg.poss
and.
hand
‘S/he stole the medicine in his/her hand’
When pan should be read as ‘about, concerning’ the use of this item is
similar to that of the preposition bot (16).
(16) Sisi
sister
Josifin
J
insef
herself
kam
come
mit
meet
wi
1pl
pan
about
di
det
plaba.
discussion
‘Sister Josephine herself came and talked with us about the discus-
sion’ (Taylor-Pearce 1989:25)
242
Marleen van de Vate
Pan also occurs as adverb stressing that the action is taking place right
now (17). In this function the item always precedes the main verb.
(17) Di
det
motoka
car
de
prog
pan
right now
kam.
come
‘The car is coming right now’
4.2. Prepositional locatives
Now we turn to a description of the prepositional locatives. First, nia
(<English near), neba (<English neighbour) and klos (<English close)
are discussed. All indicate a motion or position of the Figure close to
the Ground. They can all be used as locative markers to express both
place (18a) and path (18b). Often the items are interchangeable, without a
difference in interpretation. However, klos specifies that the object is very
close by, as opposed to neba which can be used when the object is further
away5as well as when it is very close by. Another difference is that use of
neba is not allowed in (18a) and similar expressions. Apparently this item
cannot combine with natural elements.
(18) a. Di
det
man
man
sidom
sit
nia
near
faya.
fire
‘The man sits near the fire’
b. A
1sg
de
prog
waka
walk
go
go
nia
near
bich.
beach
‘I’m walking and going towards the beach’
c. Holland
The.Netherlands
de
cop
klos
close
Belgium.
Belgium
‘The Netherlands is next to Belgium’
d. Di
det
wol
world
kop
cup
de
prog
ple
play
neba
neighbouring
mi
1sg.poss
kontri.
country
‘The world cup is being played in a neighbouring country’
Next the prepositions op and pantap are analysed. The source of the former
is English up; the latter is a combination of English upon and top. Since
the interpretations of these items are closely connected, they are discussed
together. Both should be read as implying that the Figure is located above
the Ground: contact between Figure and Ground is not required, but also
not excluded. They indicate a locative place interpretation. Combined
with a directional verb they can also modify a locative path reading. A
difference between these items is that in the meaning of above, op indicates
that the Figure is right above the Ground (19a), while the interpretation
of pantap is not so strict (19b).
5One should take in mind the inherent meaning of neba which implies that the Figure
cannot be too far away from the Ground.
243
Prepositions in Krio
(19) a. Di
det
cloud
cloud
de
cop
op
up
os.
house
‘The cloud is right above the house’
b. Di
det
cloud
cloud
de
cop
pantap
upon
os.
house
‘The cloud is above the house’
Another difference is displayed in (20), in which both examples express
a locative place. However, pantap indicates the Figure to be on the top.
While op is less precise, it can be interpreted as the Figure being halfway
towards the top or on the top of the Ground.
(20) a. Di
det
vilej
village
de
cop
op
up
il.
hill
‘The village is up the hill’
b. Di
det
vilej
village
de
cop
pantap
upon
il.
hill
‘The village is on top of the hill’
Note that op can also indicate motion or direction from a lower point to-
wards a higher point (21a). In this example use of pantap would be un-
grammatical. In (21b) pantap is used in a locative path construction.
(21) a. Di
det
titi
girl
don
compl
go
go
op
up
staiz.
stairs
‘The girl went up the stairs/upstairs’6
b. Di
det
kondo
lizard
de
prog
ron
run
go
go
pantap
upon
tik.
tree
‘The lizard is running towards the top of the tree’
Now we turn to another combination of linked prepositions, onda (<En-
glish under) and botom (<English bottom). According to my informant a
difference between these two items is that onda is found in the acrolectal
variety of Krio. Both items convey the position of the Figure to be be-
neath that of the Ground and are used as locatives to express place (22) or
path (23).
(22) a. Di
det
il
hill
de
cop
onda
under
cloud.
cloud
‘The hill is under the cloud’
b. Di
det
pen
pen
bin
pst
de
cop
botom
under
tabul.
table
‘The pen was under the table’
6In the literature on Krio don is analysed as a completive perfective aspect. The use
of this item by my informant suggests that don may be changing from an aspect marker
towards a past tense marker. However, more research needs to be done.
244
Marleen van de Vate
(23) a. Di
det
pen
pen
fodom
fall
onda
under
tabul.
table
‘The pen fell under the table’
b. I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
kam
come
botom
under
brij.
bridge
‘S/he’s walking towards down under the bridge’
Additionally, they express a position beneath the surface of the Ground (24a)
or locate the Figure in the lower side of a domain (24b). Note that onda
can be used in these examples as well.
(24) a. Di
det
fis
fish
de
cop
botom
under
wata.
water
‘The fish is under the water’
b. Di
det
vilej
village
de
cop
botom
under
il.
hill
‘The village lies at the foot of the hill’
Furthermore, onda is used to express more abstract situations like (25a).
It can also refer to weather conditions, or introducing elements as the sun,
moon, stars, etc (25b). In both sentences the use of botom is excluded.
(25) a. Di
det
pikin
child
de
cop
onda
under
mi
1sg.poss
kia.
care
‘The child is under my care’
b. Wi
1pl
bigin
begin
fo
comp
waka
walk
onda
under
fayn
nice
weda.
weather
‘We began to walk under a clear sky’
Dong (<English down) indicates a locative place expression (26a). It can
also be used for locative path phrases (26b) and (26c). Example (26b)
should be analysed as a verb-particle construction, these will be discussed
in Section 5.
(26) a. Di
det
os
house
de
cop
dong
down
riva.
river
‘The house is down river’
b. Meri
M
bring
bring
dong
down
di
det
bed.
bed
‘Mary brought the bed down’
c. Di
det
rol
ball
kam
come
dong
down
di
det
ruf
roof
de
prog
go
go
na
to
gron.
ground
‘The ball rolled down the roof and landed on the ground’ (Lit:
‘The ball came down the roof and was going to the ground’)
245
Prepositions in Krio
4.3. Locatives
The three locative markers that occur as a preposition are insay (<English
inside), bifo (<English before), and bien (<English behind). First, insay
indicates that the Figure is contained. Insay is used as locative place (27a)
and path (27b) preposition.
(27) a. Di
det
arow
arrow
de
cop
insay
in
apul.
apple
‘The arrow is in the apple’
b. I
3sg
don
compl
waka
walk
go
go
insay
in
rum.
room
‘S/he walked into the room’ (the action is finished)
Bifo is a locative place marker indicating a position of the Figure ‘in front
of’ the Ground (28a). It is further used as temporal marker, where it
expresses the precedence relations between two events (28b) or a condi-
tion (28c).
(28) a. Di
det
tik
tree
de
cop
bifo
before
os.
house
‘The tree is in front of the house’
b. . . . , na
cop
de
be-at
i
3sg
drawn
drown
wan
one
wik
week
bifo
before
di
det
mared.
marriage
‘. . . , it is he, who drowned one week before the wedding’
(Taylor-Pearce 1989:21)
c. Bifo
Before
yu
2sg
luk
look
telivishon,
television
yu
2sg
get
get
fo
comp
du
do
yu
2sg
omwok.
homework
‘Before you can watch TV, you have to finish your homework’
Bien is used as a locative marker with a place interpretation, it conveys a
position of the Figure ‘beyond or at the back’ of the Ground in literal (29a)
and figurative (29b) sense. It can also express a temporal relation (29c).
(29) a. Di
det
os
house
de
cop
bien
behind
tik.
tree
‘The house is behind the tree’
b. A
1sg
de
cop
bien
behind
pas mi
1sg.poss
work.
work
‘I’m behind with my work’
c. Yu
2sg
no
neg
de
prog
si,
see
o
oh
yu
2sg
no
neg
no
know
wetin
what
de
cop
bien
behind
yu?
2sg
‘You’re not looking; oh don’t you know what is behind you?’
(Quake-Woode 1988:9)
246
Marleen van de Vate
4.4. Conclusion
Section 4 discussed and described three categories of prepositions, i.e. true
prepositions, prepositional locatives and locatives. F&J were followed in
the division of these three categories. The main difference between true
prepositions and the latter two categories is that prepositions belonging
to the former category are mainly functional prepositions and they can
only occur as transitives. Prepositions in both the prepositional locative
and the locative category are spatial prepositions and they can occur as
transitives and intransitives. It still has to be established whether locatives
belong to a separate category or whether they are similar to prepositional
locatives. An answer might be found in the next section in which Verb-
Particle Constructions and intransitive prepositions are discussed.
5. Intransitive prepositions and Verb-Particle Constructions
The focus of this section is intransitive prepositions and Verb-Particle Con-
structions. Intransitive prepositions are defined as items ‘without an object
or other complement’ (van Riemsdijk 1978:51). Verb-Particle Construc-
tions (VprtCs) are described as constructions in which the verb and par-
ticle function on their own, but are also closely connected and function as
one unit (Ramchand and Svenonius 2002). Emonds (1972) argues for one
class which contains both the intransitive prepositions and the particles in
a VprtC. He demonstrates that these items have similar characteristics and
that they show similar behaviour. Emonds’ classification of intransitive
prepositions and post-verbal particles will be followed in this paper.
In Krio there is no phonological difference between the transitive occur-
rence of a preposition and the intransitive occurrence of the same preposi-
tions. As a result, it is difficult to figure out whether the transitive and in-
transitive prepositions have a different underlying structure. Van Riemsdijk
claims: ‘That intransitive prepositions have to exist follows from the prin-
ciple that categories on the main projection line are obligatory and all other
positions (complements and specifiers) optional’ (van Riemsdijk 1978:51).
Therefore, I assume the underlying structure of the transitive and intran-
sitive prepositions to be similar.
Before I continue, I want to point out that due to the rare occurrence of
intransitive prepositions and VprtCs the claims made in this section need
further research with a larger group of informants.
5.1. True prepositions
First, true prepositions are touched upon briefly. According to F&J’s classi-
fication true prepositions can only occur as transitive. My informant agrees
that items in this category cannot appear without a complement following
them (30).
247
Prepositions in Krio
(30) *A
1sg
bay
buy
presen
present
fo.
for
5.2. Prepositional locatives and locatives
Since prepositional locatives and locatives show similar characteristics, which,
in addition, distinguish them from true prepositions, the two categories are
discussed together in this section.
5.2.1. Verb-Particle Constructions
In this section, I continue with VprtCs and intransitive occurrence of prepo-
sitions. First, some examples of VprtCs in Krio:
(31) I
3sg
trow
throw
op
up
bol.
ball
‘S/he threw up the ball’
(32) Yu
2sg
go
fut
ron
run
go,
go
yu
2sg
lef
leave
yu
2sg
lod
load
bien.
behind
‘You’ll run and go, you leave your load behind’ (Taylor-Pearce
1989:14)
An interesting observation is that a V-DP-Prt order for example (31), which
contains a prepositional locative, would be ungrammatical. In addition, it
is obligatory for a complement to follow the particle in this example. The
V-DP-Prt ordering is accepted for example (32), which contains a locative.
My informant also accepts a V-Prt-DP order for this example. Thus, it
appears to be possible for locatives to occur in a DP-Prt order and in a
Prt-DP order. However, for prepositional locatives the data shown here
suggests that a DP-Prt order is not allowed. Both in example (31) and
(26b), containing the prepositional locative dong, a DP-Prt order is not
allowed. Example (26b) is repeated here as (33).
(33) Meri
M
bring
bring
dong
down
di
det
bed.
bed
‘Mary brought the bed down’
Unfortunately, there is not enough data to make claims regarding the differ-
ence between prepositional locatives and locatives. Only these few examples
could be found. However, I do think that to investigate whether there is
a difference between prepositional locatives and locatives with respect to
VprtCs would be worth the while. Special attention should be paid to
whether the distinction observed here holds for similar constructions and
which conclusion can be drawn from them.
248
Marleen van de Vate
5.2.2. Intransitive prepositions
Let us turn to constructions which contain an intransitive preposition.
First, some examples. In these examples, as would be expected for in-
transitive prepositions, the complement is optional.
(34) Di
det
bobo
boy
sidom
sit-down
nia
near
(di
det
man).
man
‘The boy sits nearby (the man)’
(35) I
3sg
de
prog
waka
walk
go
go
dong
down
(di
det
strit).
street
‘S/he is walking down (the street)’
(36) Ol
All
di
det
fayv
five
pikin
child
den
3pl
kam
come
insay.
in
‘All the five children came in’ (Quake-Woode 1988:10)
Examples (34) and (35) each include a prepositional locative, and (36) a
locative. There is no difference in behaviour for prepositional locatives and
locatives as far as I could find with respect to the intransitive use of these
prepositions.
I have been unable to find intransitive use of the prepositional locatives
onda,botom,op and pantap. This is in conflict with the information given
by F&J. They argue that all prepositional locatives appear both as tran-
sitive and intransitive. Since only one informant was used, it is important
to test the judgments of other native speakers with respect to intransitive
occurrence of these four items.
All three locatives can appear as intransitive. This is shown in ex-
ample (36), (37) and (38). Note that the last example has a temporal
interpretation.
(37) a. Una
2pl
big
big
pipul,
people
oltem
all time
una
2pl
tok,
talk
pas
except
una
2pl
pul
remove
lili
little
yan
word
bien.
behind
‘You big people, all the time you talk, except you remove little
words to the back’ (Quake-Woode 1988:6)
b. Di
det
man
man
de
cop
bien
behind
(di
(det
os).
house)
‘The man is behind (the house)’
(38) wi
1pl
os
house
bifo.
before
‘our house before (i.e. the house we had before this one)’
Another feature worth mentioning in Krio is shown in example (39) and
(40).
249
Prepositions in Krio
(39) Fo
for
uda
who
yu
2sg
de
prog
bay
buy
di
det
presen
presen
fo?
for
‘For whom are you buying a present?’
(40) Wit
with
wetin
what
yu
2sg
de
prog
go
go
na
to
os
house
wit?
with
‘With what are you going home?’
In these examples the preposition appears both in the first and final posi-
tion of the surface order. It is unusual for a preposition to leave an explicit
trace when pied-piped. Questions worth answering here relate to the status
of these items (are they ‘real’ prepositions or should they be labelled dif-
ferently) and how would a formal analysis treat this phenomenon. I leave
this for further research.
6. Conclusion
This paper focusses on Krio’s prepositional system in a descriptive manner.
Fyle & Jones divide the prepositions in two categories; true prepositions
and prepositional locatives. I added a third category; namely locatives.
The main difference between the former category and the latter two cat-
egories, is that true prepositions only occur as transitives and the other
two appear as transitive and intransitive. Additionally, true prepositions
can be classified as functional prepositions and prepositions in the other
two categories as spatial. Whether there should be a distinction between
prepositional locatives and locatives is left for further research. I suggest
focussing on whether the distinction between these two categories found
here for post-verbal particles holds for a larger data set.
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