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Merico or Americo-Liberian (or the informal colloquial name "American") is an English-based creole language spoken until recently in Liberia by Americo-Liberians, descendants of the Settlers, freed slaves and African Americans who emigrated from the Southern United States between 1819 and 1860. It is distinguished from Liberian Kreyol and from Kru, and may be connected to Gullah and Jamaican Creole.[1]

The original Settlers numbered 19,000 in 1860.[1] By 1975 the language was partly decreolized, restricted to informal settings, and deprecated even by its speakers.[1]

Grammatical features

Plurals are unmarked, as in rak "rock","rocks", or marked with a -dẽ suffix, as in rak-dẽ "rocks". The verb expressing "to be" is , as in shi sʌ smo "she is small", but adjectives may be used without it, as in hi big "he is big". Verbs are not inflected for past tense.[1]

Separate particles are used to indicate some verb tenses:[1]

  • for negation (ai ẽ æs di chææ "I didn't ask the child"),
  • or for continuing action (hi dɘ spiish "he is talking at great length", shi lɛ kræ "she is crying"),
  • wu for future (wi wu kã "we will come"),
  • or for completed action (de dõ go dædɘdwe "they have gone that way", lilpis nõ lɛf "not a little piece was left")

The pronouns include:[1]

  • Subject: ai/a, yu//yo, hi/i, shi, wi, de/dẽ
  • Object: mi, yu, hi/, , wi/ɔs, dẽ
  • Possessive: /mi, yu/yo, hi/i, shi/, ou,

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Joey Lee Dillard (1975), Perspectives on black English. 391 pages. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 90-279-7811-5, ISBN 978-90-279-7811-0. Online version accessed on 2009-08-10.