Afro-American Folksongs - online book

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AFRO-AMERICAN FOLKSONGS
The negro hears some one say to the white man who is expecting an arrival, "II va venir." He recognizes that "va" as the sign of the future. For "Ce gros bateau a vapeur ne pourra pas descendre quand l'eau sera basse" he says: Gro stimbotte-ldpas capab decende can lo va basse. To "va" he attached the infinitive of the verb to determine the kind of action, and the pronoun to indicate the actor. Thus va chante tells us that there is to be singing. Who is to sing? The pronoun gives the information:
Mo
To
Li
Nou
Fou
Ye
va chante.
This is the primitive stage of the process which in the mouth of the future Creole undergoes two changes: The sound va is combined with the pronoun (mova, tova, liva, nouva, vouva, yevachante), and then for economical con­traction the sounds ov, iv, ouv, ev are elided, the initial letter of the pronoun is united with the radical sound a, and we have:
Ma
Ta
La
Na
Va
Ya
chantS.
Sometimes there is a still further contraction, the pro­nominal consonant disappearing, leaving the vowel a alone to represent the future. For the imperative mood the Creole uses the infinitive, preceded by the noun or pronoun; for "Que Jules vienne avec vous" he says: Jule vini ave vou. The first person plural in the Creole imperative is curious in that to form it he calls in the help of the imperative verb "aller," which he pronounces anon; "Traversons cette rue" becomes anon traverse larue cila. He escapes such embarrassments as "buvons," "dormons," "cousons" with the help of his ever-ready anonanon boi9 anon dormi, anon coude.
"In its transformation into Creole," says Dr. Mercier, "French is simplified and acquires either grace or strength.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III