Cape Verdian

Conjugate Verbs


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    Cape Verdean Creole is a creole language of Portuguese basis, spoken on the islands of Cape Verde. It is the native language of virtually all Cape Verdeans, and it is used as a second language by the Cape Verdean diaspora.

    The language is the oldest (still-spoken) Creole, and the most widely spoken Portuguese-based creole.

    Cape Verdian Dialects

    The Cape Verdian Verb

    Mountains in Cape Verde.

    The verbs have only minimal inflection (two forms). They have the same form for all the persons, and the notions of tense, mood and aspect are expressed through the presence (or absence) of certain morphemes, as in the majority of creoles.

    The verbs are generally reduced to two base forms, one for the present, another for the past. The form for the present is the same to the form for the infinitive (exception: sêr “to be”).

    The infinitive comes, in the majority of the verbs, from the infinitive in Portuguese but without the final r. Ex.: cantâ /kɐ̃ˈtɐ/ (from Portuguese cantar), mexê /meˈʃe/ (from Portuguese mexer), partí /pɐɾˈti/ (from Portuguese partir), compô /kõˈpo/ (from Portuguese compor), *lumbú /lũˈbu/ (from Portuguese lombo).

    The form for the past is formed from the infinitive to which is joined the particle for the past ~ba. Ex.: cantába /kɐ̃ˈtabɐ/, mexêba /meˈʃebɐ/, partíba /pɐɾˈtibɐ/, compôba /kõˈpobɐ/, *lumbúba /lũˈbubɐ/ (in the Barlavento variants, the particle for the past ~va (or ~ba) is joined to the imperfective actualizer, and not to the verb).