Sammanfattning: This study investigates variable noun phrase number agreement (VNA) in two second language varieties of Portuguese, spoken in Maputo, Mozambique and in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Quantitative VARBRUL analysis is carried out based on recordings made in Maputo and Mindelo 2007 and 2008.Previous quantitative studies on VNA in varieties of Brazilian Portuguese (Guy, 1981; Lopes, 2001; Andrade, 2003) as well as on VNA in first and second language varieties of Portuguese from São Tomé (Baxter, 2004; Figueiredo, 2008, 2010) indicate contact between Portuguese and African languages as the main origin of this phenomenon. VNA in Brazilian Portuguese is, however, interpreted by Scherre (1988) and Naro & Scherre (1993, 2007) as the result of language internal drift.Varieties of Portuguese from Mozambique and Cape Verde are particularly interesting to contrast in order to investigate influences from African languages on VNA, as in Mozambique Bantu languages are first languages of the vast majority of Portuguese speakers, whereas in Cape Verde, practically all Portuguese speakers are first language speakers of Cape Verdean Creole, whose substrates are West African, and not Bantu, languages. Comparison is also made with previous studies from Brazil and São Tomé.The results of this study comment previously postulated explanations for VNA in Portuguese in various ways. The analysis of the variables onset age and age stratum indicates that VNA in the analyzed varieties is a phenomenon linked to the acquisition of Portuguese as a second language and/or language contact rather than the result of internal drift. The fact that all the compared varieties tend to mark plural on pre-head components contradicts Bantu transfer as an explanation for this pattern, and raises the need to also consider more general explanations based on language contact. The basic structural similarity between the compared varieties suggests the existence of a grammatical restructuring continuum.
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