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Some creolists such as McWhorter and Parkvall have argued that creoles are typologically special, while others such as Chaudenson, DeGraff, Mufwene and Ansaldo have emphasized the continuity between creoles and other languages. Bakker et al.


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But what is the empirical question here? It would be a great advance in our understanding of language change if we could fully or largely predict the outcomes of language contact from the kind of social contact situation that has given rise to the contact-induced change.

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That would certainly be an important insight. The prediction would then be that all languages that recently underwent social creolization must lack irregularities and grammatical markers. We could thus look at existing creoles, assume that they all underwent social creolization recently enough i.

This is what Bakker et al. Thus, the 97 features can in no way be seen as a representative sample of the structures of these languages — on the contrary, they represent a highly biased sample of features. Thus, it is not the least bit surprising that we and up with a SplitsTree network as in their Figure Moreover, Bakker et al. Confusingly, Bakker at al. In practice, the authors accept a language as a creole if it is part of the usual canon of creole studies, but arguably this canon is to a large extent defined by the structural features.

This means that the argumentation becomes circular. But even if we admitted only those creoles that we know from historical records underwent social creolization as defined above , we could still not be sure that we have a representative sample of languages.

There may well be languages that underwent social creolization but have little signs of structural simplification. For example, Spanish on Cuba arguably has a similar history as African American English, but there is no restructured Spanish spoken on Cuba see, e. But by a social definition, Cuban Spanish would probably count as a creole, and thus be a counterexample to the generalizations that Bakker et al.

How many other counterexamples might there be out there? Traditionally, linguists have classified languages typologically by their structural features — but one might classify them by their social features, or their social history as well.

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This has hardly been done. But these are the kinds of data we know to answer the really interesting questions about the connections between social situations and the outcomes of language contact and change.

Instead, creolists seem to be stuck with the question of synchronic creole distinctiveness. But this is not really an interesting question, because there is no theory that could explain it, and anyone would go to diachrony for explanations anyway. Moreover, creole distinctiveness has given rise to acrimonious ideological debates, as well as to misunderstandings. For example, should one go as far as to say that a language that shares the typical structural features of the classical creoles is a creole, even if we know nothing about its history cf.

McWhorter ? But how can one then avoid circularity? And if creoles are non-distinctive, does this automatically imply that they are not separate languages, but daughters or even dialects of their lexifiers? Bakker at al. Thus, I would think that we should not be debating synchronic creole distinctiveness, but ways of predicting the outcomes of language change on the basis of social situations along the lines of Trudgill Creoles are typologically distinct from non-creoles. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 26 1. Comparative creole syntax. Parallel outlines of 18 creole grammars.

Westminster Creolistics Series 7. London: Battlebridge. McWhorter, John H. Berkeley: University of California Press. Parkvall, Mikael. Then adults learn a language under untutored conditions, they abbreviate its structure, focusing upon features vital to communication and shaving away most of the features useless to communication that bedevil those acquiring the language non-natively.

When they utilize their rendition of the language consistently enough to create a brand-new one, this new creation naturally evinces evidence of its youth: specifically, a much lower degree of the random accretions typical in older languages, which only develop over vast periods of time. The articles constitute a case for this thesis based on both broad, cross-creole ranges of data and focused expositions referring to single creole languages.

The book presents a general case for a theory of language contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source languages but also structural reduction plays a central role, based on facts whose marginality of address in creole studies has arisen from issues sociopolitical as well as scientific.

For several decades the very definition of the term creole has been elusive even among creole specialists. This book attempts to forge a path beyond the inter- and intra-disciplinary misunderstandings and stalemates that have resulted from this, and to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and syntactic theory. The Language Hoax. John H. The Creole Debate. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long.

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