Creole language

A creole language,[1][2][3] or simply creole, is a stable natural language that develops from the simplifying and mixing of different languages at a fairly sudden point in time: often, a pidgin transitioned into a full-fledged language. While the concept is similar to that of a mixed or hybrid language, a creole is often additionally defined as being highly simplified when compared to its parent languages. However, a creole is still complex enough that it has a consistent system of grammar, possesses a large stable vocabulary, and is acquired by children as their native language, all of which distinguishes a creole language from a pidgin.

The precise number of creole languages is not known, particularly as many are poorly attested or documented. About one hundred creole languages have arisen since 1500. These are predominantly based on European languages such as English and French[4] due to the European Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade that arose at that time.[5] With the improvements in ship-building and navigation, traders had to learn to communicate with people around the world, and the quickest way to do this was to develop a pidgin, or simplified language suited to the purpose; in turn, full creole languages developed from these pidgins. In addition to creoles that have European languages as their base, there are, for example, creoles based on Arabic, Chinese, and Malay. The creole with the largest number of speakers is Haitian Creole, with almost ten million native speakers,[6] followed by Tok Pisin with about 4 million, most of whom are second-language speakers.

The lexicon (or, roughly, the base or essential vocabulary – such as "run" but not "running") of a creole language is largely supplied by the parent languages, particularly that of the most dominant group in the social context of the creole's construction. However, there are often clear phonetic and semantic shifts. On the other hand, the grammar that has evolved often has new or unique features that differ substantially from those of the parent languages.

Guadeloupe creole 2010-03-30
Road sign in Guadeloupe Creole meaning Slow down. Children are playing here. The literal translation is "Lift your foot [from the accelerator]. There are children playing here".

Overview

A creole is believed to arise when a pidgin, developed by adults for use as a second language, becomes the native and primary language of their children – a process known as nativization.[7] The pidgin-creole life cycle was studied by American linguist Robert Hall in the 1960s.[8]

Some argue that creoles share more grammatical similarities with each other than with the languages from which they are phylogenetically derived.[9] However, there is no widely accepted theory that would account for those perceived similarities.[10] Moreover, no grammatical feature has been shown to be specific to creoles.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Many of the creoles known today arose in the last 500 years, as a result of the worldwide expansion of European maritime power and trade in the Age of Discovery, which led to extensive European colonial empires. Like most non-official and minority languages, creoles have generally been regarded in popular opinion as degenerate variants or dialects of their parent languages. Because of that prejudice, many of the creoles that arose in the European colonies, having been stigmatized, have become extinct. However, political and academic changes in recent decades have improved the status of creoles, both as living languages and as object of linguistic study.[17][18] Some creoles have even been granted the status of official or semi-official languages of particular political territories.

Linguists now recognize that creole formation is a universal phenomenon, not limited to the European colonial period, and an important aspect of language evolution (see Vennemann (2003)). For example, in 1933 Sigmund Feist postulated a creole origin for the Germanic languages.[19]

Other scholars, such as Salikoko Mufwene, argue that pidgins and creoles arise independently under different circumstances, and that a pidgin need not always precede a creole nor a creole evolve from a pidgin. Pidgins, according to Mufwene, emerged in trade colonies among "users who preserved their native vernaculars for their day-to-day interactions." Creoles, meanwhile, developed in settlement colonies in which speakers of a European language, often indentured servants whose language would be far from the standard in the first place, interacted extensively with non-European slaves, absorbing certain words and features from the slaves' non-European native languages, resulting in a heavily basilectalized version of the original language. These servants and slaves would come to use the creole as an everyday vernacular, rather than merely in situations in which contact with a speaker of the superstrate was necessary.[20]

History

Origin

The English term creole comes from French créole, which is cognate with the Spanish term criollo and Portuguese crioulo, all descending from the verb criar ('to breed' or 'to raise'), all coming from Latin creare ('to produce, create').[21] The specific sense of the term was coined in the 16th and 17th century, during the great expansion in European maritime power and trade that led to the establishment of European colonies in other continents.

The terms criollo and crioulo were originally qualifiers used throughout the Spanish and Portuguese colonies to distinguish the members of an ethnic group who were born and raised locally from those who immigrated as adults. They were most commonly applied to nationals of the colonial power, e.g. to distinguish españoles criollos (people born in the colonies from Spanish ancestors) from españoles peninsulares (those born in the Iberian Peninsula, i.e. Spain). However, in Brazil the term was also used to distinguish between negros crioulos (blacks born in Brazil from African slave ancestors) and negros africanos (born in Africa). Over time, the term and its derivatives (Creole, Kréol, Kreyol, Kreyòl, Kriol, Krio, etc.) lost the generic meaning and became the proper name of many distinct ethnic groups that developed locally from immigrant communities. Originally, therefore, the term "creole language" meant the speech of any of those creole peoples.

Geographic distribution

As a consequence of colonial European trade patterns, most of the known European-based creole languages arose in coastal areas in the equatorial belt around the world, including the Americas, western Africa, Goa along the west of India, and along Southeast Asia up to Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and Oceania.[22]

Many of those creoles are now extinct, but others still survive in the Caribbean, the north and east coasts of South America (The Guyanas), western Africa, Australia (see Australian Kriol language), and in the Indian Ocean.

Atlantic Creole languages are based on European languages with elements from African and possibly Amerindian languages. Indian Ocean Creole languages are based on European languages with elements from Malagasy and possibly other Asian languages. There are, however, creoles like Nubi and Sango that are derived solely from non-European languages.

Social and political status

Because of the generally low status of the Creole peoples in the eyes of prior European colonial powers, creole languages have generally been regarded as "degenerate" languages, or at best as rudimentary "dialects" of the politically dominant parent languages. Because of this, the word "creole" was generally used by linguists in opposition to "language", rather than as a qualifier for it.[23]

Another factor that may have contributed to the relative neglect of creole languages in linguistics is that they do not fit the 19th-century neogrammarian "tree model" for the evolution of languages, and its postulated regularity of sound changes (these critics including the earliest advocates of the wave model, Johannes Schmidt and Hugo Schuchardt, the forerunners of modern sociolinguistics). This controversy of the late 19th century profoundly shaped modern approaches to the comparative method in historical linguistics and in creolistics.[17][23][24]

Timoun Syèj (Creole)
Haitian Creole in use at car rental counter, USA

Because of social, political, and academic changes brought on by decolonization in the second half of the 20th century, creole languages have experienced revivals in the past few decades. They are increasingly being used in print and film, and in many cases, their community prestige has improved dramatically. In fact, some have been standardized, and are used in local schools and universities around the world.[17][18][25] At the same time, linguists have begun to come to the realization that creole languages are in no way inferior to other languages. They now use the term "creole" or "creole language" for any language suspected to have undergone creolization, terms that now imply no geographic restrictions nor ethnic prejudices.

Creolization is widely thought to be a leading influence on the evolution of African-American English (AAE). The controversy surrounding African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) in the American education system, as well as the past use of the word ebonics to refer to it, mirrors the historical negative connotation of the word creole.[26]

Classification

Historic classification

According to their external history, four types of creoles have been distinguished: plantation creoles, fort creoles, maroon creoles, and creolized pidgins.[27] By the very nature of a creole language, the phylogenetic classification of a particular creole usually is a matter of dispute; especially when the pidgin precursor and its parent tongues (which may have been other creoles or pidgins) have disappeared before they could be documented.

Phylogenetic classification traditionally relies on inheritance of the lexicon, especially of "core" terms, and of the grammar structure. However, in creoles, the core lexicon often has mixed origin, and the grammar is largely original. For these reasons, the issue of which language is the parent of a creole – that is, whether a language should be classified as a "Portuguese creole" or "English creole", etc. – often has no definitive answer, and can become the topic of long-lasting controversies, where social prejudices and political considerations may interfere with scientific discussion.[17][18][24]

Substrate and superstrate

The terms substrate and superstrate are often used when two languages interact. However, the meaning of these terms is reasonably well-defined only in second language acquisition or language replacement events, when the native speakers of a certain source language (the substrate) are somehow compelled to abandon it for another target language (the superstrate).[28] The outcome of such an event is that erstwhile speakers of the substrate will use some version of the superstrate, at least in more formal contexts. The substrate may survive as a second language for informal conversation. As demonstrated by the fate of many replaced European languages (such as Etruscan, Breton, and Venetian), the influence of the substrate on the official speech is often limited to pronunciation and a modest number of loanwords. The substrate might even disappear altogether without leaving any trace.[28]

However, there is dispute over the extent to which the terms "substrate" and "superstrate" are applicable to the genesis or the description of creole languages.[29] The language replacement model may not be appropriate in creole formation contexts, where the emerging language is derived from multiple languages without any one of them being imposed as a replacement for any other.[30][31] The substratum-superstratum distinction becomes awkward when multiple superstrata must be assumed (such as in Papiamentu), when the substratum cannot be identified, or when the presence or the survival of substratal evidence is inferred from mere typological analogies.[14] On the other hand, the distinction may be meaningful when the contributions of each parent language to the resulting creole can be shown to be very unequal, in a scientifically meaningful way.[32] In the literature on Atlantic Creoles, "superstrate" usually means European and "substrate" non-European or African.[33]

Decreolization

Since creole languages rarely attain official status, the speakers of a fully formed creole may eventually feel compelled to conform their speech to one of the parent languages. This decreolization process typically brings about a post-creole speech continuum characterized by large-scale variation and hypercorrection in the language.[17]

It is generally acknowledged that creoles have a simpler grammar and more internal variability than older, more established languages.[34] However, these notions are occasionally challenged.[35] (See also language complexity.)

Phylogenetic or typological comparisons of creole languages have led to divergent conclusions. Similarities are usually higher among creoles derived from related languages, such as the languages of Europe, than among broader groups that include also creoles based on non-Indo-European languages (like Nubi or Sango). French-based creoles in turn are more similar to each other (and to varieties of French) than to other European-based creoles. It was observed, in particular, that definite articles are mostly prenominal in English-based creole languages and English whereas they are generally postnominal in French creoles and in the variety of French that was exported to what is now Quebec in the 17th and 18th century.[36] Moreover, the European languages which gave rise to the creole languages of European colonies all belong to the same subgroup of Western Indo-European and have highly convergent grammars; to the point that Whorf joined them into a single Standard Average European language group.[37] French and English are particularly close, since English, through extensive borrowing, is typologically closer to French than to other Germanic languages.[38] Thus the claimed similarities between creoles may be mere consequences of similar parentage, rather than characteristic features of all creoles.

Creole genesis

There are a variety of theories on the origin of creole languages, all of which attempt to explain the similarities among them. Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995) outline a fourfold classification of explanations regarding creole genesis:

  • Theories focusing on European input
  • Theories focusing on non-European input
  • Gradualist and developmental hypotheses
  • Universalist approaches

Theories focusing on European input

Monogenetic theory of pidgins and creoles

The monogenetic theory of pidgins and creoles hypothesizes that they are all derived from a single Mediterranean Lingua Franca, via a West African Pidgin Portuguese of the 17th century, relexified in the so-called "slave factories" of Western Africa that were the source of the Atlantic slave trade. This theory was originally formulated by Hugo Schuchardt in the late 19th century and popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Taylor,[39] Whinnom,[40] Thompson,[41] and Stewart.[42] However, this hypothesis is no longer actively investigated, as there are examples of creoles, such as Hezhou, which evidently have nothing to do with the Lingua Franca.

Domestic origin hypothesis

Proposed by Hancock (1985) for the origin of English-based creoles of the West Indies, the Domestic Origin Hypothesis argues that, towards the end of the 16th century, English-speaking traders began to settle in the Gambia and Sierra Leone rivers as well as in neighboring areas such as the Bullom and Sherbro coasts. These settlers intermarried with the local population leading to mixed populations, and, as a result of this intermarriage, an English pidgin was created. This pidgin was learned by slaves in slave depots, who later on took it to the West Indies and formed one component of the emerging English creoles.

European dialect origin hypothesis

The French creoles are the foremost candidates to being the outcome of "normal" linguistic change and their creoleness to be sociohistoric in nature and relative to their colonial origin.[43] Within this theoretical framework, a French creole is a language phylogenetically based on French, more specifically on a 17th-century koiné French extant in Paris, the French Atlantic harbours, and the nascent French colonies. Supporters of this hypothesis suggest that the non-Creole French dialects still spoken in many parts of the Americas share mutual descent from this single koiné. These dialects are found in Canada (mostly in Québec and in Acadian communities), Louisiana, Saint-Barthélemy and as isolates in other parts of the Americas.[44] Approaches under this hypothesis are compatible with gradualism in change and models of imperfect language transmission in koiné genesis.

Foreigner talk and baby talk

The Foreigner Talk (FT) hypothesis argues that a pidgin or creole language forms when native speakers attempt to simplify their language in order to address speakers who do not know their language at all. Because of the similarities found in this type of speech and speech directed to a small child, it is also sometimes called baby talk.[45]

Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995) suggest that four different processes are involved in creating Foreigner Talk:

  • Accommodation
  • Imitation
  • Telegraphic condensation
  • Conventions

This could explain why creole languages have much in common, while avoiding a monogenetic model. However, Hinnenkamp (1984), in analyzing German Foreigner Talk, claims that it is too inconsistent and unpredictable to provide any model for language learning.

While the simplification of input was supposed to account for creoles' simple grammar, commentators have raised a number of criticisms of this explanation:[46]

  1. There are a great many grammatical similarities amongst pidgins and creoles despite having very different lexifier languages.
  2. Grammatical simplification can be explained by other processes, i.e. the innate grammar of Bickerton's language bioprogram theory.
  3. Speakers of a creole's lexifier language often fail to understand, without learning the language, the grammar of a pidgin or creole.
  4. Pidgins are more often used amongst speakers of different substrate languages than between such speakers and those of the lexifier language.

Another problem with the FT explanation is its potential circularity. Bloomfield (1933) points out that FT is often based on the imitation of the incorrect speech of the non-natives, that is the pidgin. Therefore, one may be mistaken in assuming that the former gave rise to the latter.

Imperfect L2 learning

The imperfect L2 (second language) learning hypothesis claims that pidgins are primarily the result of the imperfect L2 learning of the dominant lexifier language by the slaves. Research on naturalistic L2 processes has revealed a number of features of "interlanguage systems" that are also seen in pidgins and creoles:

  • invariant verb forms derived from the infinitive or the least marked finite verb form;
  • loss of determiners or use as determiners of demonstrative pronouns, adjectives or adverbs;
  • placement of a negative particle in preverbal position;
  • use of adverbs to express modality;
  • fixed single word order with no inversion in questions;
  • reduced or absent nominal plural marking.

Imperfect L2 learning is compatible with other approaches, notably the European dialect origin hypothesis and the universalist models of language transmission.[47]

Theories focusing on non-European input

Theories focusing on the substrate, or non-European, languages attribute similarities amongst creoles to the similarities of African substrate languages. These features are often assumed to be transferred from the substrate language to the creole or to be preserved invariant from the substrate language in the creole through a process of relexification: the substrate language replaces the native lexical items with lexical material from the superstrate language while retaining the native grammatical categories.[48] The problem with this explanation is that the postulated substrate languages differ amongst themselves and with creoles in meaningful ways. Bickerton (1981) argues that the number and diversity of African languages and the paucity of a historical record on creole genesis makes determining lexical correspondences a matter of chance. Dillard (1970) coined the term "cafeteria principle" to refer to the practice of arbitrarily attributing features of creoles to the influence of substrate African languages or assorted substandard dialects of European languages.

For a representative debate on this issue, see the contributions to Mufwene (1993); for a more recent view, Parkvall (2000).

Because of the sociohistoric similarities amongst many (but by no means all) of the creoles, the Atlantic slave trade and the plantation system of the European colonies have been emphasized as factors by linguists such as McWhorter (1999).

Gradualist and developmental hypotheses

One class of creoles might start as pidgins, rudimentary second languages improvised for use between speakers of two or more non-intelligible native languages. Keith Whinnom (in Hymes (1971)) suggests that pidgins need three languages to form, with one (the superstrate) being clearly dominant over the others. The lexicon of a pidgin is usually small and drawn from the vocabularies of its speakers, in varying proportions. Morphological details like word inflections, which usually take years to learn, are omitted; the syntax is kept very simple, usually based on strict word order. In this initial stage, all aspects of the speech – syntax, lexicon, and pronunciation – tend to be quite variable, especially with regard to the speaker's background.

If a pidgin manages to be learned by the children of a community as a native language, it may become fixed and acquire a more complex grammar, with fixed phonology, syntax, morphology, and syntactic embedding. Pidgins can become full languages in only a single generation. "Creolization" is this second stage where the pidgin language develops into a fully developed native language. The vocabulary, too, will develop to contain more and more items according to a rationale of lexical enrichment.[49]

Universalist approaches

Universalist models stress the intervention of specific general processes during the transmission of language from generation to generation and from speaker to speaker. The process invoked varies: a general tendency towards semantic transparency, first language learning driven by universal process, or general process of discourse organization. The main universalist theory is still Bickerton's language bioprogram theory, proposed in the 1980s.[50] Bickerton claims that creoles are inventions of the children growing up on newly founded plantations. Around them, they only heard pidgins spoken, without enough structure to function as natural languages; and the children used their own innate linguistic capacities to transform the pidgin input into a full-fledged language. The alleged common features of all creoles would then be the consequence of those innate abilities being universal.

Recent studies

The last decade has seen the emergence of some new questions about the nature of creoles: in particular, the question of how complex creoles are and the question of whether creoles are indeed "exceptional" languages.

Creole prototype

Some features that distinguish creole languages from noncreoles have been proposed (by Bickerton,[51] for example).

John McWhorter[52] has proposed the following list of features to indicate a creole prototype:

  • a lack of inflectional morphology (other than at most two or three inflectional affixes),
  • a lack of tone on monosyllabic words, and
  • a lack of semantically opaque word formation.

McWhorter hypothesizes that these three properties exactly characterize a creole. However, the creole prototype hypothesis has been disputed:

Exceptionalism

Building up on this discussion, McWhorter proposed that "the world's simplest grammars are Creole grammars", claiming that every noncreole language's grammar is at least as complex as any creole language's grammar.[54][55] Gil has replied that Riau Indonesian has a simpler grammar than Saramaccan, the language McWhorter uses as a showcase for his theory.[13] The same objections were raised by Wittmann in his 1999 debate with McWhorter.[56]

The lack of progress made in defining creoles in terms of their morphology and syntax has led scholars such as Robert Chaudenson, Salikoko Mufwene, Michel DeGraff, and Henri Wittmann to question the value of creole as a typological class; they argue that creoles are structurally no different from any other language, and that creole is a sociohistoric concept – not a linguistic one – encompassing displaced populations and slavery.[57]

Thomason & Kaufman (1988) spell out the idea of creole exceptionalism, claiming that creole languages are an instance of nongenetic language change due to language shift with abnormal transmission. Gradualists question the abnormal transmission of languages in a creole setting and argue that the processes which created today's creole languages are no different from universal patterns of language change.

Given these objections to creole as a concept, DeGraff and others question the idea that creoles are exceptional in any meaningful way.[16][58] Additionally, Mufwene (2002) argues that some Romance languages are potential creoles but that they are not considered as such by linguists because of a historical bias against such a view.

See also

Creoles by parent language

References

  1. ^ The study of pidgin and creole languages
  2. ^ Language varieties: Pidgins and creoles
  3. ^ Typologizing grammatical complexities, or Why creoles may be paradigmatically simple but syntagmatically average
  4. ^ "Creole – Language Information & Resources". www.alsintl.com. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Linguistics, ed. Anne E. Baker, Kees Hengeveld, p. 436
  6. ^ Valdman, Albert. "Creole: The national language of Haiti". www.indiana.edu. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Wardhaugh (2002:61)
  8. ^ Hall (1966)
  9. ^ Bickerton (1983:116–122)
  10. ^ Winford (1997:138); cited in Wardhaugh (2002)
  11. ^ Wittmann (1999)
  12. ^ Mufwene (2000)
  13. ^ a b Gil (2001)
  14. ^ a b Muysken & Law (2001)
  15. ^ Lefebvre (2002)
  16. ^ a b DeGraff (2003)
  17. ^ a b c d e DeCamp (1977)
  18. ^ a b c Sebba (1997)
  19. ^ Feist, Sigmund (1932). "The Origin of the Germanic Languages and the Indo-Europeanising of North Europe". Language. 8 (4): 245–254. doi:10.2307/408831. JSTOR 408831.
  20. ^ Mufwene, Salikoko. "Pidgin and Creole Languages". Humanities.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  21. ^ Holm (1988).
  22. ^ Chambers, Douglas B. (2008-12-01). "Slave trade merchants of Spanish New Orleans, 1763–1803: Clarifying the colonial slave trade to Louisiana in Atlantic perspective". Atlantic Studies. 5 (3): 335–346. doi:10.1080/14788810802445024. ISSN 1478-8810.
  23. ^ a b See Meijer & Muysken (1977).
  24. ^ a b Traugott (1977)
  25. ^ Holm (1988, 1989)
  26. ^ Williams, Robert L. (2016-07-25). "The Ebonics Controversy". Journal of Black Psychology. 23 (3): 208–214. doi:10.1177/00957984970233002.
  27. ^ Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995:15)
  28. ^ a b Weinreich (1953)
  29. ^ Mufwene (1993)
  30. ^ Singler (1988)
  31. ^ Singler (1996)
  32. ^ Recent investigations about substrates and superstrates, in creoles and other languages, includes Feist (1932), Weinreich (1953), Jungemann (1955), Martinet (1955), Hall (1974), Singler (1983), and Singler (1988).
  33. ^ Parkvall (2000)
  34. ^ "Creole and pidgin language structure in cross-linguistic perspective". Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology – Department of Linguistics. August 2013.
  35. ^ Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995:9)
  36. ^ Fournier (1998), Wittmann (1995), Wittmann (1998).
  37. ^ Whorf (1956)
  38. ^ Bailey & Maroldt (1977)
  39. ^ such as in Taylor (1977)
  40. ^ Whinnom (1956), Whinnom (1965)
  41. ^ Thompson (1961)
  42. ^ Stewart (1962)
  43. ^ There are some similarities in this line of thinking with Hancock's domestic origin hypothesis.
  44. ^ Wittmann (1983, 1995, 2001), Fournier (1998), Fournier & Wittmann (1995); cf. the article on Quebec French and the History of Quebec French
  45. ^ See, for example, Ferguson (1971)
  46. ^ Wardhaugh (2002:73)
  47. ^ Based on 19th-century intuitions, approaches underlying the imperfect L2 learning hypothesis have been followed up in the works of Schumann (1978), Anderson (1983), Seuren & Wekker (1986), Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995), Geeslin (2002), Hamilton & Coslett (2008).
  48. ^ See the article on relexification for a discussion of the controversy surrounding the retaining of substrate grammatical features through relexification.
  49. ^ Wardhaugh (2002:56–57)
  50. ^ See Bickerton (1981), Bickerton (1983), Bickerton (1984), Bickerton (1988), and Bickerton (1991)
  51. ^ See Bickerton (1983)
  52. ^ See McWhorter (1998) and McWhorter (2005)
  53. ^ Muysken & Law (2001)
  54. ^ McWhorter (1998)
  55. ^ McWhorter (2005)
  56. ^ Wittmann-McWhorter debate
  57. ^ Mufwene (2000), Wittmann (2001)
  58. ^ Ansaldo & Matthews (2007)
  59. ^ Takashi (2008)

Further reading

  • Anderson, Roger W., ed. (1983), Pidginization and Creolization as Language Acquisition, Rowley, MA: Newbury House
  • Ansaldo, U.; Matthews, S. (2007), "Deconstructing creole: The rationale", Typological Studies in Language, 73: 1–20, doi:10.1075/tsl.73.02ans, ISSN 0167-7373
  • Arends, Jacques; Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (1995), Pidgins and Creoles: An introduction, Amsterdam: Benjamins, ISBN 90-272-5236-X
  • Arends, Jacques (1989), Syntactic Developments in Sranan: Creolization as a gradual process, Nijmegen, ISBN 90-900268-3-5
  • Bailey, Charles J; Maroldt, Karl (1977), "The French lineage of English", in Meisel, Jürgen, Langues en Contact – Pidgins – Creoles, Tübingen: Narr, pp. 21–53
  • Bickerton, Derek (2009), Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-8090-2816-0
  • Bickerton, Derek (1981), Roots of Language, Karoma Publishers, ISBN 0-89720-044-6
  • Bickerton, Derek (1983), "Creole Languages", Scientific American, 249 (8): 116–122, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0783-116, JSTOR 24968948
  • Bickerton, Derek (1984), "The language bioprogram hypothesis", The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7: 173–188, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.908.5328, doi:10.1017/S0140525X00044149
  • Bloomfield, L. (1933), Language, New York: Henry Holt
  • DeCamp, David (1977), "The Development of Pidgin and Creole Studies", in Valdman, Albert, Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 3–20
  • DeGraff, Michel (2001), "On the origin of creoles: A Cartesian critique of Neo-Darwinian linguistics", Linguistic Typology, 5 (2–3): 213–310
  • DeGraff, Michel (2002), "Relexification: A reevaluation" (PDF), Linguistic Anthropology, 44 (4): 321–414, JSTOR 30028860
  • DeGraff, Michel (2003), "Against Creole Exceptionalism", Language, 79 (2): 391–410, doi:10.1353/lan.2003.0114
  • Dillard, J.L. (1970), "Principles in the history of American English: Paradox, virginity, and cafeteria", Florida Foreign Language Reporter, 8: 32–33
  • Eckkrammer, Eva (1994), "How to Pave the Way for the Emancipation of a Creole Language. Papiamentu, or What Can a Literature Do for its Language", in Hoogbergen, Wim, Born Out of Resistance. On Caribbean Cultural Creativity, Utrecht: Isor-Publications
  • Feist, Sigmund (1932), "The Origin of the Germanic Languages and the Europeanization of North Europe", Language, 8 (4): 245–254, doi:10.2307/408831, JSTOR 408831
  • Ferguson, C.A. (1971), "Absence of Copula and the Notion of Simplicity: A Study of Normal Speech, Baby Talk, Foreigner Talk and Pidgins", in Hymes, D., Pidginization and Creolization of Languages, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Fertel, Rien (2014), Imagining the Creole City: The Rise of LIterary Culture in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press
  • Fournier, Robert; Wittmann, Henri, eds. (1995), Le Français des Amériques, Trois-Rivières: Presses universitaires de Trois-Rivières, ISBN 2-9802307-2-3
  • Fournier, Robert (1998), "Des créolismes dans la distribution des déterminants et des complémenteurs en français québécois basilectal", in Patrice Brasseur, Français d'Amérique: variation, créolisation, normalisation, Université d'Avignon: Centre d'études canadiennes, pp. 217–228
  • Geeslin, Kimberly L. (2002), "Semantic transparency as a predictor of copula choice in second-language acquisition", Linguistics, 40 (2): 439–468, doi:10.1515/ling.2002.019
  • Gil, David (2001), "Creoles, Complexity and Riau Indonesian", Linguistic Typology, 5: 325–371
  • Good, Jeff (2004), "Tone and accent in Saramaccan: Charting a deep split in the phonology of a language" (PDF), Lingua, 114 (5): 575–619, doi:10.1016/S0024-3841(03)00062-7
  • Hall, Robert A. (1966), Pidgin and Creole Languages, Ithaca: Cornell University
  • Hall, Robert A., External History of the Romance Languages, New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company
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External links

In French

Afro-Seminole Creole

Afro-Seminole Creole (ASC) is a dialect of Gullah spoken by Black Seminoles in scattered communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Northern Mexico.It was first identified as a distinct language in 1978 by Ian Hancock, a linguist at the University of Texas. The Creole developed when Black Seminoles and Seminoles lived together in Florida in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.Present-day speakers of Afro-Seminole Creole live in Seminole County, Oklahoma, and Brackettville, Texas, in the United States and in Nacimiento de los Negros, Coahuila, in Mexico. The language is considered threatened with extinction. There are about 200 speakers of the language. A majority of the living speakers are descendants of Black Seminoles who once lived at Fort Clark and are at least 65 years old.

Antillean Creole

Antillean Creole is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and vocabulary include elements of Carib and African languages.Antillean Creole is related to Haitian Creole but has a number of distinctive features; however, they are mutually intelligible. The language was formerly more widely spoken in the Lesser Antilles, but its number of speakers is declining in Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. While the islands of Dominica and Saint Lucia are officially English-speaking, there are efforts to preserve the use of Antillean Creole, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago and its neighbour, Venezuela. In recent decades, Creole has gone from being seen as a sign of lower socio-economic status, banned in school playgrounds, to a mark of national pride.

Since the 1970s, there has been a literary revival of Creole in the French-speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles, with writers such as Raphaël Confiant and Monchoachi employing the language. Édouard Glissant has written theoretically and poetically about its significance and its history.

Antillean Creole is spoken natively, to varying degrees, in Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Îles des Saintes, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy (St. Barts), Saint Lucia, French Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela (mainly in Macuro, Güiria and El Callao Municipality). Dominican, Grenadian, St. Lucian, Trinidadian, Brazilian (Lanc-Patuá) and Venezuelan speakers of Antillean Creole call the language patois. It is also spoken in various Creole-speaking immigrant communities in the United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the island of Saint Martin.

Antillean Creole has approximately 1 million speakers and is a means of communication for migrant populations traveling between neighbouring English- and French-speaking territories.

Australian Kriol

Kriol is an English-based creole language that developed from a pidgin used initially in the region of Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia in the early days of European colonisation. Later, it moved west and north. The pidgin died out in most parts of the country, except in the Northern Territory, where the contact between European settlers, Chinese and other Asians and the Indigenous Australians in the northern regions has maintained a vibrant use of the language, spoken by about 30,000 people. Despite its similarities to English in vocabulary, it has a distinct syntactic structure and grammar and is a language in its own right.

Cafundó language

Cafundó (Portuguese pronunciation: [kafũˈdɔ]), or Cupópia ([kuˈpɔpjɐ]), is an argot ("secret language") spoken in the Brazilian village of Cafundó, São Paulo, now a suburb of Salto de Pirapora. The language is structurally similar to Portuguese, with a large number of Bantu words in its lexicon.

Cafundó was at first thought to be an African language, but a later study (1996) by Carlos Vogt and Peter Fry showed that its grammatical and morphological structure are those of Brazilian Portuguese, specifically the rural hinterland Southeastern variety, caipira. Whereas its lexicon is heavily drawn from some Bantu language(s). It is therefore not a creole language, as it is sometimes considered. In contrast to Vogt and Fry (1996), Álvarez López and Jon-And (2017) suggests that when speakers code-switch from Cafundó Portuguese to Cupópia, they produce something different from a contemporary regional variety of Portuguese with a number of African-derived words. Rather, the passages in which Cupópia is used comprise specific grammatical features, suggesting that the variety has its own grammar.

Cape Verdean Creole

Cape Verdean Creole is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken on the islands of Cape Verde. It is also called kriolu or kriol by its native speakers. It is the native creole language of virtually all Cape Verdeans and is used as a second creole language by the Cape Verdean diaspora.

The creole has particular importance for creolistics studies since it is the oldest (still-spoken) creole. It is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based creole language.

English-based creole language

An English-based creole language (often shortened to English creole) is a creole language derived from the English language, for which English is the lexifier. Most English creoles were formed in British colonies, following the great expansion of British naval military power and trade in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The main categories of English-based creoles are Atlantic (the Americas and Africa) and Pacific (Asia and Oceania).

French-based creole languages

A French creole, or French-based creole language, is a creole language (contact language with native speakers) for which French is the lexifier. Most often this lexifier is not modern French but rather a 17th-century koiné of French from Paris, the French Atlantic harbors, and the nascent French colonies. French-based creole languages are spoken natively by millions of people worldwide, primarily in the Americas and on archipelagos throughout the Indian Ocean. This article also contains information on French pidgin languages, contact languages that lack native speakers.

These contact languages are not to be confused with contemporary (non-creole) French language varieties spoken overseas in, for example, Canada (mostly in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces), the Canadian Prairie provinces, Louisiana, northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont). Haitian Creole is the most widely-spoken creole influenced by French.

Gullah language

Gullah, also called Sea Island Creole English and Geechee, is a creole language spoken by the Gullah people (also called "Geechees" within the community), an African-American population living in coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia (including urban Charleston and Savannah), as well as northeasternmost Florida. Closely related varieties are spoken in the Bahamas, namely Bahamian Creole.The Gullah language is based on different varieties of English and languages of West and Central Africa.

Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole (; Haitian Creole: kreyòl ayisyen, Haitian Creole pronunciation: [kɣejɔl]; French: créole haïtien) is a French-based creole language spoken by 10–12 million people worldwide, and the only language of most Haitians. It is a creole language based largely on 18th-century French with influences from Portuguese, Spanish, English, Taíno, and West African languages. Haitian Creole emerged from contact between French settlers and African slaves during the Atlantic slave trade in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Haitians are the largest creole-speaking community in the world.The usage of and education in Haitian Creole—which is not mutually intelligible with French—has been contentious since at least the 19th century: where some Haitians saw French as a legacy of colonialism, Creole was maligned by francophone elites as a miseducated or poor person’s French. Until the late 20th century, Haitian presidents spoke only French to their fellow citizens, and until the 2000s, all instruction at Haitian elementary schools was in French, a second language to most of the students.

Hawaiian Pidgin

Hawaiian Pidgin English (alternately Hawaiian Creole English or HCE, known locally as Pidgin) is an English-based creole language spoken in Hawaiʻi (L1: 600,000; L2: 400,000). Although English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the state of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Pidgin is spoken by many Hawaiʻi residents in everyday conversation and is often used in advertising targeted toward locals in Hawaiʻi. In the Hawaiian language, Hawaiian Creole English is called "ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai", which literally means "pounding-taro language".Despite its name, Hawaiian Pidgin is not a pidgin, but rather a full-fledged, nativized, and demographically stable creole language. It did, however, evolve from various real pidgins spoken as common languages between ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi.

Although it is not completely mutually intelligible with Standard American English, Hawaiian Pidgin retains the highest degree of mutual intelligibility with it when compared with other English-based creoles, such as Jamaican Patois, in part due to its relatively recent emergence.

Jamaican Patois

Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois (Patwa or Patwah) and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-based creole language with West African influences (a majority of loan words of Akan origin) spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora; it is spoken by the majority of Jamaicans as a native language. Patois developed in the 17th century, when slaves from West and Central Africa were exposed to, learned and nativized the vernacular and dialectal forms of English spoken by the slaveholders: British English, Scots and Hiberno-English. Jamaican Creole exhibits a gradation between more conservative creole forms that are not significantly mutually intelligible with English, and forms virtually identical to Standard English.Jamaicans refer to their language as patois. The term patois comes from Old French, patois "local or regional dialect" (earlier "rough, clumsy, or uncultivated speech"), possibly from the verb patoier, "to treat roughly", from patte "paw", from Old Low Franconian *patta "paw, sole of the foot" + -ois, a pejorative suffix. The term may have arisen from the notion of a clumsy or rough manner of speaking. Linguists refer to the language as a creole. Creoles are often stigmatized as the "lesser" language even though the majority of the population speaks Jamaican Creole as their mother tongue.Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary are significantly different from English, despite heavy use of English words or derivatives, but their writing system shows commonalities with the English alphabet.Significant Jamaican Patois-speaking communities exist among Jamaican expatriates in Miami, New York City, Toronto, Hartford, Washington, D.C., Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama (in the Caribbean coast), also London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Nottingham. A mutually intelligible variety is found in San Andrés y Providencia Islands, Colombia, brought to the island by descendants of Jamaican Maroons (escaped slaves) in the 18th century. Mesolectal forms are similar to very basilectal Belizean Kriol.

Jamaican Patois exists mostly as a spoken language and is also heavily used for musical purposes, especially in reggae and dancehall as well as other genres. Although standard British English is used for most writing in Jamaica, Jamaican Patois has been gaining ground as a literary language for almost a hundred years. Claude McKay published his book of Jamaican poems Songs of Jamaica in 1912. Patois and English are frequently used for stylistic contrast (codeswitching) in new forms of internet writing.

Javindo language

Javindo, also known by the pejorative name Krontjong, was a Dutch-based creole language spoken on Java, Indonesia. The name Javindo is a portmanteau of Java and Indo, the Dutch word for a person of mixed Indonesian and Dutch descent. This contact language developed from communication between Javanese-speaking mothers and Dutch-speaking fathers in Indo families. Its main speakers were Indo-Eurasian people. Its grammar was based on Javanese while the vocabulary was based on Dutch. Dutch lexicon was pronounced in a Javanese manner.Even though most words are derived from the Dutch language its grammar and sentence construction is mostly Javanese including elements such as: morphology; lack of verbs; no past tense; no finite verb.It should not be confused with Petjo, a different Dutch- and Malay-based creole also spoken by Indo-Eurasians. With the loss of the generation that lived in the Dutch East Indies era, this language has almost died out.

Kristang language

Papia Kristang ("speak kristang"), or just Kristang, is a creole language. It is spoken by the Kristang, a community of people of mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry, chiefly in Malacca (Malaysia).

The language is also called Cristão or Cristan ("Christian"), Portugues di Melaka ("Malacca Portuguese"), Linggu Mai ("Mother Tongue") or simply Papia. Papia means speak. However, locals and most of the Kristang community refer to the language as "Portugis".

Louisiana Creole

Louisiana Creole (kréyol la lwizyàn; French: créole louisianais), also called Louisiana French Creole, is a French-based creole language spoken by far fewer than 10,000 people, mostly in the state of Louisiana. Due to the rapidly shrinking number of speakers, Louisiana Creole is considered an endangered language.

Mauritian Creole

Mauritian Creole or Morisien or formerly Morisyen[1] (Mauritian Creole: kreol morisien, pronounced [kʁeol moʁisjɛ̃, -moʁiʃɛ̃]) is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also a number of words from English and from the many African and South Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.

Mauritian Creole is the lingua franca and de facto language of Mauritius, formerly a British colony, which has kept both English and French as its core languages, even though English is used mostly for administration and educational purposes and French for media and as a second language for speaking.

Mauritians tend to speak Mauritian Creole at home and French in the workplace. French and English are spoken in schools. Though many Mauritians are of Indian descent, they primarily speak Creole. It is their ancestral language in the sense that their ancestors, along with those of African, European and Chinese descent, helped create the creole language together centuries ago, when Mauritius was the meeting place of peoples from different continents who together founded a nation with its own culture and history. Today, around 1.3 million people speak the language.

Petjo language

Petjo, also known as Petjoh, Petjok, Pecok, is a Dutch-based creole language that originated among the Indos, people of mixed Dutch and Indonesian ancestry in the former Dutch East Indies. The language has influences from Dutch, Javanese and Betawi. Its speakers presently live mostly in Indonesia and the Netherlands. The language is expected to become gradually extinct by the end of the 21st century, due to Indos' shift toward Indonesian in Indonesia and Dutch in the Netherlands.

Portugis language

Portugis, or Ternateño, was a Portuguese-based creole language spoken by Christians of mixed Portuguese and Malay ancestry in the islands of Ambon and Ternate in the Moluccas (Indonesia), from the 16th to the middle of the 20th century.

Portugis was a creole based chiefly on Portuguese and Malay.

The language was gradually replaced by a creolised Malay called Ambonese Malay.

Portuguese-based creole languages

Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as their substantial lexifier. The most widely-spoken creole influenced by Portuguese is Cape Verdean Creole.

Réunion Creole

Réunion Creole, or Reunionese Creole (kréol rénioné; French: créole réunionnais), is a French-based creole language spoken on Réunion. It is derived mainly from French and includes terms from Malagasy, Hindi, Portuguese, Gujarati and Tamil. In recent years, there has been an effort to develop a spelling dictionary and grammar rules. Partly because of the lack of an official orthography but also because schools are taught in French, Réunion Creole is rarely written. Notably, two translations of the French comic Asterix have been published.Réunion Creole is the main vernacular of the island and is used in most colloquial and familiar settings. It is, however, in a state of diglossia with French as the high language – Réunion Creole is used in informal settings and conversations, while French is the language of writing, education, administration and more formal conversations.

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