Issues in the Study of Pidgin and Creole Languages

Issues in the Study of Pidgin and Creole Languages

by Claire Lefebvre



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Issues in the Study of Pidgin and Creole Languages by Claire Lefebvre

The content of this book is concerned with various issues at stake in Creole studies that are also of interest for general linguistics. These include the general issue of Creole genesis and of the accelerated linguistic change that characterizes the emergence of these languages as compared to ordinary cases of linguistic change, the problem of the development of morphology in incipient Creoles, the problem of the validity of data in linguistic analysis, the issue of multifunctionality as regards the concept of lexical entry, the question of whether Creole languages are semantically more transparent than languages not known as Creoles, the issue of whether Creole languages constitute a typologically identifiable class and the problem of the interaction between the processes involved in the emergence and development of Creole languages. The purpose of this book is to present the major debates that are currently taking place in the field of Creole studies; evaluate the arguments against data (mainly drawn from Haitian Creole); and address the issues at stake within the framework of new paradigms. The various positions on each issue are summarized on the basis of a thorough review of the literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588115164
Publisher: Benjamins, John Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/01/2004
Series: Studies in Language Companion Series
Pages: 374

Table of Contents

List of tablesxi
List of abbreviationsxv
Chapter 1Introduction1
1.1The perspective of this book1
1.2Content of chapters2
1.3The use of the words pidgins and creoles5
Chapter 2The genesis of pidgin and creole languages: A State of the Art7
2.1The complex problem of pidgin and creole genesis8
2.2Competing theories of pidgin and creole genesis whose object of study consists of language varieties12
2.2.1The theory of pidgins and creoles as reduced codes12
2.2.2The theory of creoles as 'nativised pidgins'14
2.2.3The theory of PCs as crystallised varieties of 'imperfect' second language acquisition16
2.2.4The theory of PCs as restructured varieties17 as restructured substratum varieties17 as restructured superstratum varieties17 as restructured varieties of both of their source languages18
2.2.5The theory that creoles reflect the properties of Universal Grammar19
2.3Shifting the object of study from language varieties to processes involved in language creation and change23
2.3.2Reanalysis and related phenomena26
2.3.3Dialect levelling27
2.4A unified theory of pidgin and creole genesis28
2.4.1Hypothesis and methodology of the UQAM projects29
2.4.2The interplay of the processes embedded within a scenario of creole genesis31
2.4.3An optimal account of creole genesis33
Chapter 3The relexification account of creole genesis. The case of Haitian Creole37
3.1The relexification hypothesis of creole genesis38
3.1.1The process of relexification38
3.1.2The hypothesis42
3.1.3The interplay of relexification, reanalysis and dialect levelling in creole genesis and development43
3.1.4Word order46
3.1.5An optimal account of creole genesis46
3.2The test of the hypothesis48
3.2.1The historical research48
3.2.2The linguistic test48
3.3The lexicon49
3.3.1Lexical semantics49 and compound nouns50 pronouns52 adjectives and pronouns54 pronouns56
3.3.2The syntactic properties of verbs69 of argument structures69 verbs71 verbs72 verbs74 licensing expletive subjects74 verbs75 verbs77 verbs77 verbs80 object verbs81 case-assigning properties of verbs83 verbs83
3.3.3Derivational affixes84
3.3.4Functional category lexical entries involved in nominal structure88 definite determiner89 plural marker90 indefinite determiner92 deictic terms92 markers within the noun phrase94
3.3.5Functional category lexical entries involved in clause structure95 tense, mood and aspect markers95 and complementiser-like forms98 or resumptives in the context of extracted subjects?102 nominal operator in relative and factive clauses102 conjunction104 cleft marker105 markers106 expressing the speaker's point of view108 determiner in the clause108
3.4.1The null subject parameter110
3.4.2Verb raising111
3.4.3Serial verbs112
3.4.4The double-object construction113
3.4.5The interpretation of negative quantifiers114
3.4.6Verb-doubling phenomena116
3.5Conclusion and consequences120
Chapter 4What do creole studies have to offer to mainstream linguistics?125
4.1In what sense do creole studies constitute a field?125
4.2What do creole studies have to offer to linguistics?127
4.3What progress has been made between 1994 and 1999?130
4.4What drawbacks have been overcome?133
4.4.1The Tower of Babel133
4.4.2Isolating Atlantic creoles from Pacific creoles134
4.4.3Isolating the study of pidgin and creole languages from that of mixed languages135
4.4.4Setting issues outside the research paradigms of subdisciplines of linguistics135
4.5What have creole studies contributed so far and what lies ahead?136
Chapter 5On data139
5.1The non-neutral character of linguistic data140
5.2How to overcome the limits of particular types of databases143
5.3The problem of "inconsistencies" in elicited data148
5.3.1The problem of inconsistencies between speakers148
5.3.2The problem of inconsistencies within a given speaker152
5.4Native speakers as informants153
5.5Can data on a given language ever be complete?154
Chapter 6Multifunctionality and the concept of lexical entry155
6.1Establishing the various functions of multifunctional lexical items157
6.2The range of multifunctional lexical items across syntactic categories161
6.3Multifunctionality, the monosemy principle and semantic underspecification165
6.4Categorial underspecification168
6.4.1Theoretical assumptions168
6.4.2The underspecification of major category lexical items168
6.4.3The underspecification of functional category lexical items171
6.5An underspecification account of Fongbe do 'to say': verb and complementiser173
6.6On the relationship between multifunctionality and grammaticalisation175
6.7Grammaticalisation and multifunctionality are not synonyms176
6.8Apparent cases of grammaticalisation in creole languages178
6.9The transfer of substratum multifunctional lexical items into a creole180
Chapter 7On the semantic opacity of creole languages181
7.1.1Lexical semantics183
7.1.2Idiomatic expressions184
7.1.3Paradigms of functional categories185
7.1.4Phonologically null forms185
7.1.5Multifunctionality or cases of categorial neutralisation186
7.2.1Suffixes that refer to a place of origin188
7.2.2The prefix ti-188
7.2.3The prefix de-190
7.3Syntax: basic word order and movement rules196
7.4Interpretive facts198
7.4.1The interpretation of tense, mood and aspect199
7.4.2The interpretation of clauses involving argument alternations200
7.4.3Verb doubling phenomena201
7.4.4The interpretation of cleft constructions202
7.5Language specific versus language universal phenomena203
7.6Global evaluation of the Semantic Transparency Hypothesis204
Chapter 8Do creole languages really form a typological class?207
8.1What is similar among creole languages?207
8.2Why do creole languages tend to be isolating?217
8.3Why do creole languages look simple?220
8.4Apparent simplicity and hidden complexity223
8.5McWhorter's list revisited225
Chapter 9The interplay of relexification and levelling in creole genesis and development231
9.1Relexification and levelling233
9.2The linguistic situation in Haiti at the time Haitian Creole was formed238
9.3Third person plural pronouns and plural markers241
9.5Demonstrative terms250
9.5.1The Haitian lexicon that has both sa and sila250
9.5.2The Haitian lexicon that has sa but not sila255
Chapter 10The emergence of productive morphology in creole languages: The case of Haitian Creole259
10.1Identifying affixes that are potentially native to a creole language260
10.2Evaluating the productivity of the affixes identified as potentially native to HC262
10.2.1The agentive suffix -e263
10.2.2The attributive suffix -e263
10.2.3The verbalising suffix -e264
10.2.4Inversive and privative de-264
10.2.5The diminutive prefix ti-266
10.2.6The nominalising suffix -ay268
10.2.7Morphological conversion268
10.2.8The adverbial suffix -man270
10.2.9The place of origin/residence suffixes -wa and -yen271
10.2.10The ordinal suffix -yem271
10.3Evaluating other proposals in the literature273
10.3.1The hypothesised inversive prefix en-273
10.3.2The hypothesised suffix -et275
10.3.3The hypothesised nominalising suffix -man279
10.3.4The hypothesised agentive suffix -ado286
10.4The emergence of the morphological inventory of HC292
10.4.1The inventory of the productive derivational affixes of HC as compared with those of its contributing languages293
10.4.2The relexification account of the emergence of the HC morphological inventory300
10.5Conclusion: Issues on the morphology of creole languages in light of the HC data303
Appendix IA research programme on PC genesis for the 21st century341
Appendix IIThe composition of the Haitian lexicon345
Index of authors349
Index of subjects355

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