French-Based Pidgins and Creoles

FRIT-F679 — Fall 2020

Kevin Rottet
GA 1122
Days and Times
11:30A - 12:45P, MW
Course Description

Course meets with LING-L636

Few areas of linguistics are as fraught with controversy as the study of the contact languages known as pidgins and creoles. Scholarly debates concern how these languages arose and in what historical settings, with competing perspectives on the roles played by the colonial language(s), the substrate languages, and language universals in adult SLA. We will observe many linguistic structures commonly associated with creole languages such as preverbal tense-mood-aspect (TMA) markers, aspect prominence, serial verbs, bimorphemic interrogatives, predicate clefting and ideophones, exploring together why precisely these features should be common and where they might come from. In addition to the role of language contact in pidgin and creole genesis, interesting issues emerge regarding contemporary contacts, especially with the original colonial language, leading to perspectives on so-called decreolization. We will also confront head-on the question of whether a creole language can be identified as such synchronically, merely by viewing its structure, or whether the category only exists from a socio-historical perspective. The course meets in conjunction with L636. Students enrolled in F679 will focus particularly on French-based pidgins and creoles, though data will also be drawn from English- and Portuguese based varieties, among others. 

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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