French-Based Pidgins and Creoles

FRIT-F 679 — Spring 2023

Kevin Rottet
GY 1032
Days and Times
TR 1:15P-2:30P
Course Description

Few areas of linguistics are as fraught with controversy as the study of the languages known as pidgins and creoles. Scholarly debates concern by what mechanisms these languages arose and in what types of sociohistorical setting, with competing perspectives on the roles played by the colonial language(s), the substrate languages, and language universals. We will examine a variety of 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 how to account for them. 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 vexing question of whether a creole language can be identified as such synchronically, merely by viewing its structure (is there a “Creole Prototype”?), 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.

FRIT-F 679      #31164     1:15P-2:30P            TR       GY 1032         Rottet K

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