Chapter

The Development of Creole Categories

D. Gary Miller

in Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume II

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583430.003.0011
The Development of Creole Categories

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Creoles emerge via relexification of one or more substrate languages, with grammatical categories from substrates, superstrates, and internal changes. Creoles exhibit a striking typological similarity and attest only a subset of possible parametric variation. No creole has ergative syntax, referential null pronouns, person‐number agreement, V‐to‐T movement, syntactic clitics, or V2. Considering the long history of some, constant exposure to the superstrates, and the fact that ordinary internal changes and grammaticalizations are well attested, the number of creole features that persist is remarkable. The highly complex tense‐mood‐aspect systems develop from the same core elements albeit from different source languages: future go/va; past bin/te; perfect don /fin(i)/kaba; etc. The innovation of functional categories, complementizers, and voice structures reflects universal clausal architecture. Since some structures, like passive, antedate the borrowing of an exponent, relabeling of substrate categories is not all that is needed to account for the development of creoles.

Keywords: relexification; creoles; tense‐mood‐aspect systems; universal clausal architecture; substrate language; superstrate language

Chapter.  11159 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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