Creole Languages

Donald Winford

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381979
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Creole Languages

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



Bickerton (1974, 1981, 1984) claimed that the “prototypical” creole tense-mood-aspect system was made up of two components: an inventory of three categories (anterior tense, irrealis mood, and non-punctual aspect) and an invariant ordering of tense, mood, and aspect. This article explores the tense-aspect systems of selected groups of creoles whose lexifier languages were European languages such as English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. It discusses the similarities and differences among them, and explains these in terms of the linguistic inputs as well as the processes of internally and externally motivated change that operated in the course of formation and later development of the creole languages. The article approaches this task from the viewpoint of grammaticalization processes, which are associated with situations of natural or untutored second-language acquisition. Finally, it considers the emergence of tense-aspect systems in two creoles with very different inputs and histories: Haitian Creole and Sranan Tongo.

Keywords: tense; mood; aspect; creole languages; grammaticalization; second-language acquisition; Haitian Creole; Sranan Tongo

Article.  13103 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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