Dany Adone (Heinrich-Heine-Universität)                                                                 2C, Thursday 2.30

Conceptual categories in a French-based creole


The lexicon is defined as the store of idiosyncratic information in long-term memory from which the mental grammar constructs phrases and sentences. A lexical item is regarded as a combination of long-term memory of phonological, syntactic and semantic and concep­tual features. A close look at verbs in a language shows us the possible ways humans and other entities are described to interact with each other. In this paper I will analyze certain verb combinations in Morisyen and their relevance to the discussion of universality of semantic patterns (especially argument structure).

Talmy (1985) argues that languages have preferences in the way they combine units of meaning, such as movement, manner, direction. Conflation describes a situation in which “a set of meaning components, bearing particular relation to each other, is in association with a morpheme, making up the whole of the morpheme's meaning.” There is a basic set of ‘conceptual or ontological categories’ such as THING, EVENT, STATE, PATH and a set of combinatorial rules that conflate them into more complex concepts. The functions GO; THING; PATH may be conflated into EVENT as in: EVENT à [Event GO (THING, PATH)] where the event comprises GO, a function which relates a THING moving along a PATH.

Semantic structure and its effect on syntax can be illustrated with examples of the meaning component GO conflated with MANNER as is the case with ‘dance’ in English. This is not the case in Morisyen:


(1)      a.     Maria danced into the living room.

b.     Maria est entrée dans le salon en dansant.

c.     Maria ti danse rant dan salon.

       ‘Maria danced came into the living room.’          


In (1a) the English example illustrates that Maria moves into the room in a dancing fashion. In French, the same action requires en dansant ‘in dancing’. In Moriysen a resultative construction (danse-rantre) is required. Further the sentences below show that both French and Morisyen cannot conflate MANNER with the meaning component GO because they do not have any directional interpretation:


(2)      a.     Maria a dancé dans le salon.     

       ‘Maria danced inside the living room.’   

b.     Maria ti dans dan salon.

       ‘Maria danced inside the living room’    


Similarly verbs such as sorti, vini in Morisyen behave differently from the lexifier French sortir, venir. The meaning GO cannot be conflated with PATH in Morisyen:


(3)      a.     Sean est sorti de la chambre.

                 ‘Sean went out of the room.’    

         b.     Sean ti sorti dan pies la in ale.

                 ‘Sean came out of the room went away.’


Sortir which means ‘exit’ in French already contains the meaning ‘out’. As a result, sortir is expressed with a neutral preposition. Morisyen uses dan ‘in’ which has a locative character. Without dan the sentence is ungrammatical.

This means that the meaning component GO cannot be conflated in sorti and consequently has to be expressed separately as ale. I argue that Morisyen and possibly some other Creoles, do not conflate MANNER and PATH with the meaning component GO and thus contrasts with both English and French.



Dany Adone (Heinrich-Heine-Universität)                                                                  7C, Saturday 4.00

Reduplication in creole and sign languages


A close look at both Creole languages and Sign languages (emergent or established ones) reveals some striking similarities between these two groups of languages. With respect to sign languages I will focus on American Sign Language (ASL) (Newkirk 1999), British Sign Language (BSL) (Sutton-Spence and Woll 1999), as well as German Sign Language (DGS) (Boyes-Braem 1990, Perniss 2000 ms.) as established sign languages. Under emerging sign language I understand the case of Nicaragua Sign Language (NSL) (cf. Senghas 1995, Senghas et al. 1997, Kegl 2002 among others.) One of them is the phenomenon of reduplication.

In this paper reduplication is understood as a morphological process of word repetition (repetition of parts of words) to form new words with different meanings. The process is seen as productive and applies to many members of a word class and can even lead to alteration of word class.

First, I discuss the theoretical importance of different types of reduplication such as full and partial reduplication. I also analyze what part of the base (final reduplication, medial reduplication) is reduplicated. Second, I discuss the various patterns of reduplication in both Creole and Sign languages and the issue of iconicity related to partial reduplication (cf. . According to Bakker and Parkvall (conference paper 2002) it seems that English-based Creoles have more reduplication than the French-based Creoles. Third, I focus on the function of reduplication in both language groups. I find reduplication with verbs, nouns and adjectives. Reduplication of verbs has the function of aspectual marking (continued or repeated). Nominal reduplication is used for plurality, collectivity and distribution. Reduplicated adjectives are used for intensity (very X) or decrease (less X). Reduplicated numerals are also witnessed in some creole and sign languages.

Finally I argue that the similarities found with respect to forms and functions of reduplication in these two language groups can be explained by the fact that these two language groups are younger languages. From the point of view of language contact, I conclude that both universal and substrate features play a role here in Creole languages. This comparative study can be seen as a first attempt to shed light on the role of reduplication in language genesis, and contact.



Jacques Arends (University of Amsterdam)                                                                 4C, Friday 10.30

On the use of ‘language analysis’ in asylum applications made by West Africans in the Netherlands


In deciding on applications for asylum, the Dutch Immigration Department bases itself, among other things, on so-called ‘language analyses’. Contrary to what one would expect, these ‘analyses’ are performed by lay persons – (native) speakers of the language(s) concerned - not by professional linguists. While this practice in itself is open to critique, it is all the more problematic in the case of asylum seekers originating from West Africa, especially those areas where language varieties are spoken that are related to English, such as Krio and Liberian English. In a number of cases, the language spoken by asylum seekers claiming to originate from Sierra Leone or Liberia (both of which are/were regarded as unsafe countries by the Immigration Department), has been determined by the ‘analyst’ as being ‘not Krio’ or ‘not Liberian English’, usually supplemented by the remark that what is spoken is probably Nigerian or Ghanaian Pidgin English. Since Nigerians and Ghanaians are not entitled to asylum in the Netherlands, these applications are subsequently denied. As a rule, the quality of the ‘analyses’ is outright abominable, usually adducing only a handful of language features allegedly supporting the linguistic identification by the ‘analyst’. While the similarities between Krio and Nigerian Pidgin English are well-known, the two languages are by no means identical. Since many of the differences are of a very subtle nature, it is of utmost importance that the analyses are performed by linguists who are specialized in the languages concerned.



Marlyse Baptista (University of Georgia)                                                                  2C, Thursday 2.00

The Cape Verdean NP in the Sotavento varieties


The study of the full noun phrase in the Sotavento (leeward) varieties of Cape Verdean Creole (CVC) involves the semantics of indefinite and definite determiners, the interpretive variability of null determiners, pluralization strategies, and gender marking.

Most of the speech data in this paper is drawn from the corpus compiled in the course of three fieldtrips conducted in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

On the issue of interpretive variability of null determiners, the findings in this study will be shown to contrast significantly with earlier observations made by scholars such as Meintel (1975) and Lucchesi (1993).

There are two types of overt determiners in CVC (marking number but not gender as a rule): the indefinite article un (sg.) and its plural counterpart uns (plur.) which behaves more like a quantifier than a genuine determiner. Un is used to indicate that the referent is nonspecific, hence, is new in the discourse and in the shared consciousness of the speaker and hearer. Un may also refer to a specific entity, one already known by the speaker or both the speaker and hearer. Hence, it is important to emphasize that an NP introduced by un may be [indefinite, nonspecific/nonreferential], or [indefinite, specific/referential]. This state of affairs contradicts previous generalizations by Lucchesi (1993: 92-93) regarding the semantics of un/uns in CVC. Indeed, Lucchesi’s study supports Givón (1981: 52) who claims that in creoles, the indefinite article is only a marker for referential-indefinite nouns. Givón states that creoles “represent the first, earliest stage in that development of ‘one’ as an indefinite marker, where it is used only (my emphasis) to mark referential-indefinite nouns” (Givón, 1981: 36, Lucchesi, 1993: 86). Both Lucchesi and Givón granted to un/uns the exclusive function of marking an NP as referential (specific) indefinite. These claims are contradicted by corpus data in which nonreferential NPs are preceded by un.

In the realm of definiteness, kel (sg.)/kes (plur.) occasionally assumes the role of a definite determiner in the language, although its primary function is that of a demonstrative. Almada (1961) denies the existence of a definite article in CVC but acknowledges the possible use of the demonstrative kel/kes as a definite. Our seemingly diverging views are in fact reconcilable, as it will be shown that kel/kes actually has a double function in the language, primarily acting as a demonstrative but occasionally assuming the role of a definite article. On this issue, CVC determiners have followed an evolutionary path common to determiners in a number of world languages. Indeed, as stated in Janson (1984: 305), the numeral one has been adopted as the indefinite article.

The last sections of this paper will be dedicated to plur alization strategies and gender marking showing that the animacy hierarchy is the chief factor predicting whether or not a head noun will be marked with a plural or gender inflection.



John Baugh (Stanford University)                                                                           2A, Thursday 3.00

Pidgin and creole educational policies in the wake of the Ebonics controversy


This paper evaluates a combination of federal and state laws and corresponding educational policies for students who are speakers of pidgin and Creole languages throughout the United States, including Hawaii. Linguists such as Lippi-Green (1997) and Sato (1989) have raised important educational considerations regarding students who are not native speakers of mainstream varieties of English, and their work informs the present evaluation of recent and on-going changes in federal and state laws that seek to modify or mandate programs for students who are not readily classified as English language learners (see Cummins 1980, Hakuta 1986, Valdés, 2000).

The educational controversy that began in Oakland, California in 1996 with a resolution declaring Ebonics to be the native language of African American students within that school district exposed additional legal gaps in educational language policies. Studies by Perry and Delpit (1997), Rickford and Rickford (2000), Adger et. al (2000) Baugh (2000) and Smitherman (2000) call specific attention to the educational plight of African American students. In so doing their efforts raise important educational questions that are directly or indirectly relevant to students who speak pidgin and Creole languages, especially for those varieties that were formulated in contact with English. Former secretary of Education, Richard Riley, concluded that Oakland’s educators were seeking bilingual education funding, and he denied access to such funding. The legality of his assertions is called into question here.

After a brief survey of legal issues regarding Title I (for students in poverty), Title VII (for English Language Learners) and the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA, for deaf students or others with pathological linguistic handicaps), we survey LeMoine’s innovative efforts in the Los Angeles Unified School District, beginning with the “Language Development Program for African American students,” and its evolution into the “Academic English Mastery Program.” Briefly, the latter effort, which is intended to serve students from diverse linguistic backgrounds, grows directly from bilingual education policies developed by Krashen (1984) and Cummins (1980), albeit with modifications that are intended to meet the literacy needs of traditional English language learners as well as students who are native speakers of African American vernacular English (i.e., AAVE, or Ebonics).

LeMoine’s efforts, supported by a combination of federal, state, and local funds, provide a basis upon which to consider expansion to other communities that serve pidgin and Creole students (e.g., such as students who speak Haitian Creole). However promising, we conclude with caution based of the efforts of Ron Unz, who has sponsored voter initiatives under the banner of “English for the Children.” His efforts have severely constrained bilingual education, and could easily restrict programs like those developed by LeMoine in Los Angeles.

The paper concludes with precise suggestions that can circumvent Unz’s efforts, and are tailored to comply with federal laws in pursuit of developing comprehensive educational language policies that are based upon the home language(s) of individual students; that is, regardless of their linguistic heritage.



Arthur J. Bell (Cornell University)                                                                         5B, Saturday 11.00

Bipartite negation, creoles, and UG


Bickerton (1981:51) includes negation as one of the “key areas of grammar” that “any creole theory must somehow account for.” However, in more recent work, even those scholars who argue creoles to be structurally distinct from languages “genetically related” to a single ancestor (cf. McWhorter 1998) do not include negation among the “cluster of traits” defining creole syntax. Nonetheless, some creoles share an interesting negation strategy. Consider the following examples from Afrikaans and Palenquero:


 (1)       Sy  sluit   nie    die  deur  nie.                                          Afrikaans

            she locks NEG  the  door NEG

            ‘She doesn’t lock the door.’           (Oosthuizen 1998)


 (2)       No     aguanté el   calor  de allá    no.                                 Palenquero

            NEG   stand    the  heat  of  here  NEG

            ‘I can’t stand the heat here.’  (Schwegler 1991)


Intriguingly, certain contact dialects of Spanish and Portuguese use a similar strategy:


 (3)       Yo no          nada    que   se       llama  así   no.               Dominican Spanish

             I NEG know nothing that  REFL   call  this  NEG

            ‘I don’t know anything with that name.’ (Lipski 2001; my gloss)


(4)        Não   falo            italiano  não.                                        Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese

            NEG  speak-1SG Italian   NEG                                           

            ‘I don’t speak Italian.’  (Schwegler 1985-7)


The negation strategy seen in (1-4) is also found in some African languages, including Fon (DeGraff 1993), Hausa (Newman 2000), KiKongo (Lipski 2001), Nweh (Nkemnji 1995), and Lubukusu (Wasike 2002). 

In this paper I discuss the syntactic properties of the negation strategy in (1-4), and I provide a synchronic syntactic analysis. I then turn to a discussion of the development of bipartite negation in the above languages.  I explore several possibilities, including: (a) substrate transfer (DenBesten 1988, Lipski 2001); (b) internal development (via an ‘accelerated Jespersen cycle’); (c) grammaticisation of a negative tag (Roberge 2000); and (d) satisfying a semantic/pragmatic requirement (Valkhoff 1966). Given these various possible triggers for syntactic change, it may be the case that each language in (1-4) developed bipartite negation via somewhat different means, yielding a many-to-one mapping from diachronic change to synchronic syntax.   



Derek Bickerton (Professor Emeritus, University of Hawai‘i)                                    Plenary, Sunday 9.00

Refuting the bioprogram is easy...


Many attempts have been made to refute the bioprogram hypothesis.  For instance, claims that creoles developed gradually over several generations (Carden and Stewart 1989, Arends 1988) were shown to be groundless based on the authors' own data (Bickerton 1991).  Claims by Lefebvre and Lumsden (1989 ) and others that there were insufficient children in creole colonies to start a creole were shown to be false in Bickerton (1990a) on the basis of contemporary census records.  Claims that the serial verb constructions in Seselwa described in Bickerton (1988) were not real serials, made by Seuren (1990) and Corne et al. (1996), were in turn refuted in Bickerton (1990b, 1996).  What would count as a refutation? If it could be shown, for instance, that there was no pidgin stage in creole development, as claimed recently by Mufwene (2001).  That in at least some cases, early settlers produced contact languages structurally close to their main lexifiers is not disputed: the issue is whether such languages could survive the phase of rapid population expansion that capitalist economies made almost inevitable. Evidence from Hawaii (Roberts 1995, 1998, 1999), from the structural characteristics of creoles (McWhorter 2001) and from statistical modeling of interaction under different demographic conditions all converge to indicate that pidginization was almost unavoidable in the expansion phase.



Cati Brown & Joe McFall (Univeristy of Georgia)                                                       4B, Friday 11.30

Computer modeling in pidgin and creole genesis research


In this paper, we examine computer modeling of complex systems and its application to research in the field of creole genesis. This paper identifies and isolates current unanswered questions that may be addressed with computational methods. Our hope is that this paper is a first step in opening communication between computational linguistics and pidgin and creole research.

We begin by reviewing relevant simulations currently being studied. Beginning with an overview of relevant computer simulations, we cohesively review modeling of language change, language evolution and complex systems as it pertains to pidgin and creole genesis. We focus on productive application of these simulations.

We then move to the identification of specific computer programs, resources and approaches that could aid endeavors to model creole genesis. We scrutinize the application of tools used in modeling complex systems such as genetic algorithms, and we review functioning programs such as Swarm.

Finally, we address considerations for future applications of computer modeling in pidgin and creole studies. Building on a wealth of current research, we identify parameters that would be relevant for modeled languages, e.g. prestige, dominance, number of contributing languages, etc. To conclude, we predict the manner in which these parameters could be computationally represented.



Chris Collins (Cornell University)                                                                          5B, Saturday 10.30

A fresh look at habitual Be in AAVE


In this talk, I will describe the use of an uninflected copular verb “be” in colloquial (non-AAVE) English that has many of the same syntactic properties as habitual be in AAVE. The relevant data are given below:


(1)        a.          If you are not careful, you will be caught

b.              If you don’t be careful, you will be caught


(2)        a.          If you are not seen, you will escape

b.              *If you don’t be seen, you will escape


In my (non-AAVE) idiolect, and the idiolects of many other people whom I have consulted (who do not control AAVE), there is a clear difference in acceptability between (1b) and (2b). The fact that (2b) is worse than (1b) seems to be related to the fact that one can be deliberately careful, but it is less likely that one is deliberately seen (especially in the context of an escape). Henceforth, I will call the form in (1b) agentive be.

The acceptability of (1b) is surprising in light of the fact that be, either as an auxiliary or a copular verb, does not usually permit do-support in colloquial (non-AAVE) English (*”I don’t be going”). The reason for the lack of do-support is that be normally raises to Infl, if Infl is not occupied by a modal auxiliary. Some other examples of agentive be are the following:


 (3)       a.          If you be nice to people, they’ll be nice back

b.              We be nice when we’re trying to impress the teacher

c.               Salamanders will ignore you if you be quiet and just watch


In this paper, I will give many naturally occurring examples (most of them will be from the internet) of agentive be. I will outline the main syntactic properties of agentive be, and show that it has many of the same syntactic characteristics as habitual be in AAVE (see Green 1998). In particular, in both cases, be fails to raise to finite Infl. Lastly, I will give a partially unified syntactic analysis of agentive be and habitual be. I claim that in colloquial (non-AAVE) English, be raises to an agentive light verb v (see Chomsky 1995, Collins 1997), blocking any further movement to Infl. In AAVE, be raises to a habitual Asp head, blocking any further movement.


Green, Lisa. 1998. Aspect and Predicate Phrases in African-American Vernacular English. In Mufwene et. al. (ed.), African American English. Routledge, London.



Chris Corcoran (University of Chicago)                                                                     4C, Friday 11.00

The role of linguistic expertise in asylum applications:

A case study of a Sierra Leonean asylum seeker in the Netherlands


Because of war in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, a number of European countries granted asylum status to Sierra Leonean refugees. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany in particular are places where linguistic expertise has been solicited in efforts to authenticate citizenship for refugees applying for asylum status without documentation. In a number of countries in Europe there has been a radical increase in the number of refugees seeking asylum in general and from African countries in particular. For example, in Belgium the number of asylum seekers was approximately 200 in 1981 but was as high as 24,000 per year in the 1990s (Blommaert 2003). The dramatic increase in case loads has meant a constantly evolving set of policies and relationship between government agencies and forensic linguistic work. Thus far only a handful of published articles has appeared on the topic: Blommaert 2001, 2003; Bobda et al 1999, Maryns 2000, Maryns and Blommaert 2002.

This paper examines one case in detail involving a Sierra Leonean claimant in the Netherlands who was denied asylum based on a series of four language reports resulting from two taped interviews conducted specifically for the purposes of language analysis. These reports were generated over a period of two years by Sierra Leoneans with a minimal amount of linguistic training working for the Dutch Immigration Department. I present a review of the arguments I made concluding in favor of the asylum seeker. I compare lists of tokens presented by the Dutch Immigration Department as evidence against the Sierra Leonean origins of the claimant and my own lists. I discuss my presentation of counter arguments and also my struggle to articulate the role variation in pronunciation plays and notions of accommodation within the contra-expertise genre being developed in the asylum-seeking-in-the-Netherlands context. I discuss the particular problems generated for this asylum seeker because of conflicting interests between the institutional framing adopted by the language analysts on the one hand-one that looks for encyclopedic lists of information in its quest to authenticate-and the conventions of cooperative conversation on the other.



Michel DeGraff (MIT)                                                                                            7B, Saturday 4.00

“Creolization” is acquisition


The goal of this essay is to establish some basic “Cartesian-Uniformitarian” guidelines for constructive connections between Creole studies and language-acquisition research---and linguistic theory at large. Here "Cartesian" has a mentalist sense as in (e.g.) Chomsky 1966, 1986, etc. I consider Creole genesis as the creation, in certain socio-historical contexts, of certain I-languages. "Uniformitarian" describes my fundamental Neogrammarian working assumption that no uniquely "Creole" psycho-linguistic process can be postulated in order to explain the creation of Creole idiolects: the latter are created by the same psycho-linguistic mechanisms that are responsible for the creation of (I-)languages everywhere else.

(Note: Throughout this paper, my own use of the term “creolization” is strictly as an a-theoretical abbreviation for the longer phrase “development of these languages that, for socio-historical reasons, have been labelled Creole”. In the perspective sketched here, creolization is just another instance of “language evolution”---in (e.g.) Mufwene's (2001) sense---the investigation of which is to shed light on Universal Grammar.)

In establishing Cartesian-Uniformitarian guidelines for Creole-genesis scenarios, I investigate the possible contributions of first-language acquisition (L1A) and second-language acquisition (L2A) to “creolization”. Creole-genesis theories that assign an exclusive role to either L1A (e.g., the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis) or L2A (e.g., the Relexification Hypothesis) are found to be inadequate conceptually, empirically and socio-historically. Focusing on Haitian Creole (HC) morphosyntactic data, I will constructively identify the empirical and theoretical limitations of both Bickerton's and Lefebvre's hypotheses and of the schools of thought they represent. In a nutshell, these scenarios are undermined by one seemingly-paradoxical basic property of HC---a socio-historically “prototypical Creole” if there ever was one---and other Caribbean Creoles. In the case of HC, this basic property can be summarized as follows: HC's lexicon, morphology and word-order are substantially, although far from exclusively, derived from the socio-historically relevant French varieties.

What seems compatible with the available linguistic and socio-historical details and with current results in linguistic-theoretical research, including language-acquisition research, is a scenario in which both adult learners and child learners in (e.g.) the colonial Caribbean contributed to the "creation" of Creole languages, each group in their own principled way.

In the Cartesian-Uniformitarian model to be sketched in this paper, the development of I-languages, be they called “Creole” or not, always involves the (re-)creation of idiolects (i.e., complex mental grammars with recursive combinatorial power) from relatively ``impoverished'' input. In all instances of acquisition, the learner's input is exposed to a necessarily finite set of utterances as produced by the heterogeneous set of lects in the language learner's environment. It must be stressed that language learners---both children and adults---invariably find themselves in various kinds of language-/dialect-/idiolect-contact situations. Any socio-historical and demographic differences among various cases of contact-induced language change/creation will have an effect, not on acquisition processes per se (these are generally the same everywhere), but on the PLD (e.g., on the proportion and the fluency of non-native utterances therein) that native learners will use in creating their new I-languages.

NB: This discussion will also help us clarify and redefine the terms of various protracted debates in Creole genesis, including the debates about the roles of adults vs. children, about gradual vs. abrupt creolization and about mentalist vs. sociohistorical methodologies.



Dagmar Deuber (University of Freiburg)                                                                 1A, Thursday 10.30

Aspects of variation in educated Nigerian Pidgin: Verbal structures


In the wake of publications by DeCamp and Bickerton in the early 1970s, the prevailing view on creole-lexifier contact situations used to be that such situations eventually give rise to a continuous spectrum of variation from the creole (basilect) to the lexifier (acrolect), the "(post-)creole continuum" (also extended to "(post-)pidgin continuum"). On the basis of this theory, it has been suggested that continua of the type found by DeCamp and Bickerton in Jamaica and Guyana, respectively, also exist, or are bound to arise, in similar situations elsewhere, e.g. in West Africa and Melanesia, where English-based extended pidgins coexist with English (Todd 1974, Bickerton 1975 ["Can English and Pidgin be kept apart?"]). However, for Melanesia, this view has recently been challenged: Siegel (1997) and Smith (2000) argue that one can find language contact phenomena like borrowing and code-switching, but no Caribbean-type continuum. This, as Siegel (1997:201) also points out, may be taken as corroborating evidence for a different theory of the origin of the Caribbean continua: that they are not recent developments out of an earlier dichotomous situation but owe their existence to the socio-historical circumstances of Caribbean societies during the period of slavery (Alleyne 1971, 1980; Mufwene 1996; also Bickerton himself since about 1983).

The present paper examines this issue in relation to the major variety of West African Pidgin, Nigerian Pidgin (NigP). Quantitative methodology is applied to a corpus of NigP as spoken by educated, urban Nigerians collected by the author during fieldwork in Nigeria. Three aspects of verbal structures in educated NigP are analysed: tense/aspect, copulas and related constructions, and verbal negation. All of these are areas for which various empirical studies conducted in the anglophone Caribbean (e.g. Bickerton 1973, 1975 [Dynamics of a Creole System]; Patrick 1999) have documented the existence of a mesolectal zone in between the basilect and the acrolect, which is characterized not only by extensive variation between basilectal and acrolectal variants, but also by uniquely or typically mesolectal forms, e.g. did + V for past tense (basilect: bin + V; acrolect: Ved), zero copula (basilect: a/de; acrolect: inflected be), and verbal negation by forms like invariant duon/doon + V (basilect: no/na + V; acrolect: don't/doesn't/didn't + V). However, although educated, urban speakers typically use mesolectal rather than basilectal varieties, no such intermediate morphosyntactic forms are attested in the present corpus. Furthermore, the variants that would be described as “acrolectal” in a continuum situation are very infrequent in the corpus in comparison to the “basilectal” ones and tend to occur mainly in fixed expressions and larger segments of discourse in English that can be interpreted as code-switches. The data for these selected areas of the grammar therefore do not indicate the existence of a mesolect and, by implication, of a continuum comparable to the Caribbean ones in Nigeria. This may be interpreted as further evidence that such continua are special phenomena calling for an explanation which takes into account specific local circumstances, and are not bound to arise in all pidgin/creole-lexifier contact situations.

Ana Deumert (Monash University)                                                                           6A, Saturday 2.00

Praatjies and Boerenbrieven - Popular literature as an instrument of normalization and

standardization in the history of Afrikaans


Popular literary culture played an important role in the early standardization of Afrikaans, a complex colonial contact language with pidgin/creole ancestry (cf. Roberge forth.). From the 1820s short literary texts in what was meant to represent the general Cape colloquial began to appear in the periodical press of the colony. This popular tradition developed from the 1850s into a highly productive genre and influenced the formation of an early Afrikaans standard language by shaping expectations about social, linguistic and national authenticity, leading to the identification of certain linguistic practices as a marker of Afrikaner identity (at the time, Afrikaner identity politics was not necessarily limited to the European section of the population, see e.g. the literary practices which are attested for the Moravian mission stations, cf. Belcher 1987). The early Afrikaans literary tradition is best described as a type of variety imitation (cf. Preston 1992): the texts were largely produced by outsiders (most commonly recent immigrants to the colony), and showed linguistic and graphemic manipulations of the basilectal, mesolectal and acrolectal varieties which coexisted within the Cape Dutch language continuum.

This paper provides an analysis of the symbolic and indexical functions of the early Afrikaans literary tradition, and shows how the linguistic (specifically morphological and syntactic) structures characteristic of these popular writings came to be used as social and ideological resources in non-literary texts. The data basis for the analysis includes early literary texts, the Corpus of Cape Dutch Correspondence (1880-1922, cf. Deumert 2001) as well as a small, pragmatically cohesive corpus of application letters (1924; the Nanny letters).



Belcher, R. 1987. Afrikaans en kommunikasie oor die kleurgrens. In: Afrikaans en Taalpolitiek. Ed. by H. Du Plessis and T. Du Plessis, 17-35. Pretoria: HAUM.

Deumert, A. 2001. Language variation and standardization at the Cape (18801922): A contribution to Afrikaans sociohistorical linguistics. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 13: 30152.

Preston, D.R. 1992. Talking Black and Talking White: A Study in Variety Imitation. Old Engish and New. Studies in the Honor of Fredric G. Cassidy. Ed. by J.H. Hall, N. Doane and D. Ringler, 237-355. New York: Garland Publishing.

Roberge, P. T. Forthcoming. Reconstructing the Cape Dutch Pidgin. In Pidgins: Their Nature and Significance, P. Baker, H. den Besten and M. Parkvall (eds). London: Battlebridge.



Janet L. Donnelly (The College of The Bahamas)                                                      2A, Thursday 2.00

Bahamian Creole English: Orthographic representations


While no standardized orthography exists for Bahamian Creole English (BCE) – or as it is popularly known, Bahamian Dialect – through the years various writers (e.g., authors, poets, folklorists, lyricists, cartoonists, and satirists) have consciously devised eye dialect representations for those BCE pronunciations which diverge from the regional standard (e.g., “Dis we t’ing” for “These are our things.” or teewee for ‘TV’). Furthermore, Bahamian students attempting to write in the standard sometimes unintentionally reveal basilectal, as well as mesolectal, pronunciations through their spelling errors (e.g., “The mean idea of this essay is…”) and hypercorrections (“He was at a lost for words.”).

In this paper I review both published and private writings that reflect BCE phonological differences through ‘eye dialect’ or surface errors. I use present day and past writing samples which reflect systematic differences between Standard Bahamian and Bahamian Creole English consonants, vowels and phonotactics – as well as individual word variation, hypercorrections and some regional differences within the Bahamas.

Ultimately, research into both the intentional use of eye dialect and unintentional spelling errors generated by BCE speakers can be useful not only in shedding light on the phonology of BCE (both past and present) but in providing more productive approaches to the teaching of literacy and the language arts. Students can gain a greater appreciation for the rich literary traditions which underpin their culture and achieve a better grasp of the phonological differences which might otherwise present daunting obstacles to attaining literacy in the standard.

Such research can also inform the creation of a standardized orthography for BCE, thus providing a means of reflecting and preserving it as a language – without relying on eye dialect for reflecting these differences, an approach which presents its own set of problems, as noted by Roberts (1988), who indicates that it “…brings with it emotional values which more often than not cloud any phonetic precision that the orthographic symbols…are intended to give” (West Indians and Their Language, 137)

Emanuel J. Drechsel (University of Hawai‘i at Ma@noa)                                          1B, Thursday 11.30

Towards an ethnohistory of pidgins: Colonial documents as hostile witnesses


The rapid decline of endangered languages, including pidgins, requires linguists to draw increasingly on historical attestations as a prime source for their study, which in turn calls for a carefully defined historical approach. The answer lies in an explicitly historical sociolinguistics to cover not only recent periods (the focus of most sociolinguistic research), but a greater range of time (such as several centuries) along with a consideration of a wider sociocultural context of language use. With additional time depth, one should expect a greater array of data in terms of quality, as they indeed occur in earlier historical attestations. However, instead of simply dismissing early observations and recordings of the colonial period on grounds that they do not meet modern linguistic standards and that most of their authors were not sympathetic to speakers of non-European languages, we can consider them as equivalent to depositions by hostile witnesses, subject to cross-examination or reinterpretation for what they are truly worth.

The framework for such a broadly defined historical-sociolinguistic reinterpretation is an ethnohistory of speaking, i.e. the restoration of historical linguistic attestations by triangulation with comparative modern evidence following philological principles and the critical interpretation of extralinguistic sociohistorical factors by ethnological criteria. Selected examples for illustration of this approach come from two geographically separate, linguistically unrelated cases: Muskogean-based Mobilian Jargon of the lower Mississippi River valley and Maritime Polynesian Pidgin of the Pacific. Not only do early attestations of these two non-European pidgins, once reconstituted, surprise in their overall accuracy as determined on grounds of their structural consistency with independent data, including modern field recordings for Mobilian Jargon; but historical records for both pidgins also yield sufficient information to address extralinguistic issues of use and functions, and prove equivalent to other sociohistorical data, thus making possible historical research of extralinguistic aspects. At the same time, the overall quality of historical attestations for these non-European pidgins raises some serious doubts about the range and quality of accompanying attestations of Pidgin English, many of which appear in the record for no obvious linguistic or sociohistorical reason (such as references to Pacific Islanders confirmed not to know a word of English, then recorded to speak Pidgin English with considerable fluency). Such documentation of Pidgin English looks rather suspect as historical attestation, and likely proves little more than a transliteration of native speech (including Anglophone-Anglophile hypercorrections) in which the author met his audience’s expectations for an intelligible if distinct dialogue. Modifications of non-European pidgins towards the indigenous target languages upon which they drew, however, was not an issue for European or American historians, simply because in most cases they did not have access to these target languages nor did they usually intend to write for an audience in these target languages. What data for non-European pidgins may lack in numbers, they make up in quality, rendering an ethnohistory of speaking quite promising indeed.



Stephanie Durrleman (University of Geneva)                                                            6C, Saturday 2.30

The articulation of inflection in Jamaican Creole


This research is concerned with the syntax of inflectional markers in Jamaican Creole (JC). Although these markers have been previously described (e.g. Bailey (1966), Patrick(1999)), their relative hierarchy deserves closer analysis. Literature on Creoles has generally claimed that the ordering of functional particles is Tense - Mood/modal – Aspect, hence they are referred to as TMA markers. In the present work, I propose a more fine-grained articulation of inflection in JC.

I begin by observing that modals can co-occur in this language, so their relative order needs to be determined:


 (1)       Im     wooda   muss    kyan    ‘elp   uno                                        

3rd sg Modal  Modal   Modal  help  2nd pl
‘S/he would have necessarily been able to help yu all’


I consider various data revealing that when the combination of modals takes place, this combination must respect a certain ordering constraint.

Then I discuss the distribution of modals in relation to tense, drawing on data from JC to exemplify that both Tense > Modal (2), and Modal > Tense (3) are attested orders:



 (2)       Im     did    mos     hafi      du  i’

3rd sg Past  Modal Modal  do  it

‘s/he had to do it’


 (3)       Im     (*did)    wooda    did       say dat     

3rd sg ([+Past]) Modal  [+Past]  say that                              

            ‘S/he would have said that’          


I show that these distributional differences are linked to an epistemic/root interpretational distinction.       

Finally, I examine the distribution of aspectual particles, which like modals, can co-occur in a specific order. In working out the structure for these markers, I also attempt to account for the distribution of completive done, which has the particularity of occasionally occurring in a post-VP configuration. When done precedes [-stative] verbs, it can yield two different interpretations (4), unlike when it follows them (5):


 (4)       Im     done nyam i’

3rd sg done eat    it

     a)     ‘S/he already ate it’

     b)    ‘S/he finished eating it’


 (5)       Im    nyam i’  done

            3rd sg eat   it  done

     a)     ‘*S/he already ate it’

     b)    ‘She finished eating it’


I take this to suggest the presence of two different done markers in JC, one corresponding to the meaning [+Completive] as given by the verb ‘to finish’ in English, and the other corresponding to the meaning [+Anterior], as given by the adverb ‘already’ in English. I propose an analysis for the instances of post-VP done in terms of VP-movement to [Spec,CompletiveP]. A wide range of data suggests that VP-movement is limited in JC, explaining why the VP cannot target [Spec,AnteriorP] (see 5a), as movement as high as AnteriorP would violate Relativized Minimality (Rizzi 1990).

The following overall ordering for preverbal markers in JC is shown to be as follows:


 (6)  Mod epistemic > T > Mod necessity > Mod root obligation > Mod root ability/permission > T [+anterior] > Asp [+retrospective] > Asp [+progressive] > Asp [+prospective] > Asp [+completive]


This structure proves compatible with the framework adopted in Cinque (1999), and therefore provides new evidence in favour of a universal clausal architecture.



Sabine Ehrhart (Lacito du CNRS / Universität des Saarlandes)                                    6B, Saturday 2.30

Pidginization and creolization in the general context of language acquisition – what creolists and acquisitionists can learn from each other


The study will be based on two corpora collected by the author herself: from Tayo, a French-based creole spoken in New Caledonia (1988-1993; 1998; 2003), and from the a project on early language teaching in primary schools in the German region of Saarland (2000-2003)

In both cases, the data are analyzed transcriptions of speech productions. For the Pacific corpus, there will also be retrospective interviews (triangulation) with first-generation-speakers of the creole on attitudes and interaction schemes during the development of Tayo.

By studying the learner production in the second project, we found clear parallels with the creolization processes examined earlier (Ehrhart 1993, 2003). On the other hand, there are important differences in the classroom setting concerning the learner output depending on the kind of interaction. In this field, code-switching is an important clue for comprehension of attitude and language contact processes (see below).

I will to propose a typology of language learning based on the kind of interaction existing between the representatives of the different speech communities. There seems to be a continuum between the different situations (natural – institutional) more than a dichotomy.

The findings can be important for educational issues (curricula, settings of language learning).






Ehrhart, S.: L’alternance codique dans le cours de langue : le rôle de l’enseignant dans l’interaction avec l’élève Synthèse à partir d’énoncés recueillis dans les écoles primaires de la Sarre, in: Anxo M. Lorenzo Suarez, Fernando Ramallo & Xóan Paulo Rodriguez-Yanez (Eds) : Proceedings / Actas. Second International Symposium on Bilingualism / Segundo Simposio Internacional sobre o Bilingüismo. Universidade de Vigo (Galicia, Spain), October 23-26, 2002.Vigo, Servicio de Publicacions da Universidade de Vigo, 2003.

Ehrhart, S.: Le créole français de St-Louis (le tayo) en Nouvelle- Calédonie, Kreolische Bibliothek, Buske, Hamburg (Dissertation), 1993.



Genevieve Escure (University of Minnesota)                                                                  8, Sunday 9.40

Bickerton and lectal dynamics


Dynamics of a Creole Gramma  (Bickerton 1975) has undoubtedly identified creolistics as a separate subfield within the discipline of linguistics. His discussion of basilectal, mesolectal, and acrolectal linguistic features has had a lasting impact on our understanding of the creole continuum—beyond those creoles that have an English lexical base, such as Guyanese and Belizean.

Bickerton’s work on lectal shifts has definitely inspired my work in Belizean Creole. I will discuss the challenge of establishing lectal boundaries in creole continua, and defining native speakers’ repertoires, comparing Bickerton’s findings and those I derived from my observations of Belizean variation in the Stann Creek District of Belize.

It is interesting that the consensus in creole studies is now that creoles are structurally no different from other natural languages. In fact, Bickerton said so, too:


… a number of what might seem to be characteristically creole forms are found elsewhere within pan-English – in non-standard dialects, in maturational development, and in types of performance error to which any speaker of English might on occasion be liable.

                                                                                             (Bickerton 1975: 22)


So, what have we learned about the creole continuum in the last thirty years? This discussion will endeavor to review this issue in the light of various studies of linguistic variability in Creole communities—all characterized in terms of their relatively recent history of traumatic social contacts.



James Essegbey & Adrienne Bruyn (Leiden University)                                              4A, Friday 10.30

The use of ini in Sranan


In this paper, the use of ini in Sranan, the plantation creole language of Surinam, will be compared with that of its English source form, in, on the one hand, and with that of me, its counterpart in the Gbe languages (Kwa) that were part of the substrate in the early history of Sranan, on the other hand. While substrate influence appears to have been a crucial factor regarding syntactic as well as semantic features of Sranan ini, there are certain differences between Sranan and the Gbe substrate that argue against a scenario involving strict relexification. The picture is further complicated by the fact that changes are taking place in Sranan that affect the use of ini.

On the syntactic level, Sranan ini contrasts with its English source form in that it appears in complex PPs introduced by the all-purpose preposition na, e.g. na ini a oso [loc in the house] or na a oso ini [loc the house in]. While the latter construction, with ini after the NP, can be attributed to influence from the Gbe languages, the one with na ini before the NP cannot.

Semantically, Sranan ini differs from English in because while the latter expresses what Talmy (2000) refers to as the Vector component of Path, the former expresses the Conformation component. Thus, Sranan ini can be used in the expression of motion out of locations whereas English in cannot, as the sentence below illustrates:


i)       Edgar    kroipi    kmopo          na      ini           a      kamra
         E          crawl     come_out      loc    in(side)    def  room
         ‘Edgar crawled out of the room’


This lexicalisation strategy is similar to that of me in the Gbe languages. However, there are some differences between the semantics of ini and me. Furthermore, recent developments have led to a situation where some speakers use the Dutch preposition uit ‘out’ instead of ini to express moving out of some location. This is related to a more general trend whereby locative prepositions have become possible in Sranan, whereas from around 1700 to the mid-20th century, the only simple locative preposition was (n)a.

The comparison of the use of ini in both early and present-day Sranan with that of its lexifier and substrate counterparts provides support for the view that substrate influence can be a crucial factor but that it operates on lexifier items that may retain some of their properties or be subject to innovation. 



Seiji Fukazawa (Hiroshima University)                                                                    3B, Thursday 4.00

Mie Hiramoto (University of Hawai‘i at Ma@noa)

Chuugoku dialect terms that remain in Hawai‘i Creole English (Hawai ni nokoru Chuugoku-ben)


The Japanese language that was brought by plantation immigrants contributed largely to creation of Hawaii Creole English (HCE). In Sato’s (1991:647) words, “Hawaii’s cultural diversity is largely the result of massive labour importation, triggered by the development of sugar plantation by north Americans during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” Between 1885 and 1893, the period of government contract labor immigration, about 29,000 Japanese labors migrated to Hawaii as sugar plantation workers (Okihiro 1991:24). By the end of Japanese immigration in 1924, the prefectural demographics of the immigrants were largely from Hiroshima (24.3%) and Yamaguchi (20.6%); thus, nearly half of the total Hawaii Japanese population originated in Chuugoku region (Kimura 2001:1). In less than 40 years, the Japanese population became a major ethnic group in Hawaii.

This paper will focus on the language used among Japanese diasporas during the plantation period and its attrition rates among the Japanese Americans in Hawaii. The language focused in this paper will be Chuugoku-ben, or the Hiroshima/Yamaguchi dialect, brought to Hawaii by the majority of the Japanese immigrants during the plantation period. We first hypothesized the speakers’ age influenced the rates of attrition based on our social contacts with Japanese Americans in Hawaii. Thus, a linguistic survey was conducted to study how much of Chuugoku-ben vocabulary has been retained in Hawaii today.

We will first discuss the formation of Hawaiian Japanese, a common language spoken among the Japanese immigrants. Second, we will report a result of our survey on some Chuugoku-ben vocabulary. Based on our data collected from people of different generations (the second, third, and fourth generation Japanese immigrants) and ages (20 to 86), the attrition rates of the Chuugoku-ben terms are separated by the speakers’ generation groups rather than their age groups. We will then introduce some of the terms that diffused into today’s HCE from Hawaiian Japanese. After that, possible reasons to account for the different attrition rates of the Hawaiian Japanese terms will be mentioned. Lastly, use of Japanese language in Hawaii today and the future of Hawaiian Japanese will be discussed. Our study contributes to gain understanding in Hawaii’s unique sociolinguistic variations that was enhanced by the plantation immigrants, including a large group from Japan.


Examples (data from our survery):




  1. Chuugoku-ben vocabulary used in Hawaiian Japanese

1.         Moo      bocha    shita?

already   bath      intransitive V marker

‘Have you bathed yet?’


2.         Nande   habuteru    no?

why      pout           interrogative marker

‘Why are you pouting?’


  1. Chuugoku-ben vocabulary used in HCE

1.         Did you bocha already?

= Have you showered yet?


2.         Why are you habut for?

= Why are you pouting?



Kimura, Yukiko. 2001. (1988.) Issei: Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. In J. Okamura (ed.) The Japanese American historical experience in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Okihiro, Gary Y. 1991. Cane fires: the anti-Japanese movement in Hawaii, 1865-1945. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Sato, Charlene J. 1991. Sociolinguistic variation and language attitudes in Hawaii. In J. Cheshire (ed.) English around the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Maria Cristina Fumagalli & Peter L. Patrick (University of Essex)                             7A, Saturday 4.30

Oral and literate structures in two Caribbean healing narratives


We analyse two Caribbean narratives of spiritual healing: the literary one of the St Lucian fisherman, Philoctete, in Derek Walcott's Omeros, and a personal narrative of healing by Coppa, a Jamaican cane-cutter interviewed by Patrick in 1992. Both bear striking parallels to the ancient Greek myth of the archer Philoktetes – a tale encapsulated in Homer, developed by Sophocles, and revisited by Walcott, whose character’s representative experience of (post-) colonial suffering resonates powerfully with the oral account of Coppa (Fumagalli & Patrick, fc).

Healing narratives critically recontextualize bodily struggles as social, historical, political and spiritual conflicts, while personal narratives both negotiate and construct cultural and linguistic identity via a dialogue with the community. Indeed, the authority and efficacy of vernacular healing processes is tied to ritual and narration.

Strategic use of alternative codes (dominant and resistant varieties) characterize both the non-literate telling by Coppa, and Walcott’s literary (re)creation of that by Philoctete. While the former manipulates aspects of Rasta Talk to foreground the opposition between European/ medical/ scientific and African/spiritual/occult belief systems (Patrick & Payne-Jackson 1996), Walcott code-switches between St Lucian French Creole and vernacular English varieties (in Philoctete’s voice), as well as Standard English, in forming the poetic diction of the work.

Further, Walcott draws on two powerfully influential canonical literary forms – Homeric epic and Dantean terza rima – re-animating their oral genesis, celebrating their appropriation, and obliging the listener/reader to hear them in a Caribbean idiom. At the same time, Coppa the cane-cutter marshals his argument via the spontaneous creation of verse structures with the cadence of the King James Version and the rhetorical shape of classical syllogisms.

We argue that the interplay of vernacular and literate language strategies powerfully invokes a historical, cultural and ultimately moral framework within which the meaning of individual suffering is manifested, communal exploitation and the legacy of slavery claim a central role in narration, and reintegration of the sufferer into society occurs through “the struggle of language”.



Fumagalli, Maria Cristina. 2001. The flight of the vernacular: Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and the impress of Dante. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.

Fumagalli, Maria Cristina & Peter L Patrick. Fc. Three healing narratives: Suffering, reintegration and the struggle of language. Submitted to a special issue of Callaloo, ed. Robert Hamner, in honor of Derek Walcott’s 75th birthday.

Montenegro, David. 1991. Derek Walcott. Points of departure: International writers on writing and politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Patrick, Peter L & Arvilla Payne-Jackson. 1996. Functions of Rasta Talk in a Jamaican Creole healing narrative: ‘A bigfoot dem gi' mi’. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 6(1): 1-38.

Walcott, Derek. 1990. Omeros. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.



Karl Gadelii (Göteborg University)                                                                         2C, Thursday 3.00

The un-Frenchness of Lesser Antillean sa


The item sa in Lesser Antillean bears a formal similarity to the French element ça, but the behaviour of sa in Lesser Antillean differs radically from that of ça in French. Pinalie & Bernabé (1999:30, 37–39) observe the following uses of sa in the Martinican variety of Lesser Antillean (French equivalents are given to the right for illustrative purposes):


Referential impersonal:

(1)      nous   sav       sa    ~   nous   savons     cela/ça       /  nous   le     savons

         1PL    know    SA        1PL    know       it                 we     it     know

         ‘we know it’


(2)      man    dakò   épi     sa   ~    je       suis    d’accord     avec    cela/ça /   j’en        suis    d’accord

         1SG    OK     with   that       1SG   am      OK            with    that         I-with.it   am     OK

         ‘that’s OK with me’


Non-referential impersonal:

(3)      sa    rèd     touvé    travay      ~   c’est   dur        de    trouver     un    travail

         SA   tough  find      job               it-is    tough    to    find         a      job

         ‘it’s tough to find a job’



(4)      sa    ki    vini         mwen      ~   celui        qui     est   venu      me   voir

         SA   KI    come     see   me               the-one     who    is     come     me   see

         ‘the one who came to see me’


(5)      Pyè       ka         sanm     sa    ki       las                              no equivalent in French

         Pierre    PROG   seem     SA   KI      tired

         ‘Pierre seems to be tired’


Anaphoric, non-referential antecedent: 

(6)      sa    ki    rivé         misyé      ~   ce    qui       lui      est   arrivé

         SA   KI    happen     mister         that    which    him    is     happened

         ‘that which happened to him’


(7)      ès       ou      konprann    sa    man    di’      w       la?        ~

         Q       2SG   understand  SA   1SG   say     2SG   LA


est-ce que    tu       as       compris        ce       que      je t’ai            dit?

            Q              2SG   have    understood    that     which    I    you-have     said

         ‘did you understand what I said to you?’



(8)      ki moun        sa    ki     papa’       w?      ~      qui       est      ton     père?

         who             SA   KI    father       2SG           who      is       your   father           

         ‘who is your father?’


(9)      (ki)     sa      ki    misyé?            ~        c’est    qui?

         KI      SA     KI    mister                      it-is    who

         ‘who is it?’


(10)    ki       boug   sa?   ~      quel        type?

         KI      guy    SA          which      guy

         ‘which guy?’               


(11)    kilès      sa    ki    ta’w? ~        lequel                 est   à      toi?

         KILES   SA   KI    of-2SG              which-one     is     of    you

         ‘which one is yours?’

It has been claimed that sa in French-lexified creoles is derived from popular usages of ça in French as in “les enfants, ça joue tout le temps” (children play all the time) and “ça flotte” (it is pouring), where more formal varieties of French would have ils and il, respectively. In the majority of the examples above, however, no such parallel can be established, and the hypothesis of lexifier influence must therefore be largely discarded. The paper presents an analysis of the above cases distinguishing three types of sa: (i) generally referring (e.g. (1) above), (ii) expletive (e.g. (5)) and (iii) originally deictic item which has been grammaticalized (e.g. (8, 11).



Glenn Gilbert (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)                                  Opening, Thursday 9.00

The Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages and the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, in retrospect


This paper outlines how both the journal and the society came into being, and how they have developed over the years.  Special attention is paid to the role of Stanley Tsuzaki and John Reinecke as seminal figures who challenged my thinking and prepared me mentally, so to speak, for a commitment to edit an international journal for an indefinite period.  The impetus given by the 1985 Amsterdam Symposium on Universals versus Substrata in Creole Genesis is described.  My goal, which enjoyed the support of many scholars, the publishers, and my university, was to provide to the profession a general journal of pidgin and creole languages, irrespective of the languages involved, especially the lexifier, and irrespective of the approach or viewpoint taken by the authors.  In keeping with the best tradition of linguistics journals edited in the United States and elsewhere, a system of rigorous and blind peer review was started.  Considerable page space was set aside for book reviews which we thought would both inform and challenge our readers. The Column, like a license to print money, as our first columnist Derek Bickerton put it, allowed distinguished scholars in the field to explore what concerned them, free from peer review and editorial constraints.  As it turned out, we had considerable success in publishing articles on PCs with Portuguese and Dutch lexifiers, less so with non-IE lexifiers.

The paper describes the genesis of SPCL at the Society for Caribbean Linguistics meeting in the Bahamas in 1988, the decision to meet with the winter LSA, the search for a name for the Society, and the preparation of its constitution.  The link with the LSA had the desired effect of augmenting the audience for our papers with large numbers of linguists outside of creolistics.  The waning years of the second millennium showed definite signs that our discipline had matured and was being taken seriously by everyone.

Here and there during the presentation of the paper, I plan to relate personal anecdotes which give life to the history of our discipline.



Stephanie Hackert (University of Regensburg)                                                           6C, Saturday 3.00

Oral narrative and tense in urban Bahamian Creole English


This paper, part of a larger study of the urban creole vernacular of the Bahamian capital, Nassau, investigates three types of oral narrative obtained in sociolinguistic interviews, considering their formal and functional properties as well as the effect of these properties on the occurrence of unmarked verbs with past temporal reference.

The narrative of personal experience, including the danger-of-death story, has figured prominently in variationist sociolinguistics as a means of eliciting casual speech, i.e., speech characterized by a minimum of attention paid to language. It will be shown that the high frequency of unmarked, i.e., non-standard, verb forms in this type of narrative need not be relegated to attention to speech but can be accounted for by recourse to discourse-pragmatic constraints, which make overt morphological marking redundant in temporally sequenced contexts.

Folktales are often dismissed in analyses of vernacular speech on account of their presumably rehearsed character. In terms of narrative structure, such tales are identical with narratives of personal experience. Their even lower incidence of past marking can be explained with their timeless functions as well as with the fact/fiction opposition: in fiction, the past loses its general referential value, which consists in the assignment of verb situations to a past time sphere, retaining merely an expressive function (Fleischman 1990: 112) – all the more reason to abandon marking it.

“Generic” narratives, finally, which recount what used to be the case, will be described as instantiations of the text type “list” (Schiffrin 1994: 293-315). As such, they do not primarily tell about incidents that happened but describe a category, e.g., foodstuffs and their preparation in times past. The temporal, descriptive, and evaluative structures of such narratives reflect this function; the use of past markers – highly restricted in habitual contexts – does as well.



Fleischman, Suzanne. 1990. Tense and Narrativity: From Medieval Performance to Modern Fiction. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Schiffrin, Deborah. 1994. Approaches to Discourse. Oxford: Blackwell.



Joyce Hudson & Rosalind Berry (Consultants)                                                        3A, Thursday 4.00

The FELIKS Approach to teaching Standard English


There are many literacy programs in Australia which have been developed with the aim of improving the educational outcomes of Indigenous students whose first language is a creole or non-standard variety of English. Since the early 90s, linguist Joyce Hudson and ESL consultant Rosalind Berry have worked with teachers and students in northern Australia developing a bidialectal program known as The FELIKS (Fostering English Language In Kimberley Schools) Approach. This includes Professional Development packages, a resource book for teachers and a video.

As creoles and non-standard dialects become prominent in education programs around the world, the need to actively teach students to develop their code-switching skills has been increasingly recognised.  In 1991 Elizabeth Coelho wrote in Caribbean Students in Canadian School, Book 2 ‘Effective language learning takes place when students are conscious of their need to learn the new language…this means that there must be a positive awareness of language variety and of the need to select appropriate language for specific purposes.’ (Pippin Publishing Limited, Ontario, p.90) The FELIKS Approach focusses on this need for awareness and control of language varieties. Its central feature is the use of a Code-switching Stairway which was developed to help teachers understand the needs of students and plan activities for the classroom.

The Stairway begins at the bottom with the Awareness step. Teachers and students must first become aware of the reality of the two varieties and have a positive attitude toward the creole/non-standard variety of English (nsE). Only then can students learn to separate the creole from the standard language (the Separation Step). Here teaching of English as a second language/dialect is emphasised. The third step is Code-switching where there is focus on developing the crucial skill of switching, competently and with confidence, between creole/nsE and the standard variety. Finally, the top step of Control is one that continues past the classroom years and into real life. During the presentation each of the four steps will be explained and illustrated by video clips.

Australia’s Indigenous people who have gained control over the standard language frequently feel that they have done so at the expense of their creole/nsE. Students who are taught using The FELIKS Approach will be encouraged to increase their skills in both the creole/nsE and the standard language, thus providing greater opportunities in the mainstream society without losing their identity.

Opportunities for rigorous testing have not been available to the developers because of the enthusiastic acceptance of the approach by both indigenous creole speakers and the teachers of English who demanded more support and resources. Energies were always directed at the practical issues of preparing more professional development and classroom resources. The presentation will include anecdotal evidence from teachers of the effectiveness of The FELIKS Approach.



Aya Inoue (University of Hawai‘i at Ma@noa)                                                           2B, Thursday 3.00

Sociolinguistic history and linguistic features of Pidginized Japanese in Yokohama


A pidginized variety of Japanese (PJY) called Yokohamese or Japanese Ports Lingo evolved around 1870 and largely disappeared by the end of the nineteenth century (Holm 1989). Although this variety was not described widely by trained linguists, a small 40-page pedagogical guide (Atkinson 1879) contains a sufficient amount of data to provide some idea of its lexicon and grammatical structure. In this paper, I describe the sociohistorical background and linguistic features of PJY. I examine if it is possible to label PJY as a ‘pidgin’ based on the common characteristics of restricted pidgins discussed in Sebba (1997) and Siegel (forthcoming). Finally, the role of second language acquisition in the pidginization of PJY is considered.

PJY was produced by the contacts between Japanese and foreigners in the Yokohama area. The Tokugawa Shogunate (later on, the Meiji government) allowed foreigners to borrow land, build buildings, and participate in trading businesses only within the Foreigners’ Settlement for 40 years (from 1859 until 1899). There were only 44 foreigners in the settlement in 1860. In 1897, more than 4,000 foreigners were living in the settlement. The demographic data of the foreigners in the settlement (Ishizuka: 1996) shows that the majority was Chinese followed by British, American, German, French, and Dutch.

Siegel (forthcoming) shows eight grammatical features that are shared by most restricted pidgins: 1) virtually no productive bound morphology—inflectional or derivational, 2) reduced number of adpositions, pronouns, 3) reduced lexicon, 4) no TMA markers—temporal adverbs used, 5) preverbal negative marker, 6) no complementizers, 7) more reduplicated forms (but reduplication not productive), 8) some bimorphemic question words. PJY shares seven out of eight features not including the preverbal negative marker. As for the preverbal negative marker, it is not observed in PJY, for the negative markers in PJY are postverbal as in Japanese, the superstrate language.

Sebba (1997) pointed out the correlation between SVO word order and preverbal modification as a reason for preverbal negation markers in the majority of known pidgins. Postverbal modification is preferred for languages with SOV word order. Since PJY is also a language with SOV word order, universal tendencies explain the postverbal negator in PJY.

In conclusion, PJY is a variety that we can label ‘restricted pidgin’ in terms of sociohistorical background and linguistic features, as well as its stability as a variety. I also show some shared features between PJY and interlanguage features in general, studied by Klein & Perdue (1997). Another intriguing finding about PJY is that some lexical items of PJY reflects similarity with English pidgins throughout the Pacific.

This study provides the description of a rarely studied variety. The study of PJY is also important because it tells us about the structures of a contact induced variety with a non-Indo-European lexifier language. Moreover, since the vocabulary and some grammatical features of PJY show influence from Chinese Pidgin English, my study contributes to the further investigation of the early diffusion of Pidgin English in the Pacific discussed in Baker (1987, 1996).



Alison Irvine (University of the West Indies, Mona)                                                 1A, Thursday 11.30

Rethinking the notion of acrolect: Evidence from Jamaica


The acrolect in territories like Jamaica is described in the literature in a number of ways. It is the “the local standard English”, or the theoretical upper end of the construct referred to as the continuum, or the formal speech of Jamaicans with higher education, status and white collar occupations. However, these ideas of the acrolect have all been affected by analyses that use a (literary) metropolitan Standard English (MSE) as the yardstick for defining English and, by extension, features found along the Jamaican continuum. Linguistic features have been described as basilectal, even when they are present in the speech of all classes of Jamaicans, when they are not found in MSE. This approach is particularly problematic when dealing with phonological variation. Prescriptions for Standard English do not usually specify a pronunciation of its forms and, typically, it is educated speakers’ accents that locate them as members of a particular speech community, distinguishing Jamaicans from Australians or Nigerians.

This paper discusses the speech of a sample of highly educated Jamaicans, employed in a government agency, in formal interaction with an interviewer discussing work-related topics. By focussing on certain phonological variables, I show why the Jamaican acrolect has to be locally situated and defined. These variables are 1) TH stopping, 2) h-drop, 3) the low vowel [a], 4) (KYA) and 5) the alveopalatal affricates. The data I use suggests that: a) while it is apparent that a feature like h-dropping is “creole” and avoided by informants, it is not apparent that something like (KYA) is so considered; b) the speech of the typical model speaker (like the classroom teacher) is a locally educated Jamaican, whose phonology, if nothing else, is outside the normative pressure exerted by the written standard; c) judgements of suitability for employment are made by locals, and perceptions of “good English” will be normalized with reference to how they are evaluated (as successful) in the local workplace; and d) speakers do not necessarily use the (more) MSE variant, particularly when it and the creole form are similar. I argue that the speaker’s construct of good, spoken English is mediated by a set of ideologies, including: a) what features are perceived as “creole”; b) who is speaking and in what context; and c) what is successful in the local linguistic market. These ideas are not typically generated or developed outside the speaker’s community. Terms like “emerging norm” or “(upper) mesolectal”, to describe non-MSE (i.e. Creole) features in the formal speech of educated Jamaicans, are based on an imported target acrolect, and assume that such features are due to relatively recent substrate influence. There have been vernacular (and native) speakers of English in this community for more than a century, if not longer. Analyses of the Jamaican language situation continue to use foreign norms of English to discuss local language phenomena and ignore the reality both of a Jamaican English and the speech community in which it has evolved.



Valeri Khavirov (Urals Pedagogical University)                                                         7C, Saturday 4.30

Morphological changes in Sango: From the ethnic language to the creolized language


The presentation deals with internal linguistic processes that led to certain types of changes in the words of a creolized language vis-a-vis its source language. These processes affect the lexicon of all languages, but the extent to which they are evidenced in creolized languages suggests that they are accelerated by restructuring. The process of creolization in the Sango of Central Africa brought about the reduction of the lexicon (down to 300 words) and as a result the reduction of the derivational morphemes existing in the source language - the ethnic Sango-Yakoma. The latter has in its lexicon verbs with general meaning and words with specialized meaning (process akin to semantic narrowing) produced by derivational morphemes which was lost during creolization. The following derivational suffixes can be found in the ethnic Sango-Yakoma: -rV (iterative meaning), -ngbì (meaning of insistence), -ngà (resultant action), -kà/-kè/-kò (iterative meaning), -sà (meaning of removal), -ndà (resultant action), -kò (resultant action), -ndò (meaning of accumulation) and some other suffixes whose meaning is not clear because of the limited number of glosses. Though some of these suffixes can still be found in the creolized language, the verbs with such suffixes have the same meaning as the verbs devoid of them, for example: Wálî@ à yéngè (yèngèrè) fùkù The woman has sifted flour. In the Sango-Yakoma the verb with the iterative suffix -rè will mean “ to sift with quick and often movements”. Words with the above mentioned suffixes of the ethnic language have become vestiges of the lexicon’s development. The forgotten words come to life again and the process seems to be akin to decreolization. The ethnic Sango-Yakoma monomorphemic lE⁄ “to make” with the iterative and process intensifying suffix –k  entered the lexicon of the creolized Sango in the form of lE⁄kEŸ losing its special meaning and having only the general meaning of ‘to make, to build, to arrange, to repair, to organize’. At a later stage the derivative form lEŸkEŸrEŸ appeared with the meaning of ‘to repair several times and applying several operations’. Other suffixes from the above mentioned form new words whose meanings in creolized Sango sometimes are not specialized but general, for example: ‘collect’ – bóngbì  (var. búngbì) ‘to unite, get together, join’; dî@ ‘to name’ – díkò ‘to count, enumerate, verify, number, read, pray, implore’. An interesting case presents the so-called subject marker when it is agglutinated to the verb. The following conditional sentence “If he wants to come he will see him” is given by our informant the following way: 

Tōngānà                            áyèk        báà   

COND    3s  want   to    come  3s     SM+FUT  see     3s

The subject marker á with the grammatically pertinent high tone is at the same time the agglutinated marker of the future tense. In creolized Sango the subject marker has always the low tone and is not used after pronouns. In the absence of the future tense marker á the future tense is expressed just by the predicative element yèkè in the creolized Sango. 

This analysis will provide further information on the changes in the creolized Sango as compared with its lexifier. 



Barbara Lalla (University of the West Indies , St Augustine)                              Plenary 2, Saturday 9.00

Creole dimensions of development in Caribbean literary discourse


Work on Creole in Caribbean literary discourse has mainly comprised analysis of language in individual texts (Mair, 1989, “Naipaul’s Miguel Street,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature; Lalla, 2002, “Conceptual Perspectives” in Brown 2002, All are Involved), and of issues of representation (Devonish, 1996, in Christie, Caribbean Language Issues; Lalla, 1998, “Creole Representation,” SCL and forthcoming) rather than its role in the growth of indigenous literature.

This paper argues that phases of Creole inclusion have been pivotal to development in Caribbean literary discourse. The discourse passes through an initial Ventriloquist Phase in which the colonizer textualizes (distorted) Creole in inscribing the “invented” voice of the Other. Structures of (or interference with) the official code are imposed on representation of the Creole. Then follows a Censorship Phase, under which local verbal artists operate, torn between strong oral traditions on the one hand and alien scribal conventions on the other, in maneuvering between restricted functions of Creole in written discourse. The Creole is marked discourse wherever it occurs in the written text. Increasing interaction between official and vernacular codes in writing, together with diminishing censorship, leads to an Alternation Phase. Code-shifting contributes to a hybrid discourse comprising plural and often dissonant voices. Privileging of the Creole in turn contributes to perspectival shift that relocates the speaker to the centre (rather than margin) of a valorized discourse, which becomes an instrument of identity construction.

In the (current) Expansion Phase, the discourse is open to a wider range of influences. The indigenous voice occupies more if not all of the literary text, and is drawn on to assert Caribbean perspective in rewriting imperial texts. More systematicity in representation increases accessibility to the literature. Thus, the sheer quantum of indigenous literature is enlarged. The Creole voice being privileged, boundaries between official and vernacular discourses become permeable, and (permitted) characteristics of their codes diffuse across the boundaries.

Creole inclusion is thus a major defining characteristic of the indigenous literature, and pivotal to several other crucial characteristics (for example, plurality and identity construction).

The hypothesis, that development of the indigenous literature hinged on an evolving relationship between scribal discourse and its contextual Creole language situation, was tested by comparison of perspective in nineteenth and twentieth century Jamaican texts; analyses of perpectival shift in modern Caribbean literary discourse, of language of specific Caribbean authors, of issues identified by creative artists themselves (as in Jean D’Costa, 1985, “Expression and Communication,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature), of issues of representation encountered in textual reconstruction (Lalla and D’Costa, 1990, Language in Exile). This data demonstrates development in perspective, code choice, and representation.

The work concretizes discussion of literary language in the Caribbean and extends understanding of discursive mechanisms by which identity is encoded. The findings demonstrate significant expansion in the functions of Creole and adjustment in language attitudes, as Creole is pivotal to development in an indigenous literature undergoing canonization.



Barbara Lalla (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine)                                       6A, Saturday 2.30

Representation and respect: Creole status and Caribbean literature


Discussion of the status of Caribbean Creole (as in Carrington 2001, "Status of Creole", in Christie, ed. Due Respect) normally excludes consideration of Creole represented in Caribbean literary discourse. Also, comments on literary activity in the Caribbean (as in Roberts 1997 From Oral to Literate Culture) rarely accommodate examination of on-going Creole/English interaction in the literature.

My brief presentation proposes that Caribbean literary discourse, as a dynamic and hybrid system operates through a dialectic of absorption and repulsion, definitive characteristics of both Creole and Standard English being drawn into or excluded from representation in the indigenous literature. Bilingual writers who are technologists of the discourse (see Devonish 1996 in Christie ed. Caribbean Language Issues) address audiences comprising bilingual and monolingual (English) readers, and it is these bilingual writers who filter Creole marking in the discourse. The stature and scope of the resulting scribal discourse has been enlarged through increase in function, in angles of viewing, in mixing oral and scribal strategies, in widened audience comprehension.

These observations are based on comparison between imperial discourse in Caribbean setting and indigenous discourse, and between earlier and more recent indigenous discourse.

Claire Lefebvre (Université du Québec à Montréal)                                                   3C, Thursday 11.30

Can Saramaccan functional categories be derived from a relexification account of Creole genesis?


While it appears to be generally accepted that major category lexical entries of creole languages acquire their properties by means of the process of relexification, the question of how functional category lexical entries acquire their properties in these languages is still a matter of debate. For example, whereas, Muysken (1988 and subsequent work) denies the possibility for functional categories to undergo relexification, Lefebvre (1998, and the references therein) argues that relexification (and its further interaction with two other processes : reanalysis and levelling) can account for the properties of most of the Haitian Creole functional category lexical entries. At the same time, the view according to which creoles’ functional categories develop mainly through reanalysis (e.g. Washabaugh 1975; Woolford 1983) has been weakened in view of the fact that several alledged cases of reanalysis in creole languages appear to match in a remarkable way the complex properties of corresponding lexical entries in the creoles’ substratum lexicon (e.g. Bruyn 1996; Keesing 1988; Lefebvre 1998).

This paper will explore the problem of the origin of Saramaccan functional categories in light of the findings based on Haitian Creole reported on in Lefebvre (1998). First, the theory of how functional category lexical entries develop in creolisation will be summarised from Lefebvre (1998). This theory involves the possiblity of retention of functional categories from the substratum languages, and relexification and reanalysis, two processes that interact in a specific way. Second, analyses of Saramaccan data illustrating the various facets of this proposal will be presented. The focus marker, as per the analyses in Aboh (2001), McWhorter (1996) and Smith (1996), will be presented as illustrating retention from the substratum languages. Other such cases will be identified. The complementiser (see Loranger, in progress) and the determiner (see Lefebvre, in progress) systems, as well as the reflexive anaphor (e.g. Muysken and Smith 1995; Veenstra 1996) will be used to illustrate various facets of how the process of relexification applies in the emergence of functional lexical entries in creole genesis. Directions for future research will be proposed in case the data or the analyses are not straightforward. Finally, it will be shown that Saramaccan presents the parametric options of its substratum languages with respect to availability of verb raising, serial verbs, double-object constructions and verb doubling phenomena. Since parameters are formulated in terms of correlations between the availability of functional categories and a related syntactic phenomenon, the fact that Saramaccan exhibits the parametric options of its substratum languages argues for the claim that the substratum functional categories have been transfered one way or another into the creole.

The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, it  shows that retention may be a source of functional categories in creole genesis, a phenomenon observed in the formation of mixed languages, but rare in creoles. Second, it substanciates the claim that substratum functional categories are reproduced in creolisation, modulo some constraints, thus invalidating the claim by Muysken (1994) that the West African morphosyntactic categories have not survived in the Caribbean creoles. Third, it provides a new set of data from which to study yet unexplored facets of the cognitive process of relexification.



Timo Lothmann (Aachen University)                                                                       6A, Saturday 3.00

On functional equivalence: Some aspects from the Tok Pisin Bible translation


A full translation of the Bible has been available for Tok Pisin since 1989. This work was carried out mainly by expatriate missionaries and linguists who succeeded in producing an adequate vehicle for Christian ideology. The content of the biblical stories telling of alien cultures was carefully geared towards the target group: the diverse peoples of Papua New Guinea, themselves nowadays positioned between their own traditions and influences from Western modernity.

The translators took various linguistic and stylistic decisions in the Buk Baibel to render it into an appropriate, lasting version which could be accepted and appreciated by contemporary speakers of Tok Pisin nationwide. In doing so, the translators have created a piece of literature which is, at the same time, influential in terms of standardization of the chosen lectal variety. As a by-product, a religious register in its own right became codified. In the present paper, this “cultural bridging” carried out by the Bible translators is exemplified by chosen examples from different types of text and illustrations. These are discussed in the context of translation theory, especially concerning the principle of functional equivalence, which aims at aemulatio rather than imitatio. In this respect, the application of qualitative valuation criteria appears to be legitimate. Further criteria concerning a translation of quality are: devotion to the “oral principle”, avoidance of anachronisms, lexical precision, consistency of grammatical rules and aesthetic enjoyment.



Charles Mann (University of Surrey)                                                                         4B, Friday 10.30

Anglo-Nigerian Pidgin in the marketplace in urban, northern Nigeria: Use, functions and attitudes.


Anglo-Nigerian Pidgin (ANP), or ‘Nigerian Pidgin English’, is an endogenous, Atlantic pidgin, which evolved from contacts between the diverse tribal peoples on the coastlines of part of the-then ‘slave coast’ (present-day Nigeria), and, principally, Portuguese sailors (15th century) and British traders, missionaries and colonial officials (especially from the 18th century).

As a follow-up to a large scale survey of attitudes toward Anglo-Nigerian Pidgin (ANP) in urban, southern Nigeria in the mid and late 1990s, this recent survey investigates the state of ANP in the public marketplace in urban, northern Nigeria, in terms of its use, functions and attitudes toward it.

The survey covered six centres (Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Maiduguri, and Yola) - the main urban centres from the geographic west to east; Kaduna was used as the control centre, given its more linguistically heterogeneous nature.

Prior to the survey, the author’s expectation was that, given the more linguistically homogeneous nature of northern Nigeria, where Hausa (and not English) reigns supreme as the regional lingua franca, the use, functions and attitudinal profile of ANP would be more diminished than in the urban south, where ANP is more preponderant as the most popularly used language of interethnic communication, and the third language of most urban, southern Nigerians (Mann, 1993b; 2000a; 2000b; Faraclas, 1996).

The domain of the marketplace was specially selected for investigation, given the transactional nature of its core activities.

The findings also go some way in completing the national picture of the use, functions and attitudinal profile of ANP, whose ever-increasing sociolinguistic vitality is not in doubt.



Stephen Matthews (University of Hong Kong)                                                           6B, Saturday 3.00

Virginia Yip (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Bilingual first language acquisition and the mechanisms of substrate influence


This paper draws together two fields of study, early bilingual acquisition and language contact, showing close parallels between transfer at the individual and substrate influence at the societal level. Romaine (1996) emphasizes that ‘the bilingual individual is the ultimate locus of language contact’, while Thomason (2001) considers bilingual first language acquisition as a mechanism of contact-induced change which has been relatively little studied to date. Pursuing these two ideas, we show how the developmental patterns in bilingual Cantonese-English children parallel prominent features in a contact variety of English, namely Singapore Colloquial English, spoken by a community of native speakers (Gupta 1994). At the individual level, we document the gradual development of some grammatical features of the bilingual children’s English, while at the societal level, we show that what takes a generation to develop as a distinct variety of English in a community can develop naturally in these children in a matter of a few years.

The bilingual children investigated are from one parent – one language families in Hong Kong who have been exposed to English and Cantonese since birth. They are studied longitudinally using a large corpus of recorded interaction in the two languages (between age 1;6 - 3;6) as well as diary data (from age 1;0 - 5;0). We show that language contact features independently developed in these subjects' English recapitulate those found in Singapore Colloquial English, a variety of English that is given rise by a language contact situation involving Chinese dialects, Malay and English. Cases of grammaticalization of English lexical items, illustrated by already as an aspect marker (1), give as a passive marker (2) and one as a nominalizer (3), are shown to occur ontogenetically in parallel to the contact-induced grammaticalization observed in Singapore Colloquial English (Bao 1995, Bao & Wee 1999).


(1)        She wake already.  (2;06)

(2)        Here is give Timmy scratch. (points to scratched leg)  (3;06)

(3)        The... blow the flute that one?  (5;3)


The deeper interest of such comparisons between bilingual development and language contact lies in what individual bilingualism may reveal about the mechanisms by which language contact phenomena come about. At the grammatical level, we observe syntactic transfer in individual speakers; at the societal level, families or groups shifting from a Chinese dialect to English may "assimilate" the same transferred structures, which are then observable as substrate features. One implication of this line of research is that children may play a more important role as agents of contact-induced change than recent accounts such as Croft (2000) and Mufwene (2001) have suggested.



John McWhorter (UC Berkeley)                                                                            5B, Saturday 11.30

Born yesterday and on the ground running: Saramaccan as complex yet identifiably young


Following upon a series of papers in which I have argued that creole languages are synchronically identifiable as young grammars and evidence a lesser degree of complexity than older ones, this presentation furthers my thesis through a specific comparison of Saramaccan with its principal substrate language Fongbe, facilitated by my current compilation of a full-length grammar of Saramaccan with native informants and the publication of Lefebvre’s grammar of Fongbe (2001).

My metric of complexity is based on 1) number of marked phonemes and tonemes, 2) number of rules required to process syntax, 3) degree of overt marking of semantic categories that many natural languages leave to context, and 4) depth of morphophonemic processes and degree of suppletions and irregularities.

I will show that according to this metric, Saramaccan clearly demonstrates that creole languages, despite their youth, are hardly optimally “simple” grammars. For one, even after just a few centuries, Saramaccan has developed complexities internally, such as a tendency towards an overt distinction between alienable and inalienable possession, a finer-grained division of labor between copula morphemes than most creoles, a syntax-sensitive two-way negator allomorphy, etc. There are also cases where Saramaccan has retained elaborated structures from Fongbe in all of their complexity according to my metric, such as a change-of-state construction, and finally ones where Saramaccan surpasses Fongbe in complexity, such as in its multiple temporal subordinators. All of these cases are crucial demonstrations, given the frequent misinterpretation of my thesis as implying that creole languages are devoid of complexities.

However, I will also show that in the vast weight of cases, Saramaccan reproduces Fongbe structures in starkly less complex renditions, including its use of reduplication (less complex phonologically and tonologically and mapped to fewer semantic distinctions), tone sandhi (Fongbe’s is sensitive to phonology, constituent class and syntactic configuration while Saramaccan’s is only sensitive to syntax), and serial verbs (Fongbe recruits serials in more deeply grammaticalized functions and in opaquely lexicalized pairs). The difference between these two grammars is due to Saramaccan’s origins amidst widespread second-language acquisition in untutored contexts offering little access or motivation to full acquisition of the lexifier (i.e. pidginization), followed by reconstitution as a full language just a few centuries ago. Given that older languages’ complexities have resulted from millennia of gradual, fortuitous accretions, we would predict that creole languages would display an identifiably lesser degree of the kinds of complexities that are unnecessary to full, nuanced communication. In this vein I will show that despite its obvious elaborations, compared to older grammars Saramaccan displays few if any features in any area of its grammar that are especially complex in the cross-linguistic sense.

Finally, I will address the hypothesis of some creolists such as Lefebvre and DeGraff that the observable differences between creoles and their lexifiers trace to syntactic processes familiar in older languages’ life-cycles. The features distinguishing Saramaccan and Fongbe are for the most part tangential to the processes that modern syntactic theory addresses, such that attempts to harness a creole genesis theory to such operations alone will by necessity gloss over an uncomfortably large amount of data.



Ronald C. Morren (Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics)                                     3A, Thursday 4.30

Creole trilingual education - San Andres Island, Caribbean


This paper presents an “applied linguistic issue”. Its primary focus is education, though historical, social, linguistic, and orthographical features are entertwined and are acknowledged and dealt with.

Research in the past 50 years supports UNESCO’s position that

 “It is axiomatic that the best medium for teaching a child is his mother tongue… Educationally, he learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium” (UNESCO 1953: 11).

This presentation reports on a trilingual education project on the Colombian owned Caribbean Island of San Andres. On San Andres, an English lexifier Creole language is spoken known as Islander English. The main inhabitants of San Andres are of African descent. In the mid 1800s a school was established for the Islanders using standard English as the medium of instruction. “By the end of the 19th century more than 90% of these [Islanders] were able to read and write in English” (Vollmer, 1997:56). In 1953 Colombia declared San Andres Island a free port. Many Hispanic Colombians moved to San Andres to establish duty free businesses precipitating a demographic, economic, and linguistic change. Before long, government services were being conducted in Spanish, including public education.

Islander English-speakers became alarmed that their mother tongue, values, and cultural mores were being eroded. They recognized the importance of knowing Spanish, but did not want to lose their identity as Islander English-speakers. Therefore, some form of bilingual education utilizing both English and Spanish that simultaneously passed on their cultural heritage was favored.

After discussing various instructive possibilities with Islander English-speaking leaders a trilingual education approach was agreed upon. This begins schooling with Islander English, proceeds to standard English, and then Spanish. The goal at the end of primary schooling is age appropriate language proficiency in these three languages.

It is hypothesized that San Andres Island children who, during their pre-first and first grade of school are taught in their mother tongue and are given mother tongue support in subsequent grades, will do better academically in the content areas such as mathematics, social science, and natural science. Further, upon completion of primary school these children will be able to speak a second and third language (i.e. English and Spanish) as well as or better than other Island children who did not receive instruction in the mother tongue.

The presentation will describe the model in detail, the procedures for standardizing the orthography, the development of curriculum materials to date, and reactions of Islander English-speakers.



Salikoko S. Mufwene (University of Chicago)                                                              8, Sunday 10.10

The development of creoles in Hawai‘i and the Caribbean: How similar were the ecologies?


The following two assumptions about the development of creoles have been almost universally accepted: 1) The contact ecologies that produced them are very similar, if they are not identical, especially regarding the kind of linguistic heterogeneity that made it critical to develop a “medium of interethnic communication”; 2) creoles have developed according to the same evolutionary master plan, regardless of whether or not we factor in “decreolization” and/or Derek Bickerton’s “pidginization index” (1984), which account for variation among those that share the same lexifier. Both assumptions have virtually survived the ongoing debate about whether creoles really developed from erstwhile pidgins.

Hawai’i has figured prominently in Bickerton’s arguments for the pidgin-to-creole evolutionary trajectory and in support of the discontinuity hypothesis relative to the lexifier. In this paper, I invoke data from the socio-economic history of the colonization of this archipelago by Europeans, especially at the time of the introduction of sugar cane cultivation, the main catalyst industry in almost all cases associated with the development of creoles. I compare these facts with what we know about the Caribbean. I also capitalize on my observation in Mufwene (2000) that “creolization” is a sociohistorical, not a structural diachronic, process; and I take into account the differential fates of the substrate languages in the Caribbean and in Hawai’i. I then address the following question: Can one easily generalize from the Caribbean to Hawai’i or vice versa?

Re-examining recent publications by Hirokuni Masuda and Sarah Roberts, I address the following other questions: 1) Did Hawaiian Pidgin English (HPE) and Hawaiian Creole English (HCE) develop in exactly the same settings? 2) Did HCE really develop from HPE? 3) Were there counterparts of HPE in the Caribbean, or should we rather look for counterparts of Pidgin Hawaiian in the Caribbean? 4) What role did Hawaian Pidgin play in the development of either HPE or HCE? 5) And what role are Caribbean “baragouins” (as the French labeled those varieties that developed from Europeans’ interactions with Native Americans) likely to have played in the development of Caribbean creoles?

Finally, I will address the following evaluative question about the contribution that creolistics can justifiably be expected make to general linguistics: Can creolists have been prevented from learning informative lessons about the role of socio-economic ecology in an otherwise normal differential language evolution anywhere by the following factors among a host of others: 1) too much eagerness to treat creoles as interesting deviations from “normal” language evolution; 2) precocious zeal to account uniformly for developments that have really varied from one setting to another; and 3) disregard for the complex history of population movements and for the kinds of interactions among the relocated populations when the nature of the research on the development of creoles militates that such factors be incorporated in our analyses?



Susanne Mühleisen (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität)                                         2B, Thursday 2.30

Emil Schwörer’s Kolonialdeutsch (1916): A historical note on a planned pidgin German


Kolonialdeutsch (1916) was a proposal for a rudimentary contact language with a German base which was supposed to be used for administrative purposes in the then colonial South West Africa. Despite the ultimate futility of this project, Schwörer's booklet gives insight first of all to then prevailing notions of grammatical models and principles of a minimal contact variety – Kolonialdeutsch was highly influenced by Schwörer's knowledge of Nigerian Pidgin English. Secondly, this document also highlights the social context of colonial contact situations and the linguistic ideology of the time.

In this paper, the historical background of the colonial project Kolonialdeutsch will be discussed. Furthermore, it introduces grammatical forms and lexicon chosen for the "planned German colonial language" in comparison to (real) pidgins with a different lexical base. The structure of the proposed pidgin German will also be compared with data of language situations from historical sources like diaries. As an outlook, Kolonialdeutsch will then be placed in a framework of other contemporary minimal and/or artificial language projects.



Schwörer, Emil. 1916. Kolonial-Deutsch. Vorschläge einer künftigen deutschen Kolonialsprache in systematisch-grammatikalischer Darstellung und Begründung. Diessen: Huber.



Jennifer. M. Munro (University of New England)                                                        4A, Friday 11.00

Morpho-syntactic substrate influences in Australian Kriol.


It is recognised that Pidgins and Creoles (P/Cs) include features transferred from their substrate languages, most noticeably in phonology and lexicon. Research shows that there are also significant morpho-syntactic influences transferred to P/Cs (eg Keesing 1988; Lefebvre 1998; Koch 2001). The problem remains in predicting which features can or cannot be transferred, or in other words, constraining the potential transfer. Siegel (1999) has suggested constraints from the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) are relevant for this purpose.

The relationship of Kriol, a creole language of Northern Australia, to its substrate languages is problematic. Kriol spreads across a vast area that covers at least 6 distinct linguistic regions, each with at least 5 distinct languages spoken or known by the population. The issue of substrate influence, it seems would be best tackled in individual regions.

To begin this field of research and initially overcome this problem, my current research takes the oldest recorded variety, Roper Kriol and compares it to its most influential substrate languages (Alawa, Marra, Warndarrang, Ngalakgan and Nunggubuyu) with respect to morpho-syntactic influences. I apply the Reinforcement Principle of Frequency to the substrate languages, which provides predictions. I have found that frequency alone cannot predict feature retention in Kriol. It is necessary to apply the Availability Constraint of Perceptual Salience to more accurately do this, as I show in the following examples.

These transfer constraints taken from Siegel (1999) are applied to the pronominal system. Found in all the substrate languages are portmanteau pronominal prefixes, which, on the basis of frequency, would be predicted to appear in Kriol.


Example 1- Ngalakgan:    



YOU shouldn’t hit ME. (from Merlan 1983: 87)


But there is no perceptually salient feature in English, the superstrate language. Even though all the substrate languages employ this feature, it cannot be transferred to Kriol as there is no feature in English which could act as a conduit. This may explain why there is no such feature in Kriol.

Another high frequency feature of the substrate pronominals is the minimal-augmented system of number.


Table 1.Kriol personal pronouns




Unit Augmented




ai/mi      (1Sg)


mela/melabat  (1EX PL)



yunmi    (1IN DU)


wi                    (1IN PL)



yu          (2Sg)

yundubala  (2 DU)

yumop             (2 PL)



im          (3Sg)

dubala        (3 DU)

olabat              (3PL)


While English does not employ such a classification system, there are perceptually salient forms in English on which to base the pronoun forms.


Table 2:  Perceptually Salient forms


Kriol pronoun

English form


Kriol pronoun

English form











‘you and me’


‘me and two fellas’








‘you and two fellas’

‘two fellas’

'me and all about'

‘you mob’

‘all about’



This feature being high in frequency in the substrate, as well as having perceptually salient forms in English, is therefore transferable to Kriol.

These transfer constraints when used in conjunction have some success in predicting feature retention in Kriol and this could have practical implications for substratist studies.



Anthony J. Naro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)                                           7B, Saturday 4.30

Maria Marta Pereira Scherre (Universidade de Brasilia)

The concept of irregular linguistic transmission and the structural origins of Brazilian Portuguese


We discuss the concept of irregular linguistic transmission, invoked to account for differentiation between Standard European Portuguese and Popular Brazilian Portuguese.

We start out from the fact, shown in Naro & Scherre (2000), that nativization of Portuguese in Brazil included in its initial stages the variable structures erroneously assumed in the literature to be exclusively Brazilian. As we have shown, no new structures were created during nativization, which merely witnessed the increase in frequency and social dispersion of certain structures, such as variable number concord, already extant in dialects of low social prestige, but used only marginally in more prestigious circumstances. Other structures, unmarked in terms of social prestige, either maintained the same rates of use as the period of colonization (use of article before possessives) or else decreased in frequency (occurrence of null subjects).

We discuss specifically increase in explicit subjects in Brazilian Portuguese, attributed by Lucchesi (2003:278-279) to the process of ‘irregular linguistic transmission’, but not usually to be found in lists of classic pidgin/creole processes. In fact, we find the opposite in Haiti, where the creole does not require subject pronouns despite the fact that European Portuguese does so.

From the formal point of view, it seems logical to assume that use of explicit subjects would increase in order to compensate for loss of corresponding verbal marks. However, the reality of natural use in spoken Brazilian Portuguese with third person plural subjects is different. Numerical results based on speech of 64 literate speakers from Rio de Janeiro show that for all semantically third person plural verbs, whether overtly marked for plural or not, the overall frequency of zero subjects is 46%. For the subset of such verbs with an explicit plural mark, the frequency of zero subjects falls to 39%, while for verbs without overt plural marking, the use of zero subjects raises to 64%. We conclude that the verbal desinence does indeed influence the chances of realization of an explicit subject, but does so in the opposite direction that would be expected if the presence of the realized subject were motivated by leveling of the flexional paradigm.

Thus, whatever may have been the diachronic cause of the increased use of pronouns in subject position, the reduction in use of null subjects in Brazil cannot be viewed as due to creolization, weakening further the idea that typical features of non-standard Brazilian Portuguese are the result of irregular linguistic transmission.



Naro, A N. & Scherre, M. M. P. 2000. Variable Concord in Portuguese: the situation in Brazil and Portugal. In J. McWhorter (ed.), Language change and language contact in pidgins and creole. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 235-255.

Lucchesi, D. 2003. O conceito de transmissão lingüística irregular e o processo de formação do português do Brasil. In C. Roncarati & J. Abraçado (org.), Português brasileiro – Contato lingüístico, heterogeneidade e história. Rio de Janeiro: 7 Letras, pp. 272-284.



Adam Blaxter Paliwala (University of Sydney)                                                       1A, Thursday 11.00

Three types of creole/superstrate code mixing in Tok Pisin’


At the time of Independence for Papua New Guinea (PNG) two proposals were made for the developing relationship between the national creolised lingua franca, Tok Pisin (TP) and its lexifying superstrate, English. Over the last 28 years evidence of decreolisation (Bickerton 1975) has not been presented. However, clear diglossia (Mühlhäusler 1975) is also a problematic characterisation as TP serves as both a High code and an Low code depending on the linguistic environment (cf (Sankoff 1980; Kulick 1992) with (Wurm 1985)).

We suggest that part of the problem with earlier research is that it was not based on observations of mature communities with command over both the creole TP and English. Across the country today, code mixing both utilises and erodes diglossic associations. Our analysis of original data collected during urban fieldwork in coastal PNG over the last three years reveals three types of code mixing behaviour present in the national community. Following recent theories of language interaction in such circumstances, we suggest particular types of mixing between codes as a factor in changes in language behaviour which lead to decreolisation phenomena.


Alternation between languages is characteristic of diglossia, and can be used expressively and metaphorically. A typical example of such ‘code-switching’ from our corpus is (1):


(1)   I am the father of the child,  nau    yumi       stori.
                                                             now    1pl-incl    talk                              [TiT#08_507_41]

Insertion of English constituents into TP is a fundamental characteristic of Mühlhäusler’s Urban Pidgin, characterised as an ‘anglicised’ variety, which can be represented as an established mixed code. An example of such speech is (2), where some English words occur with high phonological integration, and some shared words are realised with an English pronunciation.


(2)   (em) i     no   stret   nogat lon  pablik, nogat  tru. Especiali wanpela
3sg  PM NEG correct NEG   PREP public    NEG    true.  Especially      one   
       touris i    kam  na     yu go,   an    I    bekim,   la      yu    mekim
       tourist    PM come CONJ 2sg go, CONJ 1sg respond, PROX 2sg   make

       pundaun, ah, se someting olsem   asd as .. o     PK   o     samting
go.down         -      something     similar   -    ash  CONJ gum CONJ something       [TiT#10b_05_L92]   

A third type of code mixing, described as Congruent Lexicalisation (Muysken 2000), has also been observed. Utterances such as (3) suggest the existence of a shared TP/English system for some speakers:


(3)   ol problems yumi     gat    athin  its about  taim yumi mas    lukluk lo
PL                    1pl-incl POSS I.think                               time 1pl-incl must   look    PREP

s(h)aping of sampela long te(r)m cau(n)sel wok then yu
                      some                            counsel        work           2sg

when say: klostu    lo       selebrat-im    silewa  jubili  bilo     yumi.
CONJ   SUGG  PROX  PREP   celebrate-TRS        silver     jubilee  PREP  1pl-incl     [TiT#10b_07_L42]

Through these observations the influence of Eng on TP emerges from commonplace bilingual behaviours, observed in non-creole communities around the world (Poplack 1980; Myers-Scotton 1993; Muysken 2000). Among the middle class (Gewertz and Errington 1999) we illustrate norms of behaviour based on bilingualism with English which inform our understanding of change in present day TP and suggest historical processes in other contexts of creole/superstrate contact.



Bickerton, D. (1975). Can English and Pidgin Be Kept Apart? Tok Pisin i go we? McElhanon. Ukarumpa, SIL.

Gewertz, D. B. and F. K. Errington (1999). Emerging class in Papua New Guinea : the telling of difference. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Kulick, D. (1992). Language shift and cultural reproduction: socialization, self, and syncretism in a Papua New Guinean village. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Mühlhäusler, P. (1975). Sociolects in New Guinea Pidgin. Tok Pisin i go we? McElhanon. Ukarumpa, SIL: 59-75.

Muysken, P. (2000). Bilingual Speech: a typology of code-mixing. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Myers-Scotton, C. (1993). Duelling languages: grammatical structure in codeswitching. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Poplack, S. (1980). “Sometimes I'll start a sentence in Spanish y terminol Espanol”: Toward a Typology of Code-Switching. Linguistics 18: 581-618.

Sankoff, G. (1980). The social life of language. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Wurm, S. A. (1985). The Status of Tok Pisin and attitudes towards it. The Handbook of Tok Pisin: 65-74.



Jorge E. Porras (Sonoma State University)                                                                6C, Saturday 2.00

Temporal frames: in narrative discourse:a comparative analysis of three Afro-Iberian creoles


Andersen. (1990:90; 1999:355) argues for a comparative tense-aspect analysis of the Portuguese- and Spanish-based Creoles, especially at the discourse level. This paper aims at expanding the scope of Andersen’s analysis to include the entire TMA system in the narrative discourse interpretation of three Afro-Iberian Creoles: Palenquero, Papiamentu, and Cape Verdean. It is thus shown that (1) the narrative texts chosen here are representative of Portuguese- and Spanish-based Creole discourse in terms of their shared semantic and pragmatic properties; (2) these Creoles exhibit substrate-based pre- and post-verbal TMA affixes at the clause and sentence levels, while exhibiting superstrate-based markers at the discourse level; and (3) the narrative texts of these three Creoles typically replicate functional strategies of their corresponding lexifiers, at a discourse level.

This analysis comprises two comprehensive temporal frames: (a) a morpho-syntactic frame that ranges over temporal meanings within the clause and sentence scope (such as affix markers, verbs, adverbs, and auxiliaries); and (b) a discourse-functional frame that ranges over temporal meanings within the inter-sentential and whole text scope (such as S(peaker)-R(eference)-E(vent) relations, including deictic information about distance and perspective). Applying these notions to the narrative texts of the three Creoles studied, the following relevant data are considered for the morpho-syntactic frame:


                                Tense markers    Aspect markers        Modal markers              


PALENQUERO:         bae /tan; á/tá         á/tá; -ba-                 -ké-


PAPIAMENTU:         lo; -kaba               á- / tabata-               lo…a


CAPE-VERDEAN:      ta - ba; ja              ta;  sta - ba              sta; -ba   


As for the discourse-functional frame is concerned, an analysis is made that involves semantic as well as pragmatic considerations according to a version of Reichenbach’s SRE time-point scale. It should be noted that the two above-mentioned frames are interactive and mutually dependent in the universe of discourse.

A conclusion is drawn that, although grammatical and lexical information contribute the raw material, notions such as temporal distance, event relations, and discourse participants’ perspective play a central role in the narrative discourse interpretation of these Creoles. A more general conclusion is that some of the above notions are governed by universal principles of language discourse structure.



Andersen, Roger W. (1990). Papiamentu Tense-Aspect, with Special Attention to Discourse. In Pidgin and Creole Tense-Mood-Aspect Systems. John V. Singler, (ed.). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Andersen, Roger W. (1999). Temporal Frames in Spoken Papiamentu Discourse. In Creole Genesis, Attitudes and Discourse. John R. Rickford and Romaine, Suzanne , (eds.). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Friedemann, Nina S.; Patiño R., Carlos. 1983. In Lengua y sociedad en el Palenque de San Basilio. Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

Macedo, Donaldo Pereira. (1979). A Linguistic Approach to the Capeverdean Language. Dissertation Abstracts International 40. Ann Arbor, MI.

Reichenbach, H. 1947. Elements of Symbolic Logic. New York: Macmillan.

Schwegler, Armin 1992. Future and conditional in Palenquero. Journal of Podgin and Creole Languages. 7.2. 223-59.

Silva, Izione S. (1990). Tense and Aspect in Capeverdean Crioulo. In Pidgin and Creole Tense-Mood-Aspect Systems. John V. Singler, (ed.). Amsterdam: Benjamins.



Sarah J. Roberts (Stanford University)                                                                   1B, Thursday 10.30

Viper Pidgin, good English, and the language of the enemy: Language ideology in Territorial Hawai‘i


As Mufwene (2000:76-77) points out, creoles are socially disenfranchised dialects of colonial vernaculars. Hawai‘i Creole English is certainly no exception to this pattern. It developed in the early Territorial period (1900-1925) as the primary vernacular in native Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Asian communities, in part through a shift from ancestral languages (ALs) to pidginized English. The sociopolitical system of Territorial Hawai‘i was one that deprived native Hawaiians of economic and political sovereignty, sustained a plantation-based economy that disenfranchised the laboring class and benefited the largely Haole (white) oligarchy, and increased American military presence in the Islands. In this paper, on the basis of primary documentary sources from the period, I will trace the development of linguistic ideology that similarly subordinated HCE and ALs to the Standard English (SE) of the colonial elite.

The political changes of the 1890s which led to the formation of the Territory helped promote the shift to HCE from ALs. English was identified as the language of America and “Pidgin” (as it was called) was the most accessible form of English in the community. The adoption of colonial American identities encouraged the use of English and stigmatized the use of ALs as “foreign” and unsuitable for American citizens.

What is not generally known is that the Hawai‘i school system initially had a fairly tolerant attitude towards “Pidgin”. The emphasis at the time was to get students to speak English instead of ALs, and “Pidgin” had a part to play in that process. Reports of school interaction between 1890-1920 show that “Pidgin” was readily spoken by locally-born students in the classroom. By the mid-1910s, however, educators realized that “Pidgin” had covert prestige for locally-born youth, who were often teased for attempting to speak SE outside of school. SE, while undoubtedly American, indexed Haole identity and the use of SE projected social inequalities between Haoles and non-Haoles within otherwise egalitarian peer relations.

The schools, the press, and other Territorial institutions adopted an increasingly confrontational attitude towards HCE in the late 1910s. Along the lines of Lippi-Green’s description of the language subordination process (1997:67-69), “Pidgin” was vilified by those claiming authority on the English language (to the point of being called an “evil” influence), non-conformers were criticized (in some cases punished with detention), conformers were applauded, and promises of a bright future offered to those who mastered the standard. One significant means of accomplishing this was “Better English Week,” during which ideological constructs on “Pidgin” and “Good English” were overtly enacted through symbolic plays, parades, banner posting, and other purportedly “fun” activities. School newspapers also featured anti-“Pidgin” editorials and cartoons that portrayed HCE as a vicious viper, an unruly delinquent, or even as a monkey-faced idiot. These depictions illustrated the views of “Pidgin” as an dangerous influence, as an unwelcome presence in the schools, and as mentally handicapping.

Such ideological work reinforced the association of SE with Haole institutional authority, sustained the existing economic system which reserved the best jobs for Haoles, and instilled derogatory attitudes of HCE in the minds of its speakers.



Suzanne Romaine (Oxford University)                                                                     7A, Saturday 4.00

Orthographic practices in Da Jesus Book. Hawai‘i Pidgin New Testament: How dey wen figga um out?


The publication of Da Jesus Book. Hawaii Pidgin New Testament (2000) by Wycliffe Bible Translators constituted a powerful act of legitimation for Pidgin in Hawaii (or Hawaii Creole English, as it is known by linguists). This paper examines the writing system used by the team of translators, who opted for an adapted form of English spelling rather than a phonemic orthography such as the one developed by Odo (1975). Their adaptations reflect some of the salient phonological features of Pidgin such as absence of post-vocalic /r/ (e.g. foeva for), /l/ vocalization (e.g. peopo people), and use of stops instead of English interdental fricatives (e.g. fadda father), etc. However, not all words which could have been respelled are actually respelled (e.g. bear instead of bea, three instead of tree, schoo instead of school) etc. Other respellings represent eye dialect, i.e. non-standard spellings that mean nothing phonetically because they convey no phonological difference from the standard, or ordinary colloquial English, e.g. nite/tonite night/tonight, etc. These inconsistencies turn up within the same word, or related word forms (e.g.. the first syllable in carpenta is not respelled even though many Pidgin speakers would not have post-vocalic /r/ in either the first or last syllable). Overall, the respellings and other lexical choices that serve as indicators of Pidgin are rather small indeed, compared to the number of words which appear in their usual English spellings. Unlike other ad hoc spelling systems, however, this one does not use apostrophes, and words that are respelled seem generally (although not always) to appear in their respelled form. I compare the translators system with the spelling practices of other contemporary authors, who tend to vary a great deal, spelling, for instance, ask as ax, ass and ask, or for as for or fo'. Da Jesus Book, however, uses only aks and fo, respectively. The dependence on English orthography, whatever its inconsistencies, has decided advantages for readers already literate in English because they know the spelling conventions. Most Pidgin speakers are not used to seeing the language written, and a phonemic-based orthography can look alien and intimidating. However, I raise the question of the extent to which the translators aim of setting a standard for written Pidgin based on its basilectal variety is well served by their orthographic practices.



Odo, Carol 1975. Phonological Processes in the English Dialect of Hawaii. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Hawaii.



Gillian Sankoff (University of Pennsylvania)                                                              4A, Friday 11.30

Substrate effects in Tok Pisin modals


The set of Tok Pisin (TP) modals includes two with English modal etymons: ken < ‘can’; and mas < ‘must’; a third, laik, from the verb ‘like’ and a fourth, nap, that from the adjective ‘enough’. Syntactic and semantic evolution away from English patterns have, however, been as dramatic in the modal system as in other areas of TP grammar. In Pattern I, ken and mas resemble their English counterparts, occurring in immediate preverbal position, as in (1). [All examples drawn from the author’s tape recorded corpus].


·           Ol  meri   MAS karim pikinini  na  stap insait long haus, NO KEN kam arasait.

         pl woman MUST carry  child  and stay inside of  house  neg CAN come outside

         ‘The women MUST take the children and stay inside; CANNOT come out’


As illustrated in (2), this pattern also includes laik and nap, neither of whose English counterparts can be used in this way.


(2)      Em i-no i-NAP lusim yutupela, ah?

         he  neg  ABLE  leave  you-dual tag

         ‘He WOULDn't leave you two, would he?’


In Pattern II, nap and laik (but not ken and mas) are also main verbs taking sentential complements as in (3):


(3)      Em  i-NAP long  kilim  mi  i-dai.

she  ABLE [comp  kill  me  die]

‘She was CAPABLE of killing (COULD have killed) me dead.’


In Pattern III, typical of the innovative NAP, the modal serves as a higher predicate with a zero subject under which an embedded sentence (with or without complementizer LONG) expresses the proposition qualified by the modal, as in (4) and (5)


(4)      I-NO   NAP           long  yutupela  marit.

neg POSSIBLE  [comp  you-dual marry]

‘You two CAN’T/MUSTN’T get married.’


(5)     I-NAP yu givim mi sampela kaikai?

POSSIBLE [you give me some food]?'

‘Can you give me some food?’


In fact, in the expression of social obligations, Pattern III is preferred over Pattern I.  As such, it resembles a frequently-attested sentence type in the early history of the Bislamic languages, and still common in TP.


(6)      NO GOOD woman make a work.

neg GOOD [ woman do work]

         ‘Women SHOULDN’T work.’  [McFarlane 1873:106 (from Tanna), cited in Crowley 1990]


A similar pattern is also attested in the Austronesian languages of Papua New Guinea.  Thus in Buang, the only way to render the English sentence ‘You can’t / shouldn’t do that’ is as in (7).


(7)      Su   LOX’VU   [be     am     guvong ngai kenega]  re.

neg  PROPER  [comp  you-pl. do    thing  that]    neg (personal field notes)

‘It is not proper that you do that.’


The paper argues that while superstrate (or early pidgin) models might be candidate sources for later creole developments, substrate syntax is in fact a more likely source. In conclusion, TP modals are compared to Bislama in which wante(m) < E. ‘want’ is added to the TP list above; laek is rarely used as a modal; and naf is an adjective, not a verb (cf. Crowley 1990).



Crowley, Terry. 1990. Beach-la-Mar to Bislama: The Emergence of a National Language in Vanuatu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Maria Marta Pereira Scherre (Universidade de Brasilia)                                             3B, Thursday 4.30

Anthony J. Naro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)

Still prospecting: More on the structural origins of Brazilian Portuguese


We continue our linguistic prospecting expedition, initiated in Naro & Scherre (2000), with the goal of presenting additional evidence of the presence in non-standard European Portuguese of features heretofore erroneously considered to occur exclusively in Popular Brazilian Portuguese. Here we pay special attention to features explicitly attributed to contact with African languages by Holm (1992).

In addition to nominal and verbal number concordance and the neutralization of the distinction between first and third person verb forms, we present evidence on the following structures, citing research on European Portuguese dialectology.

1)  simplification of syllable structure, as in felor for flor ‘flower’; pelantar for plantar ‘plant’; caracunda for corcunda ‘hunchback’; nasalization in the initial syllable of inquilibrar for equilibrar ‘balance’; variation of [l] and [r] in cramar for clamar ‘to clamor’; prantar for plantar ‘to plant’; palinigrino for peregrino ‘pilgrim’; ralu for raro ‘rare’; ralidade for raridade ‘rarity’;

2)  use of a pronoun in the nominative case as a direct object; of the oblique case as a subject; of the third-person reflexive se for other persons;

3)  variation in use of prepositions, including em ‘in’ instead of a ‘to’ and para ‘for’;

4)  use of the verb ter ‘to have’ to indicate possession and existence; frequent use of periphrastic forms; widespread reduction of mood and tense;

5)  frequent use of coordination and juxtaposition, with little use of subordination;

6)  frequent use of expletives and other emphatic processes.

The result of our prospecting permits us to refute the hypothesis that a significant set of common characteristics of contemporary Brazilian Portuguese which distinguish it from European Portuguese originated from structural characteristics of African languages. They also show the inappropriateness of comparing Popular Brazilian Portuguese (defined as “the language usually spoken by lower-class Brazilians with little education”) and Standard Brazilian Portuguese (defined as “the literary language usually spoken by educated middle and upper class Brazilians”) in order to theorize about supposed creolization in Brazil (Holm 1992:39). Finally, our results suggest the hypothesis that if there was any contact with African languages that caused structural changes in Portuguese, this contact occurred first on European soil and that the Portuguese language was transferred to Brazil with the features that later flourished there, nourished generously by the social context of general multilingualism and the acquisition of Portuguese as a second language.



Holm, J. 1992. Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese: a semi-creole. In E. & A. Kihm (eds.), Actas do Colóquio sobre “crioulos de base lexical portuguesa”, d’Andrade. Lisboa: Colibri, pp. 37-66.

Naro, A N. & Scherre, M. M. P. 2000. Variable Concord in Portuguese: the situation in Brazil and Portugal. In J. McWhorter (ed.), Language change and language contact in pidgins and creole. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 235-255.



John Schumann (UCLA)                                                                                         8, Sunday 11.00

Language evolution


This paper will discuss several issues raised in Derek Bickerton's theory of language evolution: 1) the source of grammatical structure in fully-fledged language, 2) the reasons for lack of structure in protolanguage, 3) the nature of what evolved in language evolution, 4) the problem of composed language, 5) the structure of sentences and the structure of conversation, 6) neurobiological prerequisites for language, 7) emergentism and Baldwin effects, 7) changes in the brain to accommodate language and changes in language to fit the brain, 8) what pidgin languages, signed languages, and second language acquisition may be able to contribute to our understanding of language evolution.



Armin Schwegler (UC Irvine)                                                                                 2B, Thursday 2.00

On the recent discovery of a possible Afro-Cuban creole:

Further remarks on Palo Monte (restructured Kikongo) ritual speech


At the SPCL meeting in Atlanta (Jan. 2003) I offered first data samples and a brief description of Cuban Palo Monte ritual speech, samples of which I recorded during field work in the Fall of 2002. In that paper I offered evidence that Palo Monte’s “lengua” (local name of the ritual code) continues to be spoken fluently by select groups of practitioners. I also showed that the code is heavily restructured Kikongo, brought to Cuba by African slaves (16th to end of 19th centuries).

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate further on the data I collected in the Fall of 2002, and the Palo Monte tradition in general. In so doing I will address language internal as well as external issues relevant to the study of Palo Monte speech. Among these “issues” are:


1) To what extent has Kikongo been reduced and/or restructured in Cuba?

2) Why has this still fluently spoken ritual code not been “discovered” earlier?

4) How is this occult lengua transmitted from generation to generation?

3) Is “lengua” uniform throughout the island?

5) Do (some) practitioners attempt to imitate “deep” lengua by “re-inventing” Africanizing modes of speech?

6)  What (if any) importance does lengua have today within the Palo Monte ritual tradition?

7)  Why is this once heavily stigmatized tradition currently enjoying considerable popularity, and what may this mean for the future maintenance of “lengua” in Cuba?



John Victor Singler (New York University)                                                                 8, Sunday 11.30

The Language Bioprogram Hypothesis and history


I will assess the place of the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis (LBH) in the history of creole studies, and then assess the place of history, specifically social history, in the LBH.


The place of the LBH in the history of creole studies.  From the nineteenth century onward, Two Questions have shaped creole studies:

a)       How does a creole language come into being?, and

b)       Why do creole languages share so many fundamental properties regardless of a given creole’s lexifier and substrate languages?

In modern efforts to answer the Two Questions, Derek Bickerton has been creole studies’ most prominent scholar and the LBH the pivotal concept, from its initial formulations in the 1974 Working Papers in Linguistics article through Roots of Language to the 1984 formulation and ultimately the 1988 reformulation. Certainly Bickerton’s ideas grew out of previous creole scholarship, e.g. the work of Douglas Taylor. However, what Bickerton did in the LBH that had not been done before—and this remains his central contribution to the field—was to locate his answer in the architecture of the brain rather than in, for example, the social circumstances in which creole genesis took place.


The place of history in the LBH.  Despite the widespread attention to the LBH outside of creole studies, creolists—the scholars who ought to be best able to appraise the LBH—have largely rejected it, at least in its most complete form (cf. Arends, Muysken, & Smith 1995). The bulk of the present paper is devoted to assessing one strain of creolists’ criticism of the LBH, namely the version of history that underlies it.

As part of the LBH, Bickerton distinguishes between those languages that are created catastrophically (creoles) and those that are created gradually (all other first languages). For the distinction between the two types to hold, the two must arise in drastically different social circumstances. Thus, even though Bickerton has argued that it is not the social setting of creole genesis that makes creole languages what they are, he has had to posit a particular social setting for them that apparently holds only for them.

It is true that, if there is a difference of type in language genesis as Bickerton asserts, a difference in social circumstance is necessary. However, as I have argued elsewhere (along with Arends and others), evidence from a range of disciplines—history, demography, and anthropology—makes clear that the cultural matrix of the relevant instances of creolization could not have been what Bickerton and the LBH require it to be. Further, evidence from contact linguistics undermines Bickerton’s claim that creoles are sui generis.

Taken together, these types of evidence falsify not only the history component of the LBH but also Bickerton’s claim that creole grammar is linked more transparently to brain structure than is the grammar of other languages.



Peter Slomanson (Graduate Center of the City University of New York)                         3C, Thursday 4.00

A Sri Lanka Malay grammar with VO predicates


Sri Lanka Malay “creole” preserves an overwhelmingly Austronesian lexical inventory, but its grammar has been so massively influenced by South Asian languages that its Austronesian identity is questionable.


standard Malay:   Anak nakal      sudah pergi dengan Amat.

                             child naughty PAST  go      with     Amat

                             ‘The naughty child went with Amat.’


Sri Lanka Malay:  Nakal      anak Amat sama su       pi.

                              naughty child  Amat with PAST go

                              ‘The naughty child went with Amat.’


In previous published linguistic descriptions (Adelaar 1991, Bakker 2000, based on Hussainmiya 1987), the language is treated straightforwardly as an SOV language, making it unique among varieties of Malay.


standard Malay:  Amat makan nasi.

                            Amat eat        rice

                            ‘Amat eats rice.’


Sri Lanka Malay: Amat nasi makan. (Husainmiya 1987)

                             Amat rice  eat

                             ‘Amat eats rice.’


From a typological perspective, the presence of postpositions and pronominal adjectives does suggest an SOV grammar in line with Sinhala and Tamil. On the other hand, in at least one variety of Sri Lankan Malay, matrix verbs consistently appear to the left of nominal complements. The simultaneous presence of VO predicates and restructured noun phrases distinguishes this language from both parent and (coterritorial) contact grammars. The variety of Sri Lankan Malay in question seems to approach the term “converted language” that Bakker 2000 assigns to Sri Lankan Malay generally, but given the previously unreported contrast with the verb syntax of Sinhala and Tamil, it falls substantially short of hypothetical converted language status (old lexicon, new borrowed grammar), which is a mirror image of a relexified language (old grammar, new borrowed lexicon).                                      



Kenneth Sumbuk (University of Papua New Guinea)                                            Plenary 1, Friday 9.00

Current status of Tok Pisin: Its influence on Papua New Guinea languages


Of all the eight hundred or so local languages, plus English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin remains the most widely spoken language in Papua New Guinea. Since its humble origins on the plantations of Samoa and Queensland, it has steadily gained its number of speakers –estimated to be about 4.5 million. This is more than 89% of the total population. Of these about half of the Tok Pisin speakers now speak it has a mother tongue, thus indicating its Creole status. Tok Pisin’s popularity has gone from strength to strength, and its influence in the country especially among the younger people is clearly evident in their daily speech.

A number of observers and researchers of language death have expressed concern over the rapid and widespread acceptability and use of Tok Pisin. Tok Pisin has been generally seen as a potential threat to the survival of many of the small indigenous languages. The most telling of these observations has been by Mühlhäusler (1996) and Nettle and Romaine (2000). Mühlhäusler’s linguistic prognosis is the gloomiest of all, where he predicts a complete replacement of indigenous languages by Tok Pisin. Nettle and Romaine reported Tok Pisin to be a threat to countless local vernaculars. Crowley’s (1995) observation, on the other hand, is not as gloomy as those of Mühlhäusler and Nettle and Romaine. Other observers of the influence of Tok Pisin on specific languages include Kulick (1990, 1992), Nekitel (1990), Sumbuk (1992) and Thomas (2000). They have all observed an increase in the use of Tok Pisin in an increasing number of social domains.

I will point out that there is regional variation in the influence Tok Pisin has on minority languages. Tok Pisin tends to have a greater impact in regions where diverse concentration of minority languages is at its highest. In these regions of the country, it will be shown that speakers of minority languages are readily abandoning their languages for Tok Pisin. However, in other regions, like the Highlands, despite the rapid spread of Tok Pisin, local languages are still very much used in traditional social domains.

But the most interesting observation is the deliberate discouragement of the spread and use of Tok Pisin in what is supposed to be the original home of the language in Papua New Guinea. This is the case of the Rabaul region, where about ten percent of the lexicon of the language is derived from – specifically from Kuanua, the local regional language. In this region, it is observed that children are encouraged to acquire and use Kuanua first and not Tok Pisin.

What I have observed in my research is that it is the local attitude that very much influences and determines the acceptance and spread of Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea. In some regions, the language is accepted and used as a means of communication. In others it is used as a means of showing prestige and influence, and in others it is used as a means of gaining access to the outside world and what presumed benefits it may bring.

Despite the varying reasons and attitudes for the acceptance and use of Tok Pisin, it is very much the expanding language in the country. It is the only language that has a wide ranging impact on modern Papua New Guineans.



Eileen H. Tamura (University of Hawai‘i at Ma@noa)                                               2A, Thursday 2.30

AAVE and HCE: Comparative history of educational debates with policy implications


Like African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Hawai‘i Creole English (HCE) has long been a topic of educational concern. Why? Both have been prevalent and noticeable within their communities. Both have raised questions about their role in hindering the learning of standard English (SE). Both have stymied educators and been at the center of controversial policies. A comparative history of the debates generated by these two nonstandard forms of English can be instructive. The similar myths about them and the attendant issues they raise point to policy implications.

Considerable research on dialects and creoles appeared in the 1960s and 70s (Labov, 1965; Jacobson, 1971; Landau, 1979; Wolfram & Fasold, 1974). An enlightened view of nonstandard forms of English emerged, one that recognized them to have legitimate grammatical and pronunciation patterns. Efforts were made to teach teachers about ways to help students who spoke nonstandard English (e.g. Burling, 1974; DeStefano, 1973; Fasold, 1971; Shores, 1972). Despite considerable publication on stigmatized languages, however, public understanding did not follow. Two school board controversies in Hawai‘i and Oakland attest to this lack of knowledge and to the politics of language. I provide highlights of the school board controversies and discuss reasons why stigmatized dialects persist: a critical mass of like speakers; the desire to maintain fluency; in-group identity (Giles, Bourhis, and Taylor, 1997; Rickford, 1998; Ogbu, 2000); resistance to “acting White” (Fordham and Ogbu, 1996); and issues of class (White et al., 1998).

Implications for Policymakers: Academic Achievement. Scholars note the fallacy of making a linear connection between speaking and writing (Da Pidgin Coup, 1999). Writing requires skills that are different from speaking (Shaughnessy, 1977). But even if scholars were to establish indisputably that nonstandard forms of English are not barriers to writing, schools have the responsibility of teaching SE so that students can code-switch. Students should be given the tools to enter mainstream society should they want to do so. In this light, what is the best way to teach SE while at the same time respecting native dialects? The pedagogical literature (e.g. Harper, Braithwaite, & LaGrange, 1998; Hoover, 1998; Perry & Delpit, 1998; Taylor, 1998; University of Hawai‘i, 2000) argues that teachers should understand the causes of student resistance, teachers should start from where the student is, teachers and students should understand the grammatical structure of the nonstandard dialect, and teachers should understand the sociological causes of low student achievement.

Politics of Language. The way people attach prestige to different language varieties, and the connection between marginal dialects and lower socioeconomic classes, make nonstandard forms of English ripe for educational controversy. In Oakland and Hawai‘i, native speakers were strong critics of AAVE and HCE—an


illustration of cultural hegemony (Hall, 1997; Reyes 1987; Lippi-Green, 1997; Corson, 1991). Despite more than three decades of sociolinguistic research, scholars have made little headway in eliminating public ignorance about language diversity. The uproars in Hawai‘i and Oakland demonstrate the need for educators to anticipate controversy. Moreover, linguists must continually spend considerable effort in educating each new generation.



Tonjes Veenstra (John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University Berlin)                              6B, Saturday 2.00

Head ordering in synthetic compounds: acquisition processes and grammatical theory


Synthetic compounds in the Surinamese Creoles are of particular interest to creole studies, since neither the superstrate language (English) nor the major substrate language (Gbe) seems to have been the model for the head-modifier order in these constructions. Thus, in both these languages the order of the noun-verb combination is the mirror image of the order found in Saramaccan:


 (1)       a.   VN-ma         Saramaccan

            b.  NV-er           English

            c.   NV-tó          Gbe


The issue we want to address in this paper is to which factor in the creolization process his ordering difference is due: second or first language acquisition?

Although synthetic compounds is a relatively unexplored topic in SLA, all the studies (Boucher 1990 on French learners, Lardiere 1994, 1995, Lardiere & Schwarz 1997 on Spanish learners) report that “errors” were made in affixation, head-modifier order, and semantic interpretation, due to (UG-constrained) L1 influence. If the head-modifier order in interlanguages is due to L1 influence in SLA, we would expect that the order of Gbe (NV) would have survived in the Saramaccan, contrary to fact.

Studies on the L1 acquisition of synthetic compounds (Clark & Hecht 1982, Clark, Hecht & Mulford 1986, Clark & Berman 1987, Clark & Barron 1988, Clark 1993) show that initially children have problems in determining the correct position of the affix as well as the head-modifier order. The latter is particularly unstable in the first few years (in production as well as comprehension). Three stages are distinguished. By the first stage, children are able to produce agentive V+MAN (e.g. fix-man) compounds. At this point, modifier and head appear in compound order. Clark et al. suggest that children have made a generalization about head position: the rightmost noun designates the semantic category. At the second stage, compounds are formed with canonical predicate order. Clark et al. suggest that another generalization, which concerns only VN combinations, is being made: “… what children at this stage appear to do is nominalise the verb phrases in the descriptions they hear.” The third stage of verbal compound acquisition is merely the realization that canonical predicate order does not apply to verbal compounds. Thus, the head-modifier order in Saramaccan corresponds to stage 2. We argue that the creators of Saramaccan stuck to this order due to the structurally-underdetermined input they encountered. The conclusion, therefore, is that the head-modifier order in synthetic compounds is due to FLA.

The position of the affix, however, is not so readily explained in a FLA scenario, since in stage 2 the affix is on V, N or both, the V-ER+N pattern being most frequent. There are two possible analyses: (i) –ma was at first not an affix in Saramaccan; (ii) –ma is an affix from the start and its final position is due to the Head Ordering Principle of Hawkins & Cutler (1988). We argue for the latter, and give an account in terms of psycholinguistic processing preferences.

We give a DM-analysis of synthetic compounds as nominalized VPs which crucially involves zero-affixation.



Paul Wexler (Tel-Aviv University)                                                                             4B, Friday 11.00

The advantages of a blockage-based etymological dictionary for suspected or proven

creole and non-creole relexified languages (Extrapolating from the Yiddish experience)


Etymological dictionaries of relexified languages imitate traditional etymological dictionaries and confine themselves primarily to the relic substratal and unique superstratal corpus.



Contrary to the traditional view that Yiddish derives from German, I argue that it is a mixed West-East Slavic language twice relexified to Middle High German (and secondarily to Hebrew), first in the German-Sorbian area by the 12th and then in the Ukrainian-Belarusian lands by the 15th century (see my Two-tiered relexification in Yiddish: Jews, Sorbs, Khazars and the Kiev-Polessian dialect, Berlin-New York 2002). As there are no Yiddish etymological dictionaries, I am preparing a unique dictionary that will take the primary superstratal lexifier (German) as the point of departure. Hopefully, this approach will serve as a model for Creole lexicography.

Traditional dictionaries and etymological discussions of Yiddish (1) derive Slavisms (c. 10% of the lexicon) indiscriminately from the closest-sounding source; (2) reconstruct proto-Yiddish Germanisms (c. 75%); (3) treat “Hebrew” (c. 15%) as a single Semitic lexifier; (4) cite Germanic cognates; (5) alphabetize by root; (6) list only the current corpus of Yiddish.

In contrast, my dictionary will (1) suggest how to distinguish retained Slavic substrata from post-relexificational superstrata; rejects (2) and (4) (instead, the user is referred to etymological dictionaries of German, Slavic and Semitic Hebrew); (3) explicitly distinguishes (for the first time) genuine Semitic Hebraisms from “Hebroidisms” invented in Yiddish explicitly to replace blocked Germanisms; (5) favors synonym/antonym sets over alphabetical listing and (6) cites both actual and potential (i.e. blocked) Yiddish Germanisms in comparison with the total German and Slavic paradigms in order to motivate superstratal blockage. My dictionary also aims (7) to distinguish between the two stages of relexification (from West or East Slavic).

There are two advantages to my proposed format:

1)  In relexification, the superstratal lexicon licensed for acquisition is largely predictable. Since much German vocabulary is blocked by the semantic and syntactic parameters of the substratal Slavic grammars, the German component of Yiddish is, not surprisingly, considerably smaller than that of any German lexifier. The lexical gaps are filled by Hebraisms (a secondary lexifier) or, in partially specifiable semantic domains, by unrelexified Slavisms; where Hebraisms are lacking, Yiddish invents “Hebroidisms” (relexification alone explains why Yiddish Hebraisms greatly exceed the Hebrew corpus of all other Jewish languages). Hence, in proven relexified languages, my format explicitly displays the process of relexification word by word (a) by showing the extent and location of blockage, and (b) by motivating the use of replacements.

2)  In languages where relexification is suspected, my format provides an ideal diagnostic test for relexification.

Unfortunately, the dictionaries of F.G. Cassidy and R.B. LePage (Dictionary of Jamaican Creole English, Cambridge 1979) and R. Allsopp (Dictionary of Caribbean English usage, Oxford 1996), in addition to the remarks in the first paragraph above, ignore the possibility of predicting and motivating superstratal blockage altogether.



Laura Wright (University of Cambridge)                                                                1B, Thursday 11.00

Black speakers on the island of St Helena, 1695-1711


I have recently been transcribing data from the St Helena Consultations, 1695-1711. The small island of St Helena in the South Atlantic was owned by the English East India Company from 1673, and on it lived white East India Company free planters and other employees, white soldiers at the garrison, black slaves belonging to the Right Honourable Company, black slaves belonging to the free planters, and a few free black planters who had been granted their freedom and who may have been slave-owners


The Consultation books now kept at the Oriental and India Office in the British Library in London preserve the Court Recorder's transcript of the Court proceedings which regularly took place on St Helena, including to putative slave uprisings (the slaves did not, in fact, rise up). In my presentation I shall focus on the black slaves' testimonies before the Governor and the Court, showing that in the late seventeenth century the slave community on St Helena was at least trilingual. The three languages spoken by the slaves were:

1.  what I term basilectal late-seventeenth/early-eighteenth-century English, that is, the kind of nonstandard Southern English spoken by the free planters and the soldiers. This is the default language in which the slaves (and everyone else) speak before the Court.



2.  Portuguese. The slaves do not speak in Portuguese before the Court, but some of the slaves report that they could not understand the ringleaders when they were plotting in Portuguese, a language used deliberately so that the non-rebelling slaves would not understand. Several of the slaves have Portuguese names, showing that their enslavement was carried out by Portuguese slavers.

3.  Pidgin English. There is very little Pidgin English in the slaves' testimonies but there is some, and as it is at such an early date it is important. This is compounded by the fact that the slaves use Pidgin English to talk to each other as well as to the Governor, and some Pidgin English speakers also seem to speak basilectal English, and hence codeswitch.

Finally, using lists of the slaves’ names (eg Angola, John Batavia), I shall posit the homelands of some of the slaves, which included parts of Africa, Java, and unspecified places in the ‘East Indies’.

I believe that this data may have some relevance to the debate about the language situation on other early plantations. As slaves seem to have commanded both basilectal English and Pidgin English on St Helena, possibly they spoke both varieties on other plantations too.