LINGUIST List 13.923

Wed Apr 3 2002

Diss: Socioling: Mather "Crosslinguistic Influence"

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  1. patrick-andre.mather, Socioling: Mather "Crosslinguistic Influence in SLA & Creole Genesis"

Message 1: Socioling: Mather "Crosslinguistic Influence in SLA & Creole Genesis"

Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 18:56:30 +0000
From: patrick-andre.mather <>
Subject: Socioling: Mather "Crosslinguistic Influence in SLA & Creole Genesis"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Pittsburgh (Main Oakland Campus)
Program: Department of General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2000

Author: Patrick-Andre Mather 

Dissertation Title: 
Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition and in Creole

Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics

Dissertation Director 1: Alan Juffs
Dissertation Director 2: Christina Bratt Paulston
Dissertation Director 3: Robert De Keyser
Dissertation Director 4: Mark Robert Hale

Dissertation Abstract: 

There is increasing evidence that most European-lexifier plantation
creoles developed over several generations, as successive waves of
African slaves acquired increasingly basilectal varieties of the
lexifier language, allowing shift-induced interference to play a
central role in creole genesis. If in many cases the creators of
creoles were adult learners of a second language, and if many creoles
are the result of SLA processes over several generations, the next
step is to test this hypothesis and to see whether data from current
SLA studies can shed light on the gradual creolization

In this dissertation, I show that many of the features found in
French-lexifier plantations do occur in L2 French and other
interlanguages, as a result of L1 transfer and other acquisition
processes, including the position of specifier and adjectives within
the noun phrase, the position of verbs, pronouns and full NP
complements within the verb phrase, null subjects, copula deletion,
reduplication, absence of gender marking and pre-verbal

The major claim of the "gradualist / SLA" model advocated in this
dissertation, is that creole genesis does not involve any specific
mental processes or strategies other than those found in ordinary
second language acquisition. While in normal, successful SLA, L1
transfer, relexification and reanalysis are relatively marginal in the
end, they are nevertheless present, as illustrated by the many
examples discussed in this dissertation. It is the social and
historical circumstances that accelerated the changes and allowed
"deviant" interlanguage structures to fossilize and to create a new
language in plantation societies.
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