LINGUIST List 15.1212

Wed Apr 14 2004

Diss: Ling Theories: Peet: 'Relativization...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. drpeet, Relativization in a Creole Continuum

Message 1: Relativization in a Creole Continuum

Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 15:25:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: drpeet <>
Subject: Relativization in a Creole Continuum

Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1978

Author: William Peet

Dissertation Title: Relativization in a Creole Continuum

Linguistic Field: Linguistic Theories

Subject Language: Hawai'i Creole English (code: HAW)

Dissertation Director 1: Derek Bickerton
Dissertation Director 2: Michael Forman
Dissertation Director 3: Richard Day
Dissertation Director 4: Stanley Tsuzaki

Dissertation Abstract:

Relativization in a Creole Continuum is an in-depth study of the
dcreolization of the relative clause in Hawaiian Creole. Included in
the Appendix are all the data used to draw conclusions for the study,
with speaker by speaker analysis of each token.

The main thrust of the study is to relate synchronic variation between
three different relative clause types to diachronic evolution of those
three types. This general relationship is stressed in recent
literature on variation theory (Bailey 1973, 1974, and Bickerton
1973b). It is claimed in this dissertation that the synchronic
variation of one group of speakers, those who generally used
'most-creole' forms in all aspects of their speech, according to
Bickerton (1977), represents the probable diachronic path of
decreolization according to a certain set of constraints. Three
possible sets of constraints are compared, and it is shown that either
the first or the second set clearly seems to be used by the
'most-creole' speakers, while the third set is more plausible as the
one used by adult 'less-creole' speakers. The fact that this third
set is the same as Bever and Langendoen (1971) found to contrain the
evolution of the relative clause in Standard English texts is cited as
evidence that the variation patterns of already decreolized speakers
tended not to reflect actual decreolization patterns, but rather those
which have operated to constrain variation between relative clause
types in Standard English. Since the decreolized speakers are aiming
at Standard English grammar, it seems logical that they would conform
to variation patterns which existed in Standard English.
'Most-creole' speakers, on the other hand, would be most likely to
reflect in their variation patterns the course of decreolization in
Hawaiian Creole, rather than the existing variation patterns of
Standard English.
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