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LINGUIST List 20.2373

Fri Jul 03 2009

Review: Typology: Ansaldo, Matthews & Lim (2007)

Editor for this issue: Randall Eggert <randylinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Felicity Meakins, Deconstructing Creole

Message 1: Deconstructing Creole
Date: 03-Jul-2009
From: Felicity Meakins <felicity.meakinsmanchester.ac.uk>
Subject: Deconstructing Creole
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Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/18/18-2131.html

EDITOR: Ansaldo, Umberto; Matthews, Stephen; Lim, Lisa
TITLE: Deconstructing Creole
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2007

Felicity Meakins, School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of
Manchester, UK

The cumulative work of the last century on creole languages has constructed a
separate typological class of language which has been described as grammatically
simple (usually defined in terms of morphology) and the result of broken
transmission and special creation processes. In more recent work these
generalizations about creole languages and their development have been
challenged (see e.g. DeGraff 2001, 2005; Mufwene 2001, 2000; Muysken 1988). Most
vocal has been DeGraff who suggests that such descriptions single out creole
languages as exceptional or different from non-creole languages. He argues that
there is little basis for the ''postulation of exceptional and abnormal
characteristics in the diachrony and/or synchrony of creole languages as a
class'' (DeGraff 2005, p. 534). Instead DeGraff suggests that this type of
exceptionalism is largely a product of a colonial discourse within academic
writings on creole languages which has acted to perpetuate the marginalization
of these languages and their speakers.

One response to this criticism has been to characterize creole languages on the
basis of common socio-historical origins rather than synchronic typological
definitions (see e.g. Mufwene 2000; Muysken 1988). Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim's
(2007) volume Deconstructing Creole provides another approach which is to
reintegrate the study of these languages in mainstream linguistic theory rather
than postulating special categories and processes such as 'creolisation'. In
this respect this book positions itself as a turning point in studies of creole
languages. Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim take DeGraff's criticism of creole
exceptionalism as their point of department, with their ultimate goal ''to
overcome the artificial dichotomy between creole and non-creole languages'' (p.
3). Where DeGraff deconstructs the typological category of creole, Ansaldo,
Matthews and Lim's volume aims to be able to describe structural as well as
socio-historical characteristics of creole languages with respect to more
general theories of language change such as evolutionary approaches and second
language learning theories.

Each paper in Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim's volume focuses on a specific aspect of
'deficit' approaches to creole languages. For example Farquharson and Aboh and
Ansaldo deal with the issue of creole grammars and exceptionality. Siegel, Aboh
and Ansaldo and Ansaldo, Lim and Mufwene suggest that creoles do not develop in
exceptional acquisition environments but other models such as second language
learning or competition models may provide clues to their origins. Finally Gill,
Farquharson and Grant address the complexity and age issue which derives from
McWhorter's (1998; 2000; 2001) suggestion that creole grammars are simple
because they are young grammars. These characteristics which have been
postulated for creoles have been criticized in previous papers. The aim of the
papers in Deconstructing Creole is to move beyond this criticism and into new
ways of describing creole languages within established linguistic theories.

1. Deconstructing creole: The rationale (1-18), Umberto Ansaldo and Stephen Matthews

2. Typology and grammar: Creole morphology revisited (21-37), Joseph Farquharson

3. The role of typology in language creation: A descriptive take (39-66), Enoch
Aboh and Umberto Ansaldo

4. Creoles, complexity and associational semantics (67-108), David Gill

5. Admixture and after: The Chamic languages and the Creole Prototype (109-139),
Anthony Grant

6. Relexification and pidgin development: The case of Cape Dutch Pidgin
(141-164), Hans den Besten

7. Sociohistorical contexts: Transmission and transfer (167-201), Jeff Siegel

8. The sociohistoric history of the Peranakans: What it tells us about
'creolisation' (203-226), Umberto Ansaldo, Lisa Lim and Salikoko Mufwene

9. The complexity that really matters: The role of political economy in creole
genesis (227-264), Nicholas Faraclas, Don E. Walicek, Mervyn Alleyne, Wilfredo
Geigel, and Luis Ortiz

10. Creole metaphors in cultural analysis (265-285), Roxy Harris and Ben Rampton

The first section in this collection deals with typology, grammar and creole
languages. Farquharson begins with a criticism of the assumption that creole
languages are morphologically simple. He observes that creole languages contain
many word-formation processes including affixation, reduplication, compounding
and zero-derivation. Inflectional morphology is generally taken as the benchmark
for language complexity, and Farquharson addresses this issue by presenting new
data from Jamaican Creole demonstrating the presence of inflectional morphology
in this language. He then challenges the assumption that inflectional morphology
is correlated with the age of a language, with younger languages tending to be
isolating (see McWhorter 2001 for a recent example of this claim). Farquharson
provides interesting evidence from another group of young languages, sign
languages, which have been shown to contain complex verb agreement systems. The
main thrust of Farquharson's chapter is a call to creolists to look more closely
at the grammars of creole languages without preconceived ideas about their

In fact, as Farquharson himself points out, numerous examples of solid data work
from creolists exist which address exactly this point. Indeed a plethora of work
has followed McWhorter's renewed claims about creoles and morphological
simplicity. For example, the two Plag (2003a, 2003b) volumes and other recent
work address the issue of simplicity from a number of angles including providing
substantial amounts of survey data of the inflectional content of pidgin and
creole languages (see e.g. Bakker 2003), taking a relative approach to
simplicity by comparing the complexity of creole languages with their different
source languages, not making blanket claims about the simplicity of a whole
grammar but looking more closely at individual subsystems (see for e.g. Siegel
2004), and finally drawing a distinction between inflectional morphology and
inflectional categories. In particular Kihm (2003) suggests that it is the
inflectional categories which are important, and creoles do mark these, albeit
often with free morphemes. Farquharson draws our attention to some of this work,
for example Kihm's paper; however, his chapter neither provides a comprehensive
overview of the existing literature, nor adds substantial amounts of new data to
this issue. Yet there are some interesting ideas which could have been developed
further such as Farquharson's comparison between sign languages and creoles as
new languages.

Aboh and Ansaldo examine the role of typology in language creation. They argue
that discussions of creole development do not require a special notion of
'creolisation' but rather general principles of language change and the
typological congruence of the input languages themselves are sufficient for
explaining their development. These notions derive from evolutionary models of
language change which utilize notions of feature competition and propagation in
speaker populations as a mechanism of language change (Croft 2000; Mufwene
2001). Aboh and Ansaldo focus on inflectional morphology, specifically in the
nominal domain. They treat the paucity of inflectional morphology as the result
of a competition and selection process between the input languages. This
competition takes place in a feature pool which is the clustering of variants
contributed by the source languages (cf. Mufwene 2001). They suggest that
successful variants are often more semantically transparent. Features are also
more likely to be propagated if a number of the contributing languages share
this feature, that is, the languages have typologically congruent structures.
Aboh and Ansaldo present two case studies of NP development from Suriname
creoles and Sri Lanka Malay. In the case of the Suriname creoles they focus on
the development of the position, form and function of the determiners. In a
detailed examination of the input languages which contribute their determiner
properties to the feature pool, they demonstrate that determiners in Suriname
creoles are more mixed than first thought. Aboh and Ansaldo show that they
derive their specificity, definiteness and number features from Gbe languages
and their form and syntax from English. Aboh and Ansaldo then shift their
attention to Sri Lanka Malay. Sri Lanka Malay has developed from an isolating
language (a contact Malay variety) to an agglutinating language under the
influence of Tamil and Sinhala. Of particular interest to Aboh and Ansaldo is
Sri Lanka Malay case markers which derive their form from Malay prepositions but
their structure from Tamil/Sinhala. They argue that Sri Lanka Malay developed
case marking as the result of Tamil and Sinhala 'ganging up' on the trade
variety of Malay. Because Tamil and Sinhala both have case-marking and are
typologically congruent, in this respect, they dominated this subsystem of the
feature pool and hence influenced the resultant structure.

In both of these case studies of noun systems, Aboh and Ansaldo successfully
utilize more general theories of language evolution which escapes from the need
for exceptionalist accounts of creole genesis. In many respects their work bears
some resemblance to Siegel's (1997) Reinforcement Principle in his Transfer
Constraints approach which suggests that if substrate languages share a
structure this increases the frequency of it and therefore its availability
making it more likely to transfer into the resultant creole. The test of such
theories is their predictive power. For example Siegel (1999) has tested his
approach with Melanesian Pidgin and has successfully accounted for seven of
eleven examined features. Nonetheless there has been at least one
counter-example to the predictive power of Siegel's model. In a study of
case-marking Roper River Kriol (Australia), Munro (2005) finds that all of the
source languages (8 in all) bar English contain case-marking yet argument and
spatial relations are marked by English-based prepositions in the resultant
language. No doubt a further examination of such case studies will be relevant
to the development of Aboh and Ansaldo's model. For example, it is likely that
the number of languages in the mix, the relative social status of languages and
length of contact between languages are relevant parameters which could affect
the makeup of feature pools.

David Gil continues the discussion of language complexity and creole languages.
Complexity is most often defined in terms of inflectional morphology and the
degree of agglutination or isolation in a language. Gil looks at complexity from
a semantic angle within his own theory of associative semantics. Gill argues
that languages exist on either end of a compositional semantics scale. On one
end there are compositionally associative languages such as Riau Indonesia where
sentences contain large degrees of semantic indeterminacy to compositionally
articulated languages where semantic categories such as number, definiteness,
tense, aspect etc are grammatically encoded. Gil argues that compositionally
associative languages are less complex than languages where semantic categories
are overtly articulated. He reviews the arguments that compositionally
associative languages are just as complex and compensate for their impoverished
morphosyntax with more complex rules of pragmatics. Gil suggests that vagueness
and ambiguity are inherent in every language to varying extents and speakers are
not faced with the task of assigning features such as number or definiteness
every time a sentence is uttered. Rather speakers retrieve only that information
which is necessary for successful communication. After demonstrating that
compositionally associative languages are in fact less complex than
compositionally articulated languages he then sets out to compare a number of
creole languages against non-creole languages which encode more or less semantic
categories. He hypothesizes that if creole languages are less complex then they
should pattern with compositionally associative languages such as Riau
Indonesian. Gil uses a picture-match experimental paradigm to test this
hypothesis. Speakers of English and Hebrew (non-isolating), Twi, Fongbe, Yoruba,
Vietnamese, Minangkabau and Sundanese (isolating), Papiamentu, Sranan and
Bislama (creole, isolating) were presented with the most grammatically simple
sentence in their language which represented a string of basic concepts such as
CLOWN DRINK BOOK. In some compositionally associative languages such as
Minangkabau this string of words constitutes a grammatical sentence. In other
languages which encode more semantic categories such as English, this sentence
required more grammatical machinery such as determiners marked for specificity
(e.g. 'the clown is drinking the book'). Then the test subjects were asked to
choose which picture (e.g. a clown drinking while reading a book) best
illustrated the sentence or whether both pictures were possible or none at all.
The languages were then measured on the availability of apparently associational
interpretations to the speakers. The results showed that the availability of
apparently associational interpretations to speakers of non-isolating languages
such as English and Hebrew was low suggesting that these languages are more
compositionally articulated. There was less correspondence between the isolating
languages including the creoles and the availability of apparently associational
interpretations. Nonetheless the creole languages showed a lower degree of
availability of apparently associational interpretations than the western
Indonesian languages, Minangkabau and Sundanese. Gil concludes that, given that
compositionally associative languages and complexity are correlated, then if a
language is a creole it is necessarily simple, but not vice versa, i.e. some
non-creole languages are also simple and indeed may be less complex than creole
languages. The comparative results are also interesting. Gil finds that a creole
language such a Sranan falls between its main lexifier language, English and its
proposed substrate language, Fongbe in terms of this measure of complexity.

Gil's paper is a welcome addition to the discussion of complexity in creole
versus non-creole languageS. He looks beyond the most usual point of comparison,
inflectional morphology, to notions of semantic encoding which may take on
different forms. His use of experimental methods is an additional tool which
complement typological comparisons and surveys.

Anthony Grant's paper also directly addresses McWhorter's (1998) Creole
Prototype, specifically the three features of the absence of inflectional
morphology, the absence of lexical tone and the absence of
non-semantically-decompositional derivation. Grant attacks McWhorter's claim
that the possession of all three features are a defining property of creole
languages. He presents evidence for the presence of these three features in a
family of non-creole languages, the Chamic languages (South-East Asian). Grant
observes that many of the Chamic languages also possess 11 of the 32 features
laid out in Bickerton's (1981) creole prototype such as a distinction between
attributive, locative-existential 'be'-verbs and double negation. Nonetheless
Grant does not consider Chamic languages to be creole languages. He claims that
the resemblance to creole languages is superficial and is due to influence from
the Bahnaric languages and the use of an early form of Cham as a lingua franca
in the region. Grant argues that Chamic languages are not creoles because they
emerged gradually from a long period of bilingualism between Chamic and Baharic
languages. Grant's arguments are presented with large amounts of data from
Chamic languages which are methodically-presented.

The detail of Grant's chapter is perhaps of more interest to the historical
linguist; however, its conclusions are directly relevant to the debate about
creole exceptionalism.

Hans den Besten reconsiders the claim that Cape Dutch Pidgin is the result of
the relexification of Khoekhoe languages. This claim was originally made by den
Besten (1978) as the result of the observation that both Cape Dutch Pidgin and
the Khoekhoe languages are SOV. In this paper den Besten looks at additional
features of Cape Dutch Pidgin to determine the processes which were responsible
for the formation of Cape Dutch Pidgin. Den Besten distinguishes between
relexification with stripping which involves the replacement of all lexical and
many functional elements of the substrate language with superstrate content
words and the 'stripping' of other functional elements such as agreement, and
relexification without stripping which is exemplified by Media Lengua. Den
Besten then examines a number of other structural features of Cape Dutch Pidgin
including pro-drop, DP word order and prepositions. Den Besten demonstrates that
relexification with stripping accounts for the pro drop feature in Cape Dutch
Pidgin. Dutch elements relexified Khoekhoe and then the subject clitic was
stripped from the resultant structure. Yet den Besten observes that this process
does not account for all features of Cape Dutch Pidgin. For example in the
formation of the DP, if relexification plus stripping were the only process
involved then both adjective-noun and noun-adjective word order would be
possible since this is the case in Khoekhoe. However only adjective-noun word
order is possible which den Besten attributes to Dutch influence. Den Besten
concludes that Cape Dutch Pidgin is the result of many processes including
relexification plus partial stripping but additionally adaptation to Dutch
syntax and, more generally, linguistic creativity. In this respect, examining
only the word order of Cape Dutch Pidgin did not provide the full picture of its

Den Besten's chapter provides a refreshing break from the focus on McWhorter's
work. It looks at a case of creole formation to which just one process was
attributed and provides a more complex picture of its formation by examining
more features.

Siegel's contribution to this volume addresses the question of whether creoles
are the result of broken or interrupted transmission. Under this view, creoles
are the result of pidgins which have stripped away much of the lexifier grammar
and then reconstituted the grammar in the process of creolisation. In this
respect creoles are so radically restructured that they bear little grammatical
relation to their lexifier language. Siegel observes that three main criticisms
to this approach have been presented: (i) that there is no evidence of a pidgin
stage for some creoles, (ii) some creoles retain morphology from the lexifiers,
and (iii) creoles' features can be explained by normal language change
processes. These criticisms have seen a shift from an emphasis on substrate
languages in the restructuring of the lexifier to a focus on the direct ancestry
from the lexifier language. For example, superstratists such as Chaudenson,
Mufwene and DeGraff all consider French creoles to be varieties of French.
Siegel believes, however, that these substrate and superstrate views are not in
opposition but merely differ in degree. Substrate theories attribute more
structural and semantic influence to the substrate languages, and superstratists
acknowledge but play down this influence. Siegel also examines the ideological
opposition to the theory that creoles began their life as a pidgin and were the
result of broken or interrupted transmission and the transfer of substrate
features. In general writers such as Chaudenson, Mufwene and DeGraff have
criticized this approach believing it to reflect racist ideologies which link
simplified or debased forms of the lexifiers with the culture and intelligence
of the speakers. Yet Siegel suggests that this view is not in line with more
general postcolonial writings from Caribbean intellectuals about creole
cultures. These writers talk about the deep continuation of African cultures
even in radically changed societies. This view has striking similarities to the
substratist take on creoles. Moreover this view attributes agency to the African
slaves in French creole settings, that is, they did not passively assimilate to
the dominant culture but they created new 'nationalities' through the blending
of cultures. As Siegel demonstrates, Chaudenson, Mufwene and DeGraff's views
which exclude the transfer of substrate features in French-based creoles do not
fit into this more generally articulated postcolonial ideology about the
continuation of African cultures. Siegel agrees that it is important to find
ways of discussing creoles that do not reflect negatively on the speakers and
their cultures, however he convincingly argues that speakers must not be denied
their heritage and hand in the creation of their languages in doing so.

In a departure from challenging the notion of shared typological features of
creoles, Ansaldo, Lim and Mufwene turn their attention to the question of
whether creoles have a shared socio-historical heritage, that is, whether all
creoles are derived from situations of severe hardship and population
displacement such as slavery. This approach to defining creoles on
socio-historical rather than typological grounds was derived as a reaction to
various notions of a creole prototype, such as that of Bickerton (1981). Yet
Ansaldo, Lim and Mufwene suggest that it is necessary to look at other
situations which do not involve a European lexifier and slavery. In this paper
they present the case of Baba Malay. Baba Malay speakers are the descendants of
Hokkein or Teochew immigrants and local Malay-speaking women. They are often
called the Peranakan Chinese. This group had a good standing in Malaya. Although
they are an ethnic minority, they have had a large social and economic influence
in this area. In this respect Baby Malay developed in a socio-historical setting
which contrasts from many languages which have been identified as creoles. The
Baba Malay lexicon is largely Malay-derived; however, Hokkien has contributed
kin terms and other culturally-salient words, for example, words for clothing,
religious ceremony and food, as well as some pronouns. Structurally Hokkien
wields more influence. Most of the functional words are also Malay-derived;
however, they often pattern according to the structure of Hokkien. Ansaldo, Lim
and Mufwene describe this influence in the domain of possessive constructions,
DP structure, passive constructions, and tense-aspect-mood marking. Ansaldo, Lim
and Mufwene present an interesting overview of Baba Malay, however their
arguments in relation to creoles remain unclear. They are reluctant to call Baba
Malay a creole but use this language to demonstrate that claims about the common
socio-historical origins of creoles provides an unsatisfactory definition of a

Indeed what Baba Malay seems to demonstrate is Thomason and Kaufman's (1988)
link between socio-historical backgrounds and structural outcomes. For example,
it could be argued that the clear Hokkien influence on the lexicon and grammar
of Malay which produces Baba Malay is the result of the relatively-high standing
of Peranakan Chinese people in Malay society, compared with the more absolute
dominance of European colonizers in creole genesis scenarios. Moreover, in the
case of Baba Malay, only two main languages seem to contribute to the mix, with
Malay slightly more dominant than Hokkien. Again this contrasts with the basis
of many creoles. Indeed Ansaldo, Lim and Mufwene make this connection between
different socio-historical backgrounds and structural outcomes. Given these
features, Baba Malay begins to look like a mixed language or perhaps a converted
language, if labels are required, though Ansaldo, Lim and Mufwene explicitly
deny this characterization.

Faraclas, Walicek, Alleyne, Geigel and Ortiz's chapter follows Ansaldo, Lim and
Mufwene's previous chapter by considering the differences in the
socio-historical origins of various Caribbean creole languages and specifically
the role of political economy in these differences in creole genesis. They
provide very detailed historical information from 17th and 18th century
Caribbean to argue that the different ways that power relations, control and
marginalization were manifested in the Spanish colonies as opposed to the
English and French colonies (and to a lesser extent Dutch and Portuguese
colonies) had an effect on the development of different contact varieties. In
particular they address the question of why creoles emerged in English and
French colonies and not Spanish colonies. They produce a typology of
colonization and creolisation which compares these three colonizers along
various socio-economic dimensions including the size of plantations, the degree
of social integration of slaves and the status of mixed descendants of the
colonizers and slaves. For example Faraclas et al bring together historical
evidence which shows that British plantations were generally larger with a
greater separation of colonists and slaves. Spanish plantations, on the other
hand, were smaller with African slaves working alongside Spanish workers and
owners. The plantations also had slightly different aims. The British
plantations were geared towards their economic output and colonizers regarded
slaves as existing solely for this purpose. Spanish plantations afforded their
slaves more rights with the goal of Spanish enculturation and religious
integration. The status of the descendants of colonizer/slave relationships were
also treated differently. The children of British and French colonists who had
African mothers were generally not recognized by their fathers. However
intermarriage between different groups in Spanish Caribbean was more common and
Spanish fathers claimed their children. Generally speaking French plantation
colonies sat somewhere between British and Spanish colonies in terms of the
economic and social position of slaves within their colonies. They were more
similar to Spanish plantation models to begin with then shifted to the
British-style model. These differences are only a few of those reviewed by
Faraclas et al and they present impressively fine-grade distinctions between the
various plantation economies. They observe that these socio-economic differences
between the colonies resulted in differing degrees of influence of the African
languages on English, Spanish and French contact varieties, with African
substrate influences much more apparent in the English-based creoles such as
Saramaccan than the Caribbean dialects of Spanish. Importantly Faraclas et al
note that the use of the term 'creole' for the English and French-based contact
languages participates in the discourse of segregation that came with social
structure of the plantation economies. The integration of slaves into Spanish
contrasts and this contrast is reflected in the characterization of the
resultant contact languages as dialects rather than creoles.

The individual contributions in this book represent many facets of new research
into the description and development of creole languages. In particular Gil's
measures of semantic complexity as applied to creoles adds another dimension to
the complexity debate which is continued in more recent work (see e.g. Miestamo,
Sinnemäki, and Karlsson 2008). Aboh and Ansaldo's application of language
evolution theories and the notion of typological congruence to the issue of
creole genesis provides a fruitful way out of exceptionalist accounts. Finally
Siegel and Faraclas et al's detailed discussions of the socio-historical
contexts keeps the languages and the issues around their development firmly
grounded in the speakers and their participation in the socio-political frames
of reference.

Despite these excellent individual contributions, at times the volume as a whole
feels somewhat reactionary rather than constructive. In particular, the first
section which focuses on typology and creole languages often takes McWhorter and
supporters' work as a starting point for criticism. This criticism is often
unfortunately laced with personal slights. For example, in supporting DeGraff's
view that myths linking creole simplicity and their speakers are still being
perpetuated by creolists, Ansaldo and Matthews make reference to a news item
rather than a linguistic work which refers to Haitian Creole as 'broken French'
(p. 13). Another example comes from Farquharson's paper where he suggests that
Cassidy may have been ''_guilty of helping to propagate the claim_ that if
Creoles have any morphology at all, it is fossilized and identical to one or
more of their source languages, especially its lexifer'' (p. 25, emphasis added).
This wording is provocative and could have been less emotively expressed as
''also claims'', for example. In general the title ''Deconstructing Creole'' could
also be seen as a deliberate jab at McWhorter's (2005) Defining Creole. These
occasional lapses into snide comments at the expense of McWhorter and others are
unnecessary and reminiscent of earlier Bickerton ''bashings''.

Finally a last reflection on the main claim of the editors which is that their
book marks a turning point in which the study of creole languages is brought out
of the exceptionalist wilderness and reintegrated into in mainstream linguistic
theory. Indeed this is a good goal. There is no reason why any language should
be treated any differently from another in terms of linguistic theory. But in
fact this was the approach of Bickerton (1981) in bringing creole languages and
their development into the dominant grammatical and acquisition theory of the
time - nativist approaches to language acquisition. Other theories of creole
genesis also find their roots in more general linguistic theory. For example
Siegel's (2000) work on Hawai'i Creole English relies heavily on the second
language acquisition literature. The issue seems to be less of general
linguistic theory than of which theory and which ideology it espouses. Creole
studies is one strand of linguistic inquiry which has always rightly questioned
the ideological 'bent' of scientific enquiry. The field understands its impact
on speakers and the position of their languages, and has chosen not to remain
staunchly apolitical or wear 'science' as discursive armor. For example it is
widely acknowledged that many of the older views of creole languages as simple,
deprived, base-forms of their lexifiers reflected contemporaneous views of their
speakers which were largely informed by unidirectional theories of evolution.
Bickerton's work was heavily influenced by the enthusiasm for the early nativist
notions of language acquisition. DeGraff's own work leans heavily on concepts
present in postcolonial critical theory which is a reaction to the cultural
legacy of colonialism. DeGraff and others' work has produced a heightened
awareness of the discourse which is used to describe creoles has meant that
phrases, which are emotionally neutral in typology or even historical
linguistics, such as 'simplification' and 'reduction', evoke intense feeling.

In this respect it is somewhat unself-reflexive of the authors not to recognize
the ideological underpinnings of their own work. Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim
position themselves within emerging theories of language evolution that provide
generalist frameworks for language contact and change for all languages
regardless of their labels, for example, creoles, mixed, or so-called normal
languages. In this respect, what is new about this approach is not the use of
general linguistic theory but what this theory represents: the equal and
undifferentiated treatment of creoles and their speakers. The ultimate endpoint
is to discard the categories and labels such as 'creole' and 'mixed language'.
Indeed this is a stated aim of Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim, though it is clear
that many of the contributors to this volume do not work from this position.

Bakker, Peter. 2003. Pidgin inflectional morphology and its implications for
creole morphology. In _Yearbook of Morphology 2002_, edited by G. Booij and J.
van Marle. Great Britain: Kluwer.

Bickerton, Derek. 1981. _Roots of language_. Ann Arbor: Karoma.

Croft, William. 2000. _Explaining language change: An evolutionary approach_.
Harlow, England: Longman.

DeGraff, Michel. 2001. Morphology in creole genesis: Linguistics and ideology.
In _Ken Hale: A life in language_, edited by M. Kenstowicz. Cambridge (Mass.):
MIT Press.

DeGraff, Michel. 2005. Linguists' most dangerous myth: The fallacy of Creole
Exceptionalism. _Language in Society_ 34:533-91.

den Besten, Hans. 1978. Cases of possible syntactic interference in the
development of Afrikaans. In _Amsterdam Creole Studies_ 2, edited by P. Muysken.
Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Kihm, Alain. 2003. Inflectional categories in creole languages. In _Phonology
and Morphology of Creole Languages_, edited by I. Plag. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer

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Felicity Meakins received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2007. Her
dissertation examined the development of case-marking in an Australian mixed
language, Gurindji Kriol. She is currently a research associate at the
University of Manchester. Her interests include language contact and change,
contact languages and language documentation.
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