LINGUIST List 7.1721

Fri Dec 6 1996

Sum: Creolistics

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1., Summary: creolistics queries

Message 1: Summary: creolistics queries

Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 10:12:11 EST
From: <>
Subject: Summary: creolistics queries
I posted the following queries:

In the debate over the creole status of Afrikaans, it has been
asserted that Afrikaans is a "creoloid," and that the transmission
preceding/feeding its generation was "bent, but not broken."

To which scholar(s) are these two notions attributable? and With whom
does the term 'fusion language' originate, and does it apply strictly
to Yiddish?

Thanks to all who corresponded:

A.F. Gupta

 I received very detailed contents from several scholars. I submit
here the following points as a summary of responses:


Weinreich, M. 1980. History of the Yiddish language. Trans. by
Fishman, J. and Noble, S. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

To my knowledge, Max Weinreich (father of Uriel Weinreich and an
eminent Yiddishist in his time) coined the term and applied it to
Yiddish alone.

Ellen F. Prince

The expression _fusion language_ was used about Yiddish by Max
Weinreich even before WW II in an article written after the war.

S. ROMAINE _Pidgin & Creole Languages_
Longman, 1988:47ff. for a convenient summary of the
problem (as well as for references).

I believe, _mixed language_ and _fusion language_
are pre-theoretical terms, i.e. they have no technical
definition. In other words, if you develop a typology of
mixture, you are free to define their meanings.

Why does anyone need such a typology?
One reason may be that there are languages which have an
extraordinary amount of lexical and grammatical features
derivable from quite diverse sources, e.g. Yiddish.
In the absence of a clear structural definition of _creole_,
Yiddish does not qualify as a creole language, since the
sociolinguistic pattern of its genesis is different
from prototypical creoles, cf. Fishman (1987): *Post-exilic
Jewish Languages...* (_Multilingua_ 6.7-24 or in his _Yiddish
Turning to Life_, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1991, 19-35) and
Wexler 1981 (in _Language_).

Laszlo Cseresnyesi


The two people to whom it is generally attributed are:
Loreto Todd (University of Leeds)
and [separately]
John Platt (deceased)

Platt, John. 1975. The Singapore English Speech Continuum.

Todd, Loreto. 1975. 'Pidgins and creoles: the case for the creoloid'.
Paper presented at Intnl. Conference on Pidgins and Creoles, Honolulu.

Notions of normal transmission are most clearly discussed by Thomason
& Kaufman.

Anthea Fraser

Reinecke et al.'s Bibliography (published 1975). Look at the intro
for the Afrikaans section and titles of articles listed there. It
might also be worth checking Barbados (Bajan) since this is another
language to which the term might have been applied.

Philip Baker, per Jeff Allen

Markey, T. L. (1982) "Afrikaans: Creole or Non-Creole?", in:
Zeitschrift fuer Dialectologie und Linguistiek IL:169-207.

In this article Markey assesses the case of Afrikaans by comparing it
to Negerhollands (NegroDutch), a now extinct Dutch-based creole spoken
in the Virgin Islands until the 1940s. Markey uses a checklist of
features as a startingpoint for his comparison (e.g. tense-aspect
markers, passives, negation, etc.) Whereas Negerhollands has all these
features, Afrikaans has only two. Markey concludes that Afrikaans is
only marginally creoloid.

Markey does not make a distinction, however, between Standard European
Afrikaans and Afrikaans as spoken by the coloured and black
communities (these differ quite significantly, as I can hear around me
here (I'm Dutchspeaking myself)). Try the following on theses

Gilbert, G. and Makhudu, D. (1984) "The creole continuum in
Afrikaans: A non-Eurocentric view', unpubl. manuscript, Department of
linguistics, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Janson, T. (1983) "A language of Sophiatown, Alexandra and Soweto",
York papers in Linguistics II.

Eric Vriends

I first saw the term "creoloid" in the works of Loreto Todd...I
noticed a use of the term in something by Peter Trudgill, I *think*
maybe earlier than Loreto Todd's usage.

Paul Roberge has published an excellent study, _The Formation of
Afrikaans_ (Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, no. 27, 1993), and I
would recommend that highly to anyone wanting to understand the
language's origins & development.

The phrase "bent but not broken" is, as far as I know, original with
me: see p. 253 of Thomason & Kaufman, _Lg. Contact, Creolization, and
Genetic Linguistics_ (1988).

I should add that I no longer believe that there is such a thing as a
separate category of contact language that one might call "creoloid"
or "semicreole": it's hard, and I now think actually impossible, to
find any useful criteria for identifying members of such a category.
I think that there are prototypical creoles, and also languages whose
origins share some, but not all, of the linguistic and especially the
sociolinguistic features of creole genesis. In other words, something
like a continuum between normal transmission and broken transmission.

Sarah Thomason

Thank you again for your responses.
Charlie Rowe
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