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Evolutionary Syntax

By Ljiljana Progovac

This book "outlines novel and testable hypotheses, contains extensive examples from many different languages" and is "presented in accessible language, with more technical discussion in footnotes."

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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

By Zhiming Bao

This book "proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring" and "offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective."

Book Information


Title: Defining Creole
Written By: John H McWhorter

A conventional wisdom among creolists is that 'creole' is a sociohistorical
term only: that creole languages share a particular history entailing
adults rapidly acquiring a language usually under conditions of
subordination, but that structurally they are indistinguishable from other
languages. The articles by John H. McWhorter collected in this volume
demonstrate that this is in fact untrue.

Creole languages, while complex and nuanced as all human languages are, are
delineable from older languages as the result of their having come into
existence only a few centuries ago. When adults learn a language under
untutored conditions, they abbreviate its structure, focusing upon
features vital to communication and shaving away most of the features
useless to communicaiton that bedevil those acquiring the language
non-natively. When they utilize their rendition of the language
consistently enough to create a brand-new one, this new creation naturally
evinces evidence of its youth: specifically, a much lower degree of the
random accretions typical in older languages, which only develop over vast
periods of time.

The articles constitute a case for this thesis based on both broad,
cross-creole ranges of data and focused expositions referring to single
creole languages. The book presents a general case for a theory of language
contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source
languages but also structural reduction plays a central role, based on
facts whose marginality of address in creole studies has arisen from issues
sociopolitical as well as scientific. For several decades the very
definition of the term 'creole' has been elusive even among creole
specialists. This book attempts to forge a path beyond the inter- and
intra-disciplinary misunderstandings and stalemates that have resulted from
this, and to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other
linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and
syntactic theory.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0195166701
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 444
Prices: U.S. $ 90.00

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0195166698
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 444
Prices: U.S. $ 49.95