In John McWhorter’s Defining Creole anthology of 2005, his collected articles
conveyed the following theme: His hypothesis that creole languages are
definable not just in the sociohistorical sense, but in the grammatical sense. His
publications since the 1990s have argued that all languages of the world that
lack a certain three traits together are creoles (i.e. born as pidgins a few
hundred years ago and fleshed out into real languages). He also argued that in
light of their pidgin birth, such languages are less grammatically complex than
others, as the result of their recent birth as pidgins. These two claims have
been highly controversial among creolists as well as other linguists.
In this volume, Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity, McWhorter gathers articles
he has written since then, in the wake of responses from a wide range of
creolists and linguists. These articles represent a considerable divergence in
direction from his earlier work.