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Academic Paper


Title: Colonization, population contacts, and the emergence of new language varieties: A response to Peter Trudgill
Author: Salikoko S Mufwene
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/faculty/mufwene/
Institution: University of Chicago
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Peter Trudgill's account of new-dialect formation is uniformitarian, a position I have embraced explicitly since Mufwene 2001. In Mufwene 2006, I show how similar the mechanisms involved are to those that account for the emergence of creoles, the basic difference lying in the composition of the contact setting's feature pool (see also below). The position I defend is even less moderate, as I argue that in the history of humankind language speciation has basically been a consequence of how internal variation within a language has been affected by migrations of its speakers and additionally by the different contacts the relevant populations have had among themselves (Trudgill's position) and with speakers of other languages in their new, colonial ecologies (Mufwene 2005, 2007, 2008). The reader should not be surprised to see in this response comments that are primarily intended to support and complement the position of the target article.

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This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 37, Issue 2.

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