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r The study of pidgin and creole lenguages

PiererMuysken and Norval Smith

r.r Introduction
This book is concernedwith pidgin and creolelanguages.
This statementmight well give
the impressionthat we know preciselywhat is meant by theseterms.In fact they are the
subjectofmuch debate.Creolistsagreeneither about the precisedefinition ofthe terms
pidgin and creole,nor abour the statuso[a number oflanguagesthat havebeenclaimed
to be pidgins or creoles,Mixed languages, introducedin chapter4, havegenerallynot been
mentionedat all.
To turn first to pidgin languages,it is generallyagreedthat in essence theserepresent
speech-formswhich do nothavenativespeakers, andarethereforeprimarily usedasa means
of communication among pcoplewho do not sharea common language.The degreeof
developmentand sophisticationattainedby sucha pidgin dependson the qpe and intensiry
of communicativeinteractionamong the i$ users.Miihlhiusler (r986) makesthree basic
distinctionsamongstspeech-formsthat crcolistshavereferredto aspidgins - (ratherun-
stable)jargons, stablepidgins, and expandedpidgins (seefurther chapter3).
To turn to creolelalguages (or just creoles),one vital differencefrom pidgins is that
pidginsdo not havenativespeakers, while creolesdo. This is not alwaysan easydistinction
to make,asone aspectof theworldwideincreasein linguisticconformiry and the concomi-
tanrreducdonin linguisticdiversity,is that extendedpidginsarebeginningto acquirenative
speakers. This has happenedfor instancewith Tok Pisin, Nigerian Pidgin English, and
Sango(Central African Republic),to name but rhreecases.In panicular this hastended
to occur in urban environments,wherespeakersfrom different ethnic groupshavedaily
contactwitheachother.The pidgin thenbecomesthe town language.
The childrenof mixcd
marriagesfrequentlygrow up speakingthe home language- the pidgin - astheir native

r.z Historical linguistics and the definition ofa creole

A creolelanguagecan be defned asa languagethat hascome into existenccat a point in
I time that can be establishedfairly precisely.Non-creolelanguagesare assumed(often in
thcabsence ofdetailedknowledgeoftheir precisedevelopment)to haveemergedgradually.

Pitter Mulsken and Norua!Smtth
+ Thestu4 of? lgin anl creoblangages

from other spokenlanguages. Malry of rhemt€nd to hav€certainfeaturesin common, bur

So Archaic Latin developedinto ClassicalLatin, the popular variery of which rn turn
creolistsaredivided asto the interpretationofthis fact, and a languagelike Chineseresem-
developedinto Vulgar Latin, which among other thingsdevelopedintoOld French'which
some blesmanycreolelanguagesin its grammar.This meansthat beforewe can claim alanguage
developedinto Middle French,which in turn developedinto Modern French \Vhile
more radical changcs in tfre language thar others' we to be a creole,we needto know somethingabout its history,either linguiscicor social,and
st^g., ofthi, d*.lop-ent involved
justification to be able to trace the line ofdevelopment from Modern preferablyboth, As we know comparativelylitde about chedetaileddevelopmentofmost
caricleim r.rith some
litde languagesin the world, and virtually nothing of the history of most ethnic groups,this
Frenchback toArchaic Latin - the earliestrecordedstageofLatin, with on thewhole
to rely on linguistic reconstruction, but once again it is fairly inevitablymeansthat theremaybe many untecognizedcreol€languages around theworld.
difficulty.Beforethatwe have
to One problem in the identificadonofparticular languages ascreoiesis causedbythenot
obviousthat Latin is a typical Indo-Europeanlanguage,and can thus be safelyassumed
through the intermediate stages of possibly unusuaicircumstancethat creolestend to be spokenin the samegeographicalregionsas
havedevelopedfrom Proco-lndo-European,
have been &e languag€sthat provide the greaterportion of th€ir lexica (their donor languages,ot
Proto-ltalo'Celtic and cerrainly Proto-ltalic Proto-lndo-Europeanitself may
(an ?nachro nistic term ofcourse) around 5oooB C' lexifier languages).In somecaseswe 6nd a continuum ofsPeech_forms varying from the
spokensom€where in Southern Russia '
talking about creole languages' creol€at one end ofihe spectrum (the basilect),through intermediate forms (mesolectal
This kind ofstatementwecan de6nitely not makewhen
So we cannot varietied, ro the lexifier languagefthe acrolect).Sometimes speech-forms exist which
Theseexhibir an abruPt breakin the courseoftheir historicaldevelopment
creole ofsurinami see chapt€r r8) derives in any apparen tly representcases
whereei*rer the originalmesolecthassurvived,while the basilectai
saythat Sranan (the major EnglishJexifier
Modern English irs most obvious immediate historical precur- creoie,and sometimesalsoihe originallexifierlanguage havenot. Suchcasesmay be referred
eradualfashionfrom Early
ro aspost-creoles.Oth€rcasesseemratherto involvepartialcreolization,or inlluencefrom
io.. Er,.., .omparison ofEarly Modern Eng)ishwith the earliestforms ofSranan
" ",rrrory acreolizedform ofthe samelanguage.Theselanguages maybet€rmedsemi-creol€s orcrco-
(6rst recordedin r7r8) will make it abundantly obvious that we ere dealing with two
way that EarlyModern English loids.Afrikaansseemslikely to have beenthe resultofsome such Process.While Iinguisa
completelydifferentformsofspeech.There is no conceivable
into the very different Sranan in the available7o or so years Even would not in generalwish to recognizethis languageasbeing a fuli creolc,many aspects
.oul.1 h"u. d.u.lop"d
required would be extreme, not to speakofthe wholesale ofAfrikaans are reminiscentofthe things rhat happenduring creolization.Other cas€sof
the phonologicalJevelopments
have had to have taken place in the syntax putativecreoloidsar€AmericanBlackEnglish,arrdat leastsomeforms ofBrazilian P"rtu-
chaneesthat would
that they guese.
S"ocreolelangu.gesa.e different from ordinary languagesin that we can say
at some poinc in time. Applying the techniques ofhistoricai linguistics A quite different situation involving an 'intermedia[e'staausis the caseofthe mixed
cameiDto existence
answeringthe que\tion of languages.This type which has until now been the object of comparativelylittle study,
to creolesis therefor€not simple, and in addition presupposes
the creole should be comPated with: the languagc which provided the involvescaseswhere two languagesclearlymake a signiFcantcontribution to language-
which languages
whichwere responsible for most aspects ofgrammatical structure frequentlyone languagepfovidesthe contentwords,and anotherthe grammar.Hete thete
l.*i.orr, o. th.langu"ge(s)
is possible to identi$ these' isnot necessarilyanyquesdorr ofsimpli6cation.Awell-known caseofthis rypero bestodied
- inasmuchas it
(and' - Media Lengua (lit. 'middle language')(Muysken r98rb) is spoken in Ecuador,and
It is cleerin fact that creolclanguagesdeveloPasthc resuirof'linguisric violencc'
to reckon with a involvesSpanishlexicalitems,combinedwith basicallyQuechuasynta-x, morphology,and
aswe shali see,frequently socialviolence too) ln other words' we have
of a language phonology.Balker (1992)hasreferredto this kind ofsituation aslanguageintemvining
breakin the natural develoPmentofthe languaBe,the natural transmission 'Wereferthe readerto chapter This whole subjectha-sjust startedto be studied in any
to generation The ofthe 6rst speakers ofsrananwere not English 4.
from generation Parents
rtl, btt.p.akers ofvarious Afrrcan languages, andwhat is more important' they detail.Sometimesa creoieinvolvessubstantialmixture at all levelsoflanguagestructure.
"t the A casein point is BerbiceDutch Creole,describedin chapter19.
did not gro* .,p in .n environment where English was rhe norm How creolization'
language,takes place, or at leastwhat the various theories are Othercaseswhere languageshavebecomesimplifiedto someextentareoflingua ftalcas
d.u.lop-.rrr oi
" "r.ol. juncrurc-this is acontrover- (not rheLingua Francaofthe Mediterranean)and koines.Thesecomeinto existenceunder
concerninghowit tekesPlace,wecannot reallygo into at this
below' similar circumstances one speech-formbecomeswidely used by non-nativ€ sPeakers,
sial matteithat will be dealt rvith in chapters8 thtough rr' and briefly
What is clearisthat creolelanguagesarc not in the slightestqualitativelydistinguishable undergoinga degreeof simpliGcation.Here, the processseemsto be gradual- in other
6 The sndl ofpidgin and crcoh hngtzgzs Pieto Muyshenanl Norval Snith

words, no linguistic or socialviolcncc is involved.Vc speakofa lingua francawhen speakers pcan colonial languagcs,afthough even herewe may be certain thar some languagesremarn
of various different languagesare involved, and of a koine when the didec$ of a single undiscovered.In the ese ofcreoles and pidgins not involving a Europeanbaselinguists have
language are involved. bccn faccdwith the above-mentionedproblem that the history ofvcry many langtagesis
In chapterz6 there is an annotatedlist oflanguageswherc thescdistinctionsand some verypoorly known. And aswewill discovertime and dmeagain in thc courseofrhis book,
further ones are used to classifr over too languagcsand dialects.To comPlicatemaller a knowledgeofthe historyofa languageisofrcn esseniia.lfor dcterminingits crcoleor pidgin
speechforms maychangeinstatus ovcr time. Variousscenariosor life-c1'ctes (cf. HaJlI966' starus,or the lack ofthis. This meansthat creolesthet cameinto cristenc€hundrcdsofyea$
who usedthe termsomewhat differently) havebeenproposed for thc developmentofcreoles. ago may only bc recognizedassuch in modern limes.
Miihlheusler(Iq86l presents thr€esuchsc€narios: The smallsizeofmany creole-speaking communitiesalsomilitatcsagainsrrheirrecogni-
tion. A small linguistic community will more casilybe assumedto rcpresenta (deviant)
Typ" t "ryp,, Typ"t dialectofa largerlanguagethan a largeone will. Small commr.rnides alsoger overlooked
jargon jargon Jargon more eesily.So the Vutun 'dialect'of Qnghai provincc, China has been recognizedas
ll involving a problem in classiicationby Chinescscholarsfor quite somctim€. This mix€d
stabilizcdpidgin stabilizedpidgin
Amdo Tibetan-KansuMongol-Chineselanguagehascertainlybcenin existencefor several
*p""al oiari' hundrcd years.It had beenvariouslyclaimed to bc Chincse,Monguot and Tibetan. lts
II esscntialrymixed staruswas 6rst recognizedby Chen (1982).The facr, however,that the
.Ju languagchas only zSoospeakersin 6ve villageshas not helpcd it ro appcarin any lisr or
Hawaiian Creole Torrcs Straits New Guinea
classificationofthe world's languages.For instance,it doesnot appcarin the rrth edition
English Crcole English Tok Pisin
of Ethnologue(Grimes r988).
We havecited the questionofprejudiceabove.This is especiallyrelevantin the caseof
As will bearguedinchapterJ, however,not all jargonsor pidginsarePartofsucha lif€-cycle, pidgins.Pidgins,by their very nature,tend towardsinstabiliry both in termsoflinguistic
and neither can we show that all cr€oleshad a jargon or pidgin stage.It is in this rcspect system,and in termsoftheir function. Iftheydo not belongto thc smallgroup ofpidgins
that mixed languagesdisplayan important differencefrom creoles.On theone hand,mixed that bccomestandardized, or nativized,or borh, rheymay well disappearcompletelywhen
larrguagesdid come into existcnccat a particular moment in time, on the other harrdthcy the socialneed that causedthem to come into exisrenccpasscs. An eventso rrivial as dre
were formed from ordinary languageswirh nativc sPeakers - therewasno jargon or pidgin disruprion ofa market may make x particularpidgin redundant.Populationmov€ments
phase. may have th€ same€ff€ct.So thc raisond'€trc of the Pidgin Russianspokenin Harbin,
Manchuria,betweenRussiqnsand Chinese,disappearedwhenmost ofthe Russiansleft in
the 6fties.
r.3 Distribution ofpidgins and creoles
The question ofthe distribution ofpidgin and creolelanguagesis one ofthe growth areas
r.4 History o[ pidgin and creolestudies
in linguistics.Becauseof their mixed characterthesespecchvarietieshavefrequentlynot
been accordedthe statusoflenguagc. The fr€quentprejudiceagainsrtheir recognitionas Vhy should there be a field of pidgin and creolelanguagestudiesi Since the group of
properlinguisticsystemshasm€ant tha! listsoftheworld's languages,producedup tillfairly languagcs asawhole arenot geneticallyrelated,norspokenin the samearca,the languages
recently,tended to ignote thesespcechvarieties \Vhile many linguists,and sometrmes mustbe consideredto havesomethingelsein common, in order to be meaningfullystudied
educationalists,recognizethe fact oftheir existence,this isby no meansuniversellythecas€' asagroup.ln the field rhereis an irnplicit assumptionrharlhe creolelanguagessharesome
The eFect of this is that new crcolcsand Pidgins are continually being addcd to thc lists propert,'that cellsfor en exPlanatorytheory
of such languages. Thc carliestwrittcnsources for manycreolesdatcfrom the rSrhcentury when missronar-
Recognitionhascome quick€stfor thosccrcolcsand pidgins (partially)bascdon Euro- icsstartedwriting dictionaries,and tmnslaringreligioustexrsinro rhelanguages
ofthc slaves.
Th tudy ofpidg;n anl crcohhnguages

The 6rst time the term 'crcole'was applied to a languagewas 1739,in the Virgin Islands, (e) Creolelanguagcsareolien assumedto be morc simple than other
when rhe very youthful Dutchlexifier creoleNegerhollandswas refeftedto es clniolsche is a wide-spreadbeliefthat creolelanguagcs
arenotjust morphologically,but alsosyntacti
by a Moravian missionary(Stein 1987).The 6rst grammar ofa creolewaswritren in the callyand phonologicallysimpler than other languages.
Virgin Islandsby J.M. Magens,a scion of a local planter family (rzzo). In addition to $) Creole languagesare often assumedto have morc mixed grammarsrhan other
missionarics,travelletsor other laymen occasionallywrote briefdi:Joguesetc. in the local languages. Many peoplehavedrawnparallelsbetweenlanguageand biology,whcn rhinkrng
creoies,a! lhat time generallyreferredto as Negro-English,Negro-Dutch, ctc. There are ofcreoles.Itis assumcdtharjusr asmanyspeakers ofcreolelanguages haw ,mixed'African,
reasonablehistorical recordsfor a number ofcreole languages,including Negerhollands, European,Asian and in some casesAmerindian anccstry the languagesthcy speakare
StananandSaramaccan(Surinam),Mauritian Creole,andJamaican. Theseallow usto study likewisesimply a combination ofa bit ofEuropeanvocabularywithsomeAfricanorAsian
the historicaldcvclopment ofthe creole languages (seechapter ro). syntaxand semantics.
Creole studies originated as a s).stematic6cld of rcsearchovcr a cenrury ago, with (a) Pidgin and creolelanguagesare often assumedto cxhibir much
more internal
Schuchardt's(r842-r927)importantseriesofarticles.Thesestarredasan attemPtto account variabilitythan otherlanguages. Theyare xsumed to be highly dynamic languagesysrems
for a more complex setofdevelopmentsin lhe history ofthe Romancelanguagesthan was and often coexistwith their lexifier languages
in rhe samespeechcommuniry
possiblein the Neogrammarianpreoccupationwith the regularityofsound change-Hesse- Theseassumptionsplay a role in the varioustheotiesofcreoie oriqin that havebeen
ling's (r88o-I94r)work origina.llysrartedout from an explanationofthe developmentsin proposed.The rheoriesof otigin havc becn developedin p"rt ,o.*plain rhe assumed
Greek,from the earlydialectsthrough koine Gr€ekunderthe Roman Empire,to Byzantine sirnilariry,simpliciry, mixing, and variabilityof the creolelanguages.\fe havechosento
and modcrn Greek. Both scholarsfound it ncccssaryto allow for more complex typesof group thesetheoricsinto four categorics,in chapters8-rr. Hcre we will btiefly summarize
linguisricchange:mixture, simplification, reanalysis,and the complexiryoftheir analyscs the principalhypothesespur forward. References will be providedin the relevantchaprers.
characterizes modern creolcstudiesas well.
Until r965the field remained,howevet,rarhermarginal.Creolelanguages wcre studied r.5.r The Europea:rinput
by a few cnthousiastic historical linguists - usudly Anglicisa or Romanists, Geldworkers Somemodelsattempt to rracerhe propertiesof the pidgins and creolesback to speciGc
with an adventurous bent, or folklorists ahead of their time. Now the study of crcole antecedents in Europe (seefirrther chapter8)_The PortuguesemonoG)genesismodel has
Ianguages hasmoved to rhe ccnter oflinguistic tcsearch,
a research programwith univcrsalist undergoneseveralmodifications.Crucial to all ofrhesc is the existenceofa tradelanguagc
th€oreticelpretensions,half-waybetweentheorcticrllirguistic and sociolinguisticsReasons with a predominantlyPortuguese lexicon,usedin rhe rith to tgth centuricsby tfaders,slave
for this developmentare manifold, but include the political and cultural emancipationof raiders,
andmerchants from throughouttherhenincipientcoloniaJ societies.
The monoge,
certainpartsoFtheCaribbean(most notablyJamaica),an intetestin Afro-Americancuhure, netictheoryholds thar theslavcslearnedthe Ponuguesepidgin in rhe slavecamps,trading
particularly in the U.S., and a paftial reorientationoflinguistic research. fons, and slavcships oftheir early captiviry and rhen took this languagc,realiyno mor.
thanajargon,wi!h rhem ro the plantations.ThediFerentcrcolelanguages aswe know them
arcbasedon this jargon, but havereplacedthe Portuguesewords with words Fromother
r,5 Theories of origin in creolestudiesand dreoreticallinguistics Europeanlanguages. The supposedsimilarityofthe cteolelanguages is due ofcourseto the
The main rcsearcheffort in pidgin and crcolestudieshasbeento 6nd a principled cxplana- underlyingPonuguesejargon, and their simplicity to the simplicity ofthis jargon.
tion for thc gcnesisofthe languagesin"olved. There is an implicit assumPtionthat thc creole fie restricted monogenesishypothesisis lessambitious. It is mosrly limited to tne
l'X/hatpropcrry this is Englishand Frcnch-lcxi6ercrcolelanguages
languagcssharesome properry that calls for an cxplanatoryrheory oftheAtlantic and Indian Ocean,and proceeds
dependson the theory concerned.Any offour Propertiesare assumedto play a role: fiom the idea thar rherewasa jargon or pidgin spokenalong rhe coastof Vest Africa that
(r) Crcole languagesare oftcn ass.rmedto bc more ulike than other languages.As we laterformed the ptimarysourcelor a wide rangeoIcreoles.The common leaturesof these
will see,creolessharemanystructuralGatures,and many researchers believethat theseresem- ctcolesare then assumedto be due to theseearlypidgins.
blanccscannot be simply due to the similarity berweenthe languagesofwestern Europe, The Europeandialect origin hyporhesisholds that creolescssentiallydcveiooedfrom
or accidcntal. non-standarddialecrsofthe colonial languagesin an ordinary way, and arc rhe result of
Then'dy of pilgin and ocole languagcs Picm Mrytkcn and Norual Snith

migration by dialectspcakersto the newly founded colonies,compoundedwiththcexistence r.t., DeYelopmentalapproaches

ofa strongly dialectalnauticrl language.In this thcory similaritiesbetweencreoleshold Many researchers studypidginsand creolesfrom a devclopmentalperspective,asgradually
only for thosederived from a single colonial languagc;creolesmay be simple becausethe evolvingand continuouslychangingsysremsrather than as stablesyst€mslhat emerged
non-standardvarictiesw€re simpler than th€ written national standerd. rapidly.'JTithinthis approach,expansionofpidgins throughtheir continueduseand growth
ln otherappoaches,proccsesinvolvingthc rransformationofthe Europcanlanguages in functional domain is strcsscdabovestrictlygrammaticalor cognitiveaspccts,[n cnaprer
play a central role, thtough imPerfectsccondlanguagelearningor the reductionofspeech II we retum to various developrnental approaches.
dircctcd at foreigners.The baby talk or foreigner talk theory is similat to rhe imperfect The common social context theory adoptsa such stricdy functional perspective:the
secondlanguagelearning thcory in postulatingthat creolesarefrozen(i.e. fossilized)stages slavcplantationsimposedsimilarcommunicativercquircmenrson rhe slavcs,ncwlyarrived,
in thc secondlanguagelearning sequence.The diFcrcncelies in the fact that in dre baby and lacking a common languagein many cases.Thc commonality ofthe communicative
talk theory the responsibilityfot thesimplification is shiftedfrom drelearnersto thespeakers requirementsled to the formation of a seriesof fairly similar makeshiftcommunicative
of European languages,who provide a simpli6ed model. The similarity bcwccn crcoles systems,which then stabilizcdarrdbecamecreoles,
would be due, in this view, to universal ProPertiesof the simPli6ed input. Thc type of
evidenceadherentsofthc baby talk hypothesisarc looking for thus includessimpli6cations r,;.4 Universalistapproachcs
made by native speakers,not by leaners, in pidgins, such asthe useofinfinitivcs' Univcrsalist models strcsslhe intcrvenrion ofa spccific generalproccssduriog thc transmissi-
ln the imperfect secondlanguagelearning thcory creolesarethe crystallizationofsome on oflanguagefrom generationto generationand from speakerto speaket(seechapteru).
stagein the developmentalsequenceofsecond languageacquisirion.Thc spcakcrsof the Thc processinvokedvarics:a gcneraltendencytowardssemantictransparency, 6 mt langr.g.
proto-creolesimply did not have sufficient acccssto the model, and had ro make up an learningdriven by universalprocesses,
or genera.l
approximativesystem.In thisview the fact thatctcole-s aresimpleis dueto thc simPli6catior The semantictransparencytheory is not afull-blown genesistheory,bursimplyclaims
inhcrent in the second languagelearning Process.For some adherentsof this view the that the structureofcreoleIanguages direcdyreflectsuniversalsemanticstructures.The fact
possiblesirnilarities among the creolelanguagesale duc to universalPropertiesofthe learning that they arealiLe,in this vicw, is due to thc fact tha! thc semanricsr.ucruresareuniversal.
They are simplc becauscthe scmanticstructuresinvolvedare fairly directly mappcdonto
surfacestructures,eschcwingany very complcx transformationaldcrivation.An example
r,;.2 The Non-Europeal input ofthis maybe the factthat creolelanguageshaveseparatetcnse/mood/arpecr particlcs,which
TheMro-genesis modcl reallydealsmostlywith thecreolelanguagesspoken in theAtlantic reflectseparatelogical opcrato$, rather than incorporatingtense,etc. into the inflection
region: \g€st Africa and the Catibbean,and postulatesthat theselanguagcshavecmerged of the verb.
through the relexification by the slavesof the Vest African languages,rhe so-called substrate The bioprogrem theory claimsthat creolesar€ inv€ntionsofrhe children growing up
languages, under influenceofthe Europeancolonid languages (seechaprer9).An alternatrve on the newly foundcd plantations.Around thcm thcyonly heardpidginsspoken,without
explanation is in terms of the transfer ofAfrican langr.rage structuresin the processof cnoughstructureto funciion asnaturallanguages, and theyusedtheirown innatclinguistic
learning the colonial lexi6er languages.The similarity ofthe languages involved is due, in capacitiesto trarsform thc pidgin input from thcir parentsinto a full-eedgedlanguagc.
this model, to the fact that they sharcthe sameAfiican linguistic features,mixed together Creolelanguagesarcsimilarbccausethe innatelinguisticcapacityutilized is universal,and
with the lexiconofthe Europeanlanguages. Thc main problemswitht}reAfro-gcnesismodel tiey aresimple becauscthcy reflectthe most basiclangu€e stnrctur€s.Onc fcatureshared
betweenVest African
in its sttict versiod are lhe large number of structural dift'ereoces by all creolesthat would derivefrom the innatc capacityis the syst€mofpre-verbaltense/
languages among
and creoleson thc one hand,and the linguisricdifferences !h€ variousWest mood/aspectparticlcs.Not onlydo theyseemlimitcd in thc creolelanguag€s to a parricular
African languagesthemselveson the other'\flhat hasbeenclaimed to savethe hyPothesis sctofmeanings, but thcy alsoscemalwa)'sro occur in a particularorder. The systemof
is that in the proccssofrclcxification cenain syntacticand semantic propertiesofEumpear t€nse/mood-/aspect
particles, its interpretation and its ordering would directly reflect univer-
Iexical items were incorporatedaswell. salaspectsofthe human languagccapacity.
p The$udt ofPidgin ald rftok hnguage'

r.5.5 Theoretical implications termsofthe hierarchicalorganizationoffeature syst€ms,or a synragmadcdimension,rn

In all rhescmodelsor theoriesnotions suchasalike, simple,mixed, and r.eriableplay a role. termsperhapsofthe notion ofgovernment(Chomskyr98r)asa centtalprincipleofsynracric
They ate in fact taken for granted,assumedto be what requiresto be explained,and there- organiza!ion,
fore not callcdinto question.The contribution that the study ofcreolelanguages can make' Al importantgroupofcreoleresearchcrs
hasfocusedon the dynarnicand variablea:pecrs
oflanguage(Sarkoffr982;Bickenonr97t; Rickfordr987).Vhile linguistsworkingin terms
in our view,to granmatical theory is thar it can help to elucidatethesefour concePts'alik€',
'simplc', 'mixed', and'variable" All four turn out to be r€levantto the central concernsof ofthe paradigmofgenerativegrammartend to abstractawayfrom variation and change,

modeangrammaticaltheory ln order to help usunderstandthis, let usexaminethe concepts focusingon thc universaland invariableespectsofiinguistic competence,many creolists
havetended to put variation and changeat the centerofattention; only by studying the
involved more closely.
'When wc saythat languages r andT are more alike than / and z, we areclaiming in fact changesthat languagesundergoand the waysin which rhesechangesaremanifestedin the
that in the cotal (abstract)variation spaceallowed for by the human languagecapacityr speechcommunitycan we 6nd out about the phenomenonoflanguage.pidgin aad crcolc
languagcsform a natural 6cld ofstudy for theseresearchers,
andy are closcr thany and z. Consequendy,the claim that the creolelanguagesarc more preciselybecausethey present
dike thao other languagesimplies a clustering in the variation space lfrve think ofthe so much internal variation and becausethey tend to changeso rapidly. The extent of
variationpres€nt(and this is parricularlyrelevantfor pidgins) again raisesthe questrons
varia!ion spaceasdefinedby pammeter theory (asin recentworkby Chomskyand othcrs),
rrying to developa notion of'alike' redly boils down ro developinga th€oryofparametcrs, mentionedabovewith respecrto rhc internal cohesionofa grammaticalsystemand how
determinethe way languagesv..y.
parametersalong which similarities and differencesbetwe.n natural languagescan be
Keepingthis in mind, rhcn, thc contribution ofpidgin and creolestudiesto linguistic
theoryis clcar Ve havecome to gripswith one or morc ofthe core notionsofgrammatical
Consider now the conceptofsimpliciry. The idea that creolelanguagesaresimple has
do not have thcory:
beentakento mean two things.On one levelit hasmeantthat creolclanguages
a rich morpholory, on aootherthat the overallgrammarofcreolelanguages is lesscomplex
alikc parameter
than that ofother languages.Both interpretationsare rclevantto gtammaticaltheory' The
simplc: morphology/ryntaxinteracrrons
idca that absenceofmorphology is relatedro grammaticalsimplicityneedsto beevalrrated
in the context of contemporary researchinto morphology/syntaxinteractions'and thc
mixedr modularity
tra-rnmaricalstatusofindection or rrrr (Chomslcy1982;Rizzi It82, and others)and ofcase
variable parametertheorymodularity
marking (Stowell, I98r). Even more importantly, the ideathat rhe creolelanguagcsare not
grammatically complex in generalonly makessenseif one has a theory of grammatical
Studyingcreolelanguagesimplies a consrantconfrontarionwith thesenotions, and helps
complexiry to fall back on, and this brings in markednesstheory.
one ro dcvclopa vocabularycapableofdealing with them.
Consider next the notion of mixing. Mixing implies that elementsfrom one language
arecombin€dwith elementsFromanother,and this in turn callsinto questionthe cohesion
Further reading
o[ the grammatical systemsinvolved. The tighter a particular subsystem(e g the vowel
The primarysourcefor documentationon the differentpidginsandcreolesisstill Reinecke's
systcm;or thc systemofrcferential expressions)is organized,the lessamenablcit will be
monumentalbibliography(r975).Thcre areanumber ofintroductions to pidgin and cteole
to restructuringundct borrowing.Tightnessoforganizationin modern Srammaticalthcory :
studieson thc marker,including Hall (r966),Todd (r974 r99o), Mtihlhiiusler (r986),wrur
is conceptualizedin terms of modularity theory: the grammar is organizedinto a set of
internally strucrured but externally indcpendent modules,the interacdonofwhich leads much information about the Paci6c,Holm (r988),strongon rhe history ofthe 6eld, and
Romaine(r988),srrongonlinkswirh psycholinguisticresearch-
to the 6nal grammaticaloutput. For this reason'the notion ofmixing is important: it forces In Frenchwe haveValdman
(I978).In addition thereis a largenumberofcollectionsofarticles,ofwhich Hymes (r97r),
us to think about which partsofthe grammar are tightly organized,and henceabout the
Valdman(1977),and Valdman and Highfield (r98r) are rhe mosr generalin scope,
notion ofmodulariry
Tighrnessoforganizarion or cohesionmay haveeither a paradigmaricdimension, in Useful monographsby single aurhorsare: Bickerton G98t, which containsa hlghly
v The sx'j! ofPidgin and creok hnguagcs
z The socio-historicalbackground of creoles
which documentsthe
rcarlableexposition oF the broprogram hypothesis;AJleyncG98r)'
wirh a wealth ofdctail;and SankoF(r98o)' which presentstheview JacquesA-rends
Afro-ge.r..i. hypoth.ris
,i.,,i" *rrr.,rr.. of.r.ole languagesis finelyattuned to their functional
Th... t*o specialized journals' /o umal of Pidgin and
,'.,-b., of in"ightf.rl "..
" ",.i.[o. is a newslcttet Thc Canicr Pidgin'
Creob Languagu-end Eadzs Crcolet ln addition there

z.r Three typesofcreole

It hasbeenarguedby some creoliststhat creolescannot be defined asa distinct group of
languagcson rypological,intralinguistic, grounds(e.g.Muysken 1988),If rhis is true, the
questionariseswhether therear€anyexternal,exttalinguistic, criteriaaccordingto which
theycanbe groupedtogetherinonecategoryThe critcrionthat comesto mind most readily
is that ofrhe socialhistory oftheselanguages.
Are creolescharacterizedbya patticularsocial
history a socialhistory that is common to all ofrheseianguagesand that is not sharedby
any other group oflanguagesiThis questioncannot be satishctorilyanswcredat the mo-
ment, simplybecausethe externalhistoryof many creolesstill hasto be written, but there
arcstrongindicationsthat indccd in many casestherearea number ofstriking similarities
amongthe historicalprocessesrhroughwhich theselanguages cameinto being.One ofthese
concernsrhe fact that manycreolesarosein rhecontcxtofthe Europeancolonialexpansion
from the sixteenthcentury onwatds.In many casesthis expansionwasaccompaliedby a
spccifictypc of economy,which had asits most characteristicfeaturerhe exploitationof
relativelylargeagriculturalunits, plantations,for the production oflatgcly new products
suchassugar,coffee,and tobacco,for the Europeanmarkets.Plantations,however,were
not the only situationsthat gaveriseto creolization.Thcrefore,beforcwc go on to expiore
the commonalitiesin the extcrnalhistoriesofcreolesin general,we will firstbriefly discuss
threedifferenr rypcsofcreoles that can be distinguishedaccordingto differencesin their
Accordingro rhcir external h istory the following threetypesofcreolehavebeendistin-
guished:plantation creoles,fort creoles,and maroon creoles(Bicketon 1988).In addirion,
a forth type may be distinguished:creolizedversionsofpidgins haveemerged, New
Guinea and northern Australia. In the Atlantic area,plantationswcrc worked by largc
numbers of African slaves,who were purchased along rhe western coast of Africa from
Senegalto Angola. In the initial stageofcolonization Amerindian slavcswcrc alsoused,as
well asindenturedlaborers- poor Europeanswho wcrc conrractedfor a speci6ednumb€r
ofIeats.In thccaseofthe Pacificand the Indian Ocean,slaverywasusuallynor the primary
meansofacquiring a labor forcc.lndenturedworkersfrom lndia, China,Japan,the Philip-
pinesand thc South-WesiPacific,wererecruit€dto work on the plantarionsin Mauririus,
Queensland(Australia),and Hawaii.
ThencioJ*torial bn&lround of oeoht

It is not only in the plantations,however,thar creolelanguagesarose.Apart from rhe

plantation creoles,which cmerged in the Caribbean (e.g. in Jamaica,Haiti, Guyana, creoles(but cC Alleyne r98o for adifferentview). Other maroon crcoles,oursideSunnam,
Surinam), in West Africa (e.g. on the islandsof Annobon and Sao TomC off the Vesr include Palenquero(Colombia) and Angolar (SaoTom€), which are scill spokentoday.
African coast),and perhapsin the southern parts ofNorth America aswell, a number of Finally,remnanrsofanorhcr maroon creolehavebeenfound in rhe 'Maroon Spirit posses-
creolesdevelopcdat rheso-calledfons, the lortified postsalongthe Vest African coast,from sion l-anguage'of Jamaica(Bilby r983),This is not empioyedin ordinary situations,but
which the Europeansdeployedtheir commercial activities.In thc forts somc medium of it is uscdby peoplewhentheyarepossesscdduring religiousceremonics,to mlk to thespirirs
communication must have been used, both among Africans from diffetent linguistic ofthose oftheir ancestorswho were born in Jamaica.
backgroundsand berwecnAfricansand Europeans.More importantly,howevcr,interethnic The three-waydivision made hereat leastto some exrenrcuts acrossthe distinction
communicarionexrendedto the forts' surroundingswhereEuropeanmen (so-calledlanga- betweenendogenousand exogenouscreoles.This distincrion was made by Chaudenson
dos) were living in mixed householdswith African women, with whom they spokesome (1977)inorderto distinguishbetwecncrcolesthat arosein areaswherethe nativelanguages
kind ofcontacr languagc.In the courseof time thesecontactlanguages
wereexpandedinto ofthe creolizingpopulation were spoken(e.g.somc African creoles,such as Kruba) and
creolcs,in particular by the children that were botn into thesehouseholds.One ofthese thosethat did not, sincerhcy involvedthe massiverelocationofrhe creolizingpopulation
is the alleged'Guinea Coast Creole English, which, accordingto Hancock (t986), arose (c.g.the crcolesthat arosein rhe NewVorld). The disrinction is especiallyimportanr with
out of rhe interaction berweenEnglish and African speakersin the settlemcntsin Upper respectto the potenria.lrole ofthe subsrratein creolegenesis:a creolethat arosein an area
Guinea (SierraLeone and surrounding areas)and which may havc formed rhe basisofthe whcre its substratespeakershad ample opportunity ro cofitirru€ speakingtheir natrve
CaribbeanEnglishJexi6et creoles. language(s) next to the emergingcreoleis bound to showmoresubsttateinflucncethan one
A rhird type of socio-historicel context that hal give! rise ro the genesisofcteoles is thar did not (c[ Singler1988).
marronage,which refersto the fact tha! slavesescapedfrom thc plantationsand subsequently
formed their own communities in the interior in relativeisolation from the rest of the
z.z Colonial expansionand the slavetrade
colony. Maroon communities devclopcd in severalparts of the New Vorld (Jamaica,
Colombia, Surinam) and in Africa aswell (S5oTomd).While most ofthese communities Thc history of Europeal cxpansiona-ndthe concomitanrslaverradecannotbc adequarery
havebeenabsorbedby the mainstreamculture ofthe societieswithin which they existed, describedhere, bur it cannot be excludedentirely eirher since i! constitutesthe socro-
the Surinam maroons, who are distributed over severaltribes, have preservedtheir own historicalmatrix inwhich creolizationrook place.Therefore,inwhat followsa briefouttrnc
traditions and rheir languagesup ro thc presentday. But since theselanguagesprobably will be given of this history as far as it concernsrhe Atlantic arca.The main Eur.g..,
developedout of plantation creoles,we should not expectto 6nd impottant structural nadonsinvolved in the colonial expansionvr'€reSpain,Portugal,France,Britain and the
.What Netherlands.\i(4rile thc Spaniardsand thc Porruguesewer€ rhc 6rsr to actually found
differencesbetweenthe two. may havecausedsomedivergence,however,is the fact
that the maroon creolesdevelopedin telativeisolationfrom rhc metropolitan,European, setdements in theNewVorld during the sixteenthcentury theywerefollowedby the others
languagc.This issuehas asyet not been exPloredin any detail. e century later.
In Surinam, nvo maroon creolelanguagescanbe distinguished.One, consistingofthe During the enrire slaverrade period some ren million Africans were captured aod
dialectsspokenby rhe Saramaccanand Marawai tribes,is a'mixcd' creole,with tw" Euro- deportedto thc Americas(Cr-rrtin1969).Many ofthese did not surviu., .o-. di.d our,.,g
peanlexiGcrlanguages,Englishand Portuguese(scechapter14).ln this respectit is clearly captivityin one ofthe forrsalongrheAfricancoasr,beforetheyhad evenembarkcdon rheir
different from the coastalcreole,Sranan,whose basiclexicon is English-lexifier,just likc middlepassage,thejourney to the New \0orld. Othersperishedduring $ansportasa resutt
that ofthe other maroon creol€lanBuage,spokenby the Ndjuka, Aluku, Paramaccan, and ofdiseaseor other causesrelatedto thc poor conditions on the slaveships.Of rhosewho
Kwinti tribes.1*4rilesome ofthe dialccts(e.g.Matawaiand Paramaccan) havehardly been did arrivein the New World, manydied aftera relativelyshott period in the colonyrin rgth-
studied at:Lll,Saramaccanhasattractedthe specialattention ofmany creolists,who regerd centurySurinamthe life expectanryupon arrivalwassomewhereberween6veand ten ycars.
this languageasthe most pure or radical creolc languagecxtant today.According to these As far as the geographicalorigins and demographicbehaviorofthese Africans is con-
scholarsSaramaccan, isolationfrom
due to its supposedlyrapid formationand its subsequent ccrned,much remains to be discovercdby historical research.In the caseof Sunnam
Jacque:Arcnzl: L9

extremelyd€tailed information has been made availableby the historian Postma(r99o)'

2.3 The plantation syrstem
whosefindings arebasedon archivaldocumenrsconcerningthe DutchAtlantic slavetrade
Thesefindings relatetosuch variablesasport ofembarkation,datesofdeparturefrom Africa Having discussedsomerelevantsocio-historicalfactorsat themacroJevel,ir may
be useful
and arrival in the New \(/orld, ageand genderdistribution, and the numbersofslevesthat to go in some detail into a socialaspectof creolizationat rhe microlevel, i.e.
the social
rvereembarkedand disembarked.Vhile we cannotgo into this in any detail,let ussumma- structureof the plantacion.After all, the plantation must have b€en
the main locus of
rizePostmfs main findings, asan exampleofwhat historicalresearchcancontribute to the creolization.While most ofwhat followsrefersto Surinam(largelybasedon Van
study ofcreole genesis.BetweenI65o and r8lt the Dutch shiPPedsomeroo,ooo Africans 1993),it has some rejevancefor orher creolesocietiesroo. The srereorypical
image of a
to Surinam.At Emancipation,in r863- more than 2ooyearsafter imPortationbegan- th€ plantationcolony asaseverel)'dichotomized sociery,wirh asmallnumber ofwhites holdine
black population still numbered no more than some36,ooo.This showsthat during the powerover largeflumbers ofAfrican siaves,needssome adjustmenton the
entire period ofslavery therewas a very substantialpopulation reduction'due to an e\ceP- is known about how plantation life wassociallystructured.Although there
riooally high death rate and an excePtionaliylow birth rate,while atthe sametime the rate a wide social,cultural and economicgap becweenrhe small whiaesectionofa
ofimmigration wasvery high As a resultofthis, the normal situationwherebya language populationand the numericallydominant slaveforce(with ratiosreaching
is acquired natively through transmissionfrom one generationto the next, with second the actuelsituation may have beena bir more complexrhan it might appear
at 6rst sight.
languagelearning being only marginal, was compieteiy disturbed.Although the precrse The figurebelowchartsthe socialstratiEcationaccordingtothe divisionoil"bo.
o., a rvpi.d
linguistic consequencesofthis for creolegenesisarenot entirelyclear,it seemsevidentthat Surinamplanr;rion.
rhe roleof demographvshould be rakeninto :ccount
As far as the geographicaibackground o[ the Surinam slavesis concerned,Postma
providesa wealth of interestinginformation. From his Eguresit can be inferred (Arends
to appearb) that duringthe slavetrade period therehavebeensubstandalvariationsin the
areasfrom which the Dutch purchasedtheir slavesThe generalpictule that emerg€sfrom
thesefiguresis that over the entireperiod (161o-I8ti)theMndward Coast (the areastretch-
ing from SierraLeone to Ivory Coast)servedasthe main supplierofSurinam slavesHow_
ever,this areastarted to play this role only from r74o onwards During the first 7o years
ofslaveimportation (I65o-17zo,the formativeperiodofsranan and Saramaccan) theSlave
Coast (Togo, Benin) and the Loango area(Gabon, Congo, Zaire,Angola) supplied more
than 9o7o ofall slavesimported into Surinam. In rhe interveningperiod (r7zo-r74o),the domesticslaves
Gold Coast (Ghana) servedas the main supplier ofslaves.Obvioudy' such a finding has
important consequences for the investigationofAfrican survivalsin the Surinam "'"les'
Thus, it seemssafe to assumethat in the formation of thesecreoles,l?indward Coast
ndd slav€s
ianguages,such asMande and \folof, despitetheir ultimat€ overallnumerical domrnance
can only have playeda minor role, whereaslanguagesspokenalong the SlaveCoasr,such
as Gbe, and in the Loango arca,such asKikongo, are much more relevantin this respect'
This showsthat derailedhistorical-demographicresearchmay drasticallyreducerhe setof Vithin the black population therewas a division oflabor berween6eld slaves(who
relevantsubstratelanguagesfor anygiven creole(seefurther chapter9) Other coloniesfor averageformed no more than around toyo ofa plantations blackwork force),houseslaves,
which similar work has been done include Mautitius (Baker198z),Cayenne(Jenningsto slavectaft:men, and slavesperforming variousorher task, such as hunting and
appear),and Martinique and Guadeloupe(SinglerI99zb). ThesediFerences in funcrion correlarednot oniywith diferencesin statusanJpowerwirh in
the black communiry, but alsowith the amounr of linguistic interacrionwith
whites. A
Thesocio-hitorical baekgroundof creoles

specialfuncrion was rhat ofthc so-calledcreolemame, a black woman - usuallyelderly- little is ftnown about difFcrences
in u vcrsusL2 use of€mergent creoles'
who tookcareofthc youngerchildrcn. Sheis assumedro havcprovidedan important modcl assume'on the basisofwhat is knowr it seemssafcto
for the acquisitionoflanguage by thesechildrcn, besidetheir patentsand oth€r r€latives, diff...n...
;,;;;;:r::ilJ o",T:::?[j::filH
Aparr from these,cveryslavecommunity had oneor moreblackoverseers, who occupied *
an intermediary position in rhc power srructure,betw€enthe white masterand the black tasks ",f ".ql*d ":*ooing p.ooss,thcywe.. "*.ign.i ,o ;;;;.J
f 1,induded ;*, _**
innoducing tothel"d r..g"""g.,i..."r,,i;:; i".ii," .'*^
workforce.To him was delegatedthe execurionofpunishmcnt and allocationof task, as the model for Janguage ,n*
acquisitionwaslargelyprovided by blacra,
also the decisionon when sick slaveswere fit to work. In addition to this, lher€ is some not whites. In coronres
where,due to the demographicfacrors
rcfer-red.; *"i"i,.r,,r.]
evidcnccrhat hc was alsoa religiousleaderin thc black communiry. ln many cases,quite increasedquite slowiy,rhe usk ofseaso r**
"r.ii. "i.*.*
surprisingll the black overseerevenseemsto havebeenin a more powerful position than u*n,",r,.,,r,",'
il;;;il:;:::::l*'.::.j;Hft il,l:i#;n-
the whitcoverseer ProbablythesediFerencesin powerandstatusbenveendifferent groups *: .econd ianguageby the African-born
ofslaveswere reflectedin their languageuse,just like in any other society,but, unfortu- I'i:":fjT.:l::,: slaveswoLrldbe a second,not
a nrsr tanguageversionof that creole.But
again,it is aitr.ul, ,o ..,i_",.
nately,this cannot be empirically verified, duc to the absenceof documenlaryevidence. influencethis may havehad on the emergrng tt.
Apart from this, there must also havebeenconsiderabledifferencesin rhe quality and Finally,two points have to bc mentioned,
First, thc siavepopulation was not
quantiry ofcontacrs belwe€ndifferent groupsofblacks on the one hand andwhites on the aspowerless always
asis ofren assumcd,Because
ofthei..h.., numb..., th. bf
other.Thus, among the blaci<sthe ovetseerprobablyhad, ifnot the most regular,the most **.
thrcarto the whites,who could only control "J, "."rr,"ra
th._ by the useoffo.... in;;;;r..,"r,
elaborateverbalinteractionswi(h the whites,due to the necessiryofdiscussingthetechnical fotms of resistanccused by rhe slavcswcre
..U.ffir"", ,t.if... ."r.-rf.'a*.r0,
detailsofplantation management.ln d€scendingorderoffrequency and intensityofcontact despitetheir lack offreedom, slaveswerc "rJ
much ftore mobile than hasoften beenassumed.
probably followed 6rsr by the domesticslaves,then by
with whitcs, the black overseer-was Sexualrelationships,funerals,festivities,tracle
o*,.. p-ro-ri;:;;;;;;,rr,,r.,
the slaveswhohad spccialtasksand, 6naliy, by the field sJaves and the unproductiveslaves, for contactsoutsidethe plantation (Muyrers "na ".,;ri,l.
1993).The lirgr,r,u i_p".rlii*
Although it is impossibleto reconstructthc linguistic consequences this may have had, it howcver,can asyet not be established- ,"..",
still seemsuseful to be awareofthc fact that the stereorypical imag€ ofplantation society
asa strictly dichotomous one is an idealization,and that the actualsituationwasmuch more
complex. 2.4 Demography
In the courseof timc, a group intermediateberweenthe black and white populations AJthoughsomc dcmographicissueshave
beenbriefly touchedupon in se-ion
of rhe plantationsdeveloped,consistingofmulattoes (coloteds),who were the resultsof thcseissuesdcservea more deraileddiscussion 2.2 above,
in ..t"tion ro...olir.tio". ii," U'*
sexua.lrelationshipsbetweenwhite men and black women. This was a privilegedgroup, rcasons. ,..
Firsr,cenaindemographic fac,or..on.,i,r,. "
whosememberswereoften sen!to town in order to serveashouseslaves,or, when theyw€re !ur 1o J,r.,onl;;;;;;;,;.
to be ablero happenin rhe6rs, pJ"... Fo. "r"..r,
inr,"n... *;;.,;;1;;:rrr,n.
recognizrd by their farhers,bought free. Togcther with manumirted black slaves,these tharcreolesare the resultofu acquisition(or
tather crearion)by the n.r, g...-,,.rtrl
mulattocs formed a growing intermediate group, betwcenthe small group ofwhitcs and locally-bornchildren, s,r.h as Bickerto.,,.
EuageBioprogramHypothcsis(r98r' r9!4), "f
the largemassofslaves.This adds to a further refrnementofrhe imageofslave socieryas
multi-stratal rather than bi-stratal,
presuppose rhepr€sence
;r*.J.*iJ.;"ffi j.'ji..:llff
ffi l:",Hl.
of, .uffi.i.n, ,ur,
O neother I inguisticallyrelevant feature ofslavesocieryis the fact that the black popula-
rion consistedof two groups, thc bozalsor salt water slaves,thosewho had bcen born in
data.onsomecolonics,suchas ffi:l
Jamaicaand Surinam(Singler19g6),s*. ," i"*,i*
conditionwas not fulGlled there durins.this
period. Tius, ;.;;*.-rphn;;;;;.
Africa, and the creoles,thosewho had been born in the colony. Linguisticallyspeaking, provideextralingr_ristic ,"",
.ounter-eviden.&r so-. hypoth..."
this differenceis reflectedin the fact that thc former arrivedin the colony speakingone or Second,therc are some demographicfacto" "boui..i"lir",,"_""
more African language(s),whereasthe latter acquiredtheir 6rst languagc(s)(a creole,an -
fo r creolization, areneverthi "j,h";;;;.;;;;;,:;*,,*"
African language,someversionofthc metropolitan language)in thecolony.A.lthoughvery narurc
0,.;.;,.;.;;i:';:'.T5:;:,'..5;ffi L"*T,iff ;::,j;
2oth-centuryevidence'eventhough creoli?ationis essentiallya
all creol€sexc€Ptthosethat are in ihc canin principie be csrablishedempirically,rhe reasonfor their introduction is a heunsoc,
i, ,o ,ry, *hil. .r.olit"tion is an event o€the pastfor
that hasbeen hypothesizedabout it hesbeen not an empirical one. In other words, it is not an establishedfact that oreciseiythese
orocessofbeing formed todal almostanJthing
(the presenr day crcolcIanguage)' not historicalcvcntscorrelatcwith specificlinguisticevencs
suchasrhe onsetoIrhe creohzarron
i*r.a on Ll'o* ofthe ourcome ofthat process
factorsthat maycontribute process.Rarher, the idenrification ofEvents r and z providesa meansofgetting ar the
ir.* processitsell One ofthe demographic
to our
under'standing ofcreolizarion concernsthe developmentofthe quantitativeptopor_ relationshipbetweendemographicdevclopment andlinguisticprocessmoreprecisely.
more rcscarch,howcvcr,is neededto gain a b€rter insithr inro the significanceofdemo_
rhe presenceof models speakingthe graphicfacrorsfor creolegenesis.
oi .otorrio,io.r. This is a relevant f^.to, b."r.rr.
that languagero t'z The 6rsr,and up to now, only creolistwhohasattemptedto formalizethe imoortance
i"-tt"", o a necessarycondition for the ttansmissionof
certainly present in all creolizationsrtua- ofcertaindemographic6cto rsfor the processes
ofpidginization and creolizarion,isBicker-
i"."..r. La"trt"t. A,ft."gh t z-speakingmodelswere
models for lzlearning Africans may have ton (r984),who developeda PidginizationIndex (r,r),a demographicmeasurefor the degree
tions rhat we kno*, Jf, the availabiliryof these
different locations' and over time in e single location' ofpidginization.The degreeofpidginization is de6nedby Bickertonin rermsofstructural
JiF...d *ida1 So,h
"mong 6rst to draw attention to thc imPoF distancefrom the lexiEerlanguage:the higherthe pr, the smallerthc distance.The rr takes
i, i. fo. ,t i ..t on that Baker (1982),who wasthe
the term Eve[t r' referringto the intoaccountrhreedemographicfactors:v, r, and n. yis rhenumber ofyearsbetweenEvent
,"n." old.-og.rphi. factorsfor creolization'introduced
black and whire partsof thc population oand Event r; n is rhe number ofsubstratespeakersar Event t; and n is the averaqeannual
r"i". i" ,i-" ift." ""merical parity betweenthe
between the beginning of colonization impon ofsubstrate speakersafter Evenr r. The lormula rhus reads:
i. .**J. t, is hypothesizedihat in the period
are sufficient l-z speakerspresent for
f*it.i O. ,.t-ed Event o) znd Event r' ther€
i'e' to actuallylearn it' asopposcd
wcry lz -rrn. learnerto haveadequateaccess to the language'
After Event r' when increasing numbers ofslaves
fr'" ..'.., .o "peakinga pidgin-
- i-p.1.,.a *ftit. ,fte ,tumber of*hites does not growin proportion ro these' it becomcs Ofcourse, this formula should nor be construedas, nor is ir intended as,in any rv"y a,
"r. to learn the language absolutequantitativemcasureofpidginization. Whar itdoesarempt, is ro relatethe degree
increa-singly difficult for Lz learnersto gain accessto nativesPeakers
r-z models is not just a quantirativc mattcri aswas ofpidginization to thc demographicdevelopmentofa panicular colony. Thus, a black
ftom. Ob:*iou"ly, the issucofaccessto
interaction between whires and blacks may havc populationthat growsslowly until Eventr (i.e.wherer is high) will yield a languagervith
i" r".,i.n r.l, Aso the qualiry ofthc
"o,.J must undoubtedly have had a linguistic impact' a tclativelyhigh lr. Similatly, a high rarc ofpost-Event r importarion ofstaves(i.e. where
aiff.r.d *lday. At.rto"gh diffetentialaccess
about it to specify this in any derail' nis high)willyield a relativelylow nr. In the formercasea colonialversionofthe metropoli,
at the moment not enough is known
byBaker' is Event z' which tcfers tanlanguagewillprobably emerge,while in the latterthe genesisofa pidgin is more likely.
Anothe. important demographicevent'distinguished
of locally born blacks' or creoles'teachesnumerical Althoughthe rr hasbeenseverelycriticized(Singlerr99o), it may still servea usefulfunc-
,. ,;. ;;t;; il-. *hen the
"umber Events'Ev€nt 3' which is no! tion, namclyas a 6rst hcuristic in trying ro come to grips with a number ofcompiex arrd
(The third ofBaker's
o"ritv*i f, ,1. ,o."1 oumber of whites
it,'""'", refers to the point in time when the immigration of clusiveextralinguistic factors,which mosr creolisrsagreeare of crucial imporrancefor
asthepoint in time atwhich thc black creolizationbut which are seldomdealt with in any systematicmanner
substratespeakersstops.)Ev€nt2 maybe iorerpreted
t * .*"fl,ed or nativized to such an extenr that creolizationoflanguagc may Anodrerfactor to be reckonedwith is the degreeoflinguistic homogeneityofboth the
E,'".', n"i"' black pop'lation hasacquiredthe'critical mas' blackand white popularions.\X4rilein somecoloniesthe bulk ofthe white population all
'. "h' cteolization
r..**" * to take place This does not mean' ofcourse' that spokethc sameEuropeanlanguage,therewere others (Surinam,Virgin Islands)rvherea
-.a.*ion o''ly th"t for it is fulfilled Vhether creolization varietyofEuropean languageswas spoken.More importantll perhaps,the degreeofthe
i". *U. pl"t,
"...rr"tit " 'ondition demographic hctors' suchu homogeneity ofthe substratealsodiff'eredwidely.
An extremecaseis reprcsenced
- among other things' on other by Berbrce,
will actually occur' depends,
developmentswithin the whitc wherea singleAfrican language,Easternljo, is assumedto havebeenspokenby most of
the rate of post-Event-zslaveimports and demographic
theblacks,In other cascs,th€ African subsrrarewasfar more hererogeneous.
A. .hown by
1 Pidgins
Singler (I988),the homogenciryofthe substratcis an importanr factor in determining
genesis Peter Bakl<er
deereeofsubstrateinBuencein creole
Aconcept, borrowedfrom popularion genetics,which hasbeenintroducedrecentlyinto
the historical demographicsof creole genesis(Mu6lene r993a)' is that ofthe
principle, This principle is supposed to account for the disProPortionatelystrong influence
ih"found., pop,tl",ion ofasettlcment mayhaveon ihe gencticmakc-up ofthe
r,"g... Th. id.a is that, similarly, the language(s) ofacolony's foundcr population'
",In,.r stronginfluenceon
both Eurolean and non-European,may havehad a disproportionately l.r Introduction
AJthough the idea irselfis interesdng' i!5 valuecannot
the creolelanguage(s)ofthat colony. Pidginsare languageslexicallyderived from orher languages,but which are structurally
and more reliable dam about the founder populations ofa
be establisheduntil more exact simpli6ed,especiallyin their morphology.They comc inro being where people needto
available summarizing' it is clearthat much more
number ofcreole societieshavcbecome communicatebut do not havca languagein common.Pidginshaveno (or few)Frstlanguage
can be
researchis neededbefore the exactimpact ofdemographic factorson creolization
speakers,they arcthesubjectoflanguagelearning,they havcsrructuralnorms,rheyareused
establishedin a syst€maticway by rwo or more groups,and thcyareusuallyunintelligiblefor speakers
ofthe languagefrom
which rhe lexicon derives.
Further reading
(I992)isaconcisebui In most studiesofpidgin and creolelanguages, pidgins fare rather poorly.Too often,
Rens(I911)is a socialhistoryofthe SurinamcreolesMintz & Price
culture' whiicVan Stipriaan theyareassumedto be simpleversionsofcreoles,or it is statedthat creolesarejust pidgins
excellentintroduction to the socialhistory ofAfrican-American
system Chau- which suddenlyacquiretypical creole-likestructural propertiesupon becoming mother
(r993)provi<lesa detailedstudy ofthe development ofsurinam's plantation
andcultural crcolizatioo tongues.Furthermore,forms ofPidgin Englishofthe Paci6c,especiallyNew Guinea,are
a.nron (tqqr) i.." in,erestinBand wide-rangingsurvey oflinguistic
ofthe Saramac- oftengiven asexamples,but thesearenot unambiguousexarnplesofpidgins, asthey ,',y
processes,wirh particularrefercnce ro rhe The
French-lexifiercteoles history
slave trade is Cunin beborh6rst andsecondlanguages and havebeenspokenformanygenerations.Hence,rhey
..n maroonsis told i.t Price 0981). The classicwork on the Atlantic
participation in thar shareboth pidgin and creolclanguageproperties.Pidginsundergostructuralexpansionwhen
(r969),while Postma (r9to) is a quandtetive assessment ofthe Dutch
theiruscis exrendcdto many domains.In this chapter,we want to discussaswide a vrriery
trade, ofpidginsaspossible,focusingonpidginswhich neverbecamenativelanguages, and never
o<tended pidgins.Theseextendedpidginsresemble creoles.Hence,Paci6candVest African
Pidgin English will not bc the focus of our conc€rn. \f€ will arguethat (a) pidgins are
structurallystrikingly different from creoles,(b) pidgins may haveconsiderablycomplex
morphologyand(c) pidginsarevery often basedon the local languagerarherthan on the
The erymologyofthe word 'pidgin wasa subjcctofdebate, but rhis hasbeensettled
recendy.In Hancock (t979) severaletymologieswere discussed, but more recenrresearch
the ChinesePidgin English pronunciationoI the English word batines as ks
soutce(seeBaker & MiihlhAusler r99o: 93), panicularly becauseof irs use in a popuiar
ChinescPidgin English phrasc-bookin Chin€secharacrersin the early rgoo's (Shi r99z).
The word, spelled'pigeon',wasalreadyusedin r8o7for ChinesePidgin English,and rt rvas
only many decadesIater that ir becarneusedasa gcncricrerm for all pidgins.Unril then,
lhe term iargon was commonly usedfor pidginsin someareas,asis still clcarfrom all rhe
North American pidginswhich are calledJargons'.Europeansalsoused rhe rerm lingua