Genetic Creolistics and Genetic Linguistics

Course time: 
Monday/Thursday 3:30-5:20 PM
JSB 231

In this course we will review the “creole exceptionalism” tradition against the uniformitarian view, according to which creoles have emerged and evolved like other, natural and non-creole languages. We will situate creoles in the context of the plantation settlement colonies that produced them and compare their emergence specifically with that of languages such as English and the Romance languages in Europe. We will also compare these evolutions with those of new colonial varieties of European languages (such as Amish English, mainstream American English varieties, Brazilian Portuguese, and Québécois French) which emerged around the same time but are not considered creoles. Using the comparative approach (in evolutionary theory), we will assess whether the criteria used in the genetic classification of languages have been applied uniformly to creole and non-creole languages. In return, we will explore ways in which genetic creolistics can inform and improve genetic linguistics (including historical dialectology).