The present article poses some fundamental questions related to bilingualism and to the acquisition of two phonological components, by very young children. It discusses different types of bilingualism and their outcomes. After a brief consideration of alleged pros and cons of bilingualism brought up in the past decades, two perspectives of bilingualism are sketched—psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic—and certain aspects of bilingual child phonology are presented from each of these points of view. The essential issue is whether different outcomes of bilingual child phonology are predictable, and to find the crucial criteria to support the predictions. Finally, the discussion addresses some basic questions about bilingual acquisition, and ends with a summary of various types of cross-linguistic interaction.
This article takes an account of language transfer and cross-linguistic studies. Its relativism, universalism, and the native language are the focal point. Language transfer, or cross-linguistic influence, has long been a topic that many in applied linguistics have pondered, even though some have doubted its importance. In recent work on transfer, two different orientations have been prominent—one universalist and the other relativist. Although these orientations are opposed to each other in certain ways, research on both relativism and universalism intersects with the study of cross-linguistic influence. This article emphasizes the significance of the relativist orientation, but it also contends that any thorough understanding of transfer and universals necessitates a broad view of what characterizes all human languages. The link between relativism and transfer has recently received increased attention, but earlier research also considered that possibility. Studies of cross-linguistic influence may attract the interest of anyone concerned with the study of language.
Enoch Aboh and Michel deGraff
Creole languages are typically the linguistic side effects of the creation of global economies based on the forced migration and labor of enslaved Africans toiling in European colonies in the Americas. Section 1 addresses terminological and methodological preliminaries in Creole studies, including definitions of ‘Creole’ languages that contradict some of the fundamental assumptions in studies of Universal Grammar (UG). Section 2 evaluates Creole-formation hypotheses, including claims about the lesser grammatical complexity of Creoles and about an exceptional ‘Creole typology’ outside the scope of the Comparative Method in historical linguistics. Section 3 offers the sketch of a framework for a Null Theory of Creole Formation (NTC) that excludes sui generis stipulations about Creole formation and Creole languages and that is rooted in UG, as it applies to all languages. Section 4 concludes the paper with open-ended questions on the place of Creole formation within larger patterns of contact-induced language change.