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date: 17 January 2018

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: Creole languages, Comparative Method, complexity, typology, language acquisition, language change

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