- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Universal Grammar
- List of Figures and Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- The Contributors
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Mind
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Language
- On the History of Universal Grammar
- The Concept of Explanatory Adequacy
- Third-Factor Explanations and Universal Grammar
- Formal and Functional Explanation
- Phonology in Universal Grammar
- Semantics in Universal Grammar
- The Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus
- First Language Acquisition
- The Role of Universal Grammar in Nonnative Language Acquisition
- Principles and Parameters of Universal Grammar
- Linguistic Typology
- Parameter Theory and Parametric Comparison
- A Null Theory of Creole Formation Based on Universal Grammar
- Language Change
- Language Pathology
- The Syntax of Sign Language and Universal Grammar
- Looking for UG in Animals: A Case Study in Phonology
- Index of Authors
- Index of Subjects
- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
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.
Enoch O. Aboh is Professor of Linguistics and Learnability at the University of Amsterdam. He explores issues of learnability of human languages with a special focus on theoretical syntax as related to the discourse-syntax interface, language creation and language change.
Michel DeGraff is Professor of Linguistics at MIT and Director of the ‘MIT–Haiti Initiative’ funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. He is also a founding member of Haiti’s Haitian Creole Academy. He studies Creole languages, focusing on his native Haitian Creole. His research deepens our understanding of the history and structures of Creole languages. His analyses show that Creole languages, often described as ‘exceptional’ or ‘lesser,’ are fundamentally on a par with non-Creole languages in terms of historical development, grammatical structures, and expressive capacity. His research projects bear on social justice as well. In DeGraff’s vision, Creole languages and other so-called ‘local’ languages constitute a necessary ingredient for sustainable development, equal opportunity, and dignified citizenship for their speakers—a position that is often undermined by theoretical claims that contribute to the marginalization of these languages, especially in education and administration.
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