chapter  23
The Emergence of Creoles and Language Change
BySalikoko S. Mufwene
Pages 18

From an evolutionary perspective, creoles have typically been discussed in relation to pidgins, from which they have allegedly evolved. This position has been disputed by, especially, Chaudenson (2001, 2003), Mufwene (2001, 2005, 2008), and DeGraff (2009), for reasons I discuss below. Much earlier, Alleyne (1971) had disputed the “baby talk” hypothesis, according to which pidgins had evolved from simplified, baby-like utterances produced by the nonEuropeans with whom the Europeans came in contact. Alleyne argues that fossils of variants still evident in Haitian Creole, Saramaccan, and Sranan (e.g., broko ‘break’, dede ‘died, dead’) speak otherwise. I show below that the history of the European trade and exploitation colonization of the relevant territories also disputes the “baby talk” hypothesis and its alternative, the “foreigner talk” hypothesis, according to which the Europeans spoke to non-Europeans in trade colonies in reduced utterances, imitating those produced by their interlocutors.