Theories of linguistic creolization
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Theories of linguistic creolization book
The history of creolistics is not yet a very long one. The first description of a creole language appeared in 1869: a discussion of Trinidadian Creole, by John Joseph Thomas, inaccurately titled The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar. (Since then, quite a number of theories have been put forward, often without adequate and precise knowledge of facts!) Over the last twenty-five years research has significantly increased; creoles appear to constitute a noteworthy research area for conceiving and/or verifying theories that bear on the formation and evolution of languages. The genesis of most languages is lost in distant historical periods – if not in the darkness of time – but that of creole language varieties took place in the near past, in sociohistorical conditions that can often be determined with great accuracy. To take up an earlier metaphor of mine, but one that I would not like to overuse, one could say that creolization is a human and social tragedy characterized by three unities similar to those of French (originally Greek) classic tragedy:
1 unity of place: they emerged typically on islands; 2 unity of time: they developed typically within approximately a century; 3 unity of action: they evolved in colonial slave communities.