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Revisiting contact-induced change in creole languages

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ABSTRACT Creoles, like any other language, are subject to change over time. Typically, discussion of how creole languages change has been confined to the creolistics-specific framework of ‘decreolization’. Decreolization posits a reversal of the creolization process, such that creoles revert to lexifier structures through contact. This talk presents the results of a diachronic corpus analysis of Louisiana Creole, a critically endangered French-lexifier creole in intensive contact with French and English. These data challenge the traditional decreolization account. Creoles are found to be subject to the same processes of language contact and change as any other language, suggesting that creolists ought to move beyond the subfield-specific decreolization framework. Doing so can shed new light on creoles and pidgins, as well as languages and dialects in contact.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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