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You are here: Home / News & Events / CLS Speaker Series / Salikoko Mufwene (University of Chicago) - Creoles Did Not Evolve from Pidgins; and Interpreters Delayed the Emergence of the Latter

Salikoko Mufwene (University of Chicago) - Creoles Did Not Evolve from Pidgins; and Interpreters Delayed the Emergence of the Latter

When Apr 12, 2019
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Moore 127
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Creoles Did Not Evolve from Pidgins; and Interpreters Delayed the Emergence of the Latter

The received doctrine in creolistics since the late 19th century is that creoles evolved from pidgins. However, the socioeconomic history of the territories where creoles emerged does not support this position. Creoles appear to have emerged by basilectalization, diverging from closer approximations of their European nonstandard lexifiers to varieties increasingly different. Emerging in separate geographical settings from creoles, pidgins too seem to have evolved by basilectalization from nonstandard varieties of the same European languages. Moreover, they do not seem to have emerged as early as claimed in the literature, not sooner than the late 18th century, based on the documentary evidence available. Trade between European merchant companies (not individuals) and non-European rulers (not commoners) took place through interpreters, who also functioned as brokers. Even the exploitation colonization of Africa and Asia
proceeded through interpreters!