English-based creoles



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Fr 12:15-13:45, Raum C 601

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Das PS Linguistics gehört in folgenden Studiengängen jeweils zu folgenden Modulen:

- BA English and American Studies (neu): Zwischenmodul II Linguistics. (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul I: Thematisches Kombinationsmodul)

- Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien (neu): Zwischenmodul L-GYM Linguistics. (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Basismodul Linguistics)

- Lehramt Englisch an Grund-, Haupt- und Realschulen (neu): Seminarmodul L-UF Linguistics. (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Elementarmodul Linguistics)

Scheinerwerb: Referat + Hausarbeit


In this class we will study creoles (and pidgins) and discuss various questions concerning this particular type of languages. Although there are many creoles based on several different languages, the focus of this class lies on English-based creoles, such as Jamaican English or Tok Pisin (spoken in Papua New Guinea).
Creoles are languages that develop in very specific sociolinguistic settings, e.g. in the sugar plantations of the New World, when colonizing Europeans brought together African slaves from various sociolinguistic communities who had to live and work together. Important characteristics of situations in which creoles develop include inhomogeneous groups of people without a predominant common language, only partial input of a common language (European language spoken by the plantation masters); pressure to work together and to communicate.
With regard to their linguistic properties, creoles can often be related to a lexifier language (in this case English), which provides most of the lexemes for the emerging creole, but is not involved in its grammatical structure. The grammatical structure of creoles is often heavily influenced by a substrate language (or languages), corresponding to the native languages of the non-European groups involved.
English-based creoles can be divided into two main groups: the Atlantic group (West Africa and the Caribbean), established in the 17th and 18th centuries; and the Pacific group, established in the 19th century. These two groups are, due to sociolinguistic settings, rather distinct in terms of grammar as well. Using a few particular languages as case studies, we will examine the grammatical properties of English-based creoles, relate them to their substrates and contrast them with English, which served as their lexifier.
Additional topics related to creoles that will be discussed in this class are:
- different scenarios/hypotheses for the emergence of creoles
- the relation of creoles to "usual" processes in language change
- the role of creoles for linguistic universals and the origin of language
- the role of first vs. second language acquisition in the emergence of pidgins and creoles