2020 applicants
Event

Decreolization: A special case of language change

A talk with Dr Oliver Mayeux from the University of Cambridge regarding language change

  • Thu 13 Feb 20

    12:00 - 13:00

  • Colchester Campus

    1N1.4.1

  • Event speaker

    Dr Oliver Mayeux

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

    Professor Peter Patrick
    01206 872088

A talk with Dr Oliver Mayeux from the University of Cambridge regarding language change.

All languages change. Creoles are no exception. Do creoles change in the same ways as other languages? Language change in creoles has largely been discussed within the confines of 'decreolization': apparently a 'special case' of contact-induced change whereby the creole becomes more similar to its lexifier over time (Bickerton 1980). Decreolization has been characterized as 'an insecure notion: insufficiently distinguished from ordinary change processes, possibly conceptually incoherent, and certainly not adequately supported by diachronic investigations to date' (Patrick 1999:19).

This talk by Dr Oliver Mayeux presents a diachronic corpus study of language contact and change in Louisiana Creole, a critically-endangered language in contact with French (its lexifier) and English. It will be argued that decreolization is not a 'special case' of language change.  Instead, language change in creoles can (and should) be described using existing theoretical frameworks not specific to creole languages.