[Grammaires Créoles] Silvia Kouwenberg (University of the West Indies)

Titre: 
Are creoles a special type of language? Methodological issues in phylogenetic approaches
Date: 
Lundi 8 Avril 2019 - 14:00 à 16:30
Lieu détaillé: 

Salle 159

Description: 

Silvia Kouwenberg (University of the West Indies)
Are creoles a special type of language? Methodological issues in phylogenetic approaches

This represents joint work with John Victor Singler. We focus on the phylogenetic computational procedures used in a recent body of work by Peter Bakker, Aymeric Daval-Markussen and Mikael Parkvall. We explain the nature of the procedures before moving to its application to linguistic data. We show that the apparent sophistication of the phylogenetic approach, which relies on a combination of computational packages to produce output in the form of reticulate networks, cannot remedy the flaws in Bakker et al.'s work. These are flaws arising from questionable assumptions about linguistic features, pervasive errors in the data which are fed into the computation (including errors which appear to be systematic), the problematic treatment of gaps in the data, and the over-interpretation of output patterns. Contrary to Bakker et al.’s conclusion that they have definitively proven “that creoles form an identifiable and distinct subgroup among the world’s languages” (2011:9), we contend that methodologically sound procedures will fail to produce a typological distinction between creoles and non-creoles.