[Grammaires Créoles] Kouwenberg (U. of the West Indies) / Schang (Orléans)

Disentangling SLA and Creole Genesis / ANR CREAM Documentation des langues CREoles Assistée par la Machine
Lundi 15 Mars 2021 - 14:00 à 17:00
Lieu détaillé: 



The session will open with a short presentation
    14h-14h15 Emmanuel Schang (Orléans)
projet ANR CREAM Documentation des langues CREoles Assistée par la Machine (ANR :

14h15 - 17:00 (Paris) Silvia Kouwenberg (U. of the West Indies)
Disentangling SLA and Creole Genesis (diaporama -- slides)

Creole genesis processes used building blocks drawn from the languages in contact and conflict. This means that learning was involved: the forms had to be learned. For the most part, this seems to have been in one direction: speakers of African languages learned some of the forms of the dominant European language. The question of the extent of L2 learning is what this paper will try to address. The issues to be considered include:
  • Scholars such as Ingo Plag, Tonjes Veenstra, have argued that creole languages were built upon the foundations of Early Interlanguage. What does Early Interlanguage look like, and do we see evidence of it in creole languages?
  • The Schwartz & Sprouse Full Transfer/Full Access model suggests the possibility that creole genesis parallels SLA in the sense that both take the L1 grammar as the starting point of the processes. But how do they diverge after that initial Full Transfer?
  • The case of Berbice Dutch, which involves a very large number of African forms in basic vocabulary, shows that speakers of the dominant European language learned forms from the non-dominant African language in the contact situation. This raises several intriguing questions: Is it possible that the European language was not simply imposed, but that enslaved Africans chose to use it, and if so, why?
  • Mervyn Alleyne argued that enslaved Africans "acculturated" to the European culture and language to different degrees, depending on their status in slave society and their access to Europeans, with competence in the dominant European language ranging from minimal to proficient. Jacques Arends has suggested that bilingual black overseers could have acted as linguistic role models on the plantations. This may mean that it is bilinguals who "translated" European language forms for enslaved Africans with less direct access to the European culture and language. We will review these issues in light of Darlene LaCharite's observation that Creole language forms show evidence of phonological interpretation of unfamiliar segments rather than phonetic approximation.
The interface between SLA and Creole studies is complex and diverse. While we do not expect to resolve these issues, we will see that SLA throws some light on Creole genesis processes and that intriguing questions remain for further research.