Typology of creole phonology

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This paper reports on the analysis of a typological database of creole phoneme inventories and surface syllables. The sample encompasses a balanced set of creole languages lexified by Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages. The results of the analysis demonstrate that most creole languages exhibit between twenty and thirty-seven contrastive segments, between five and seven phonemic vowel qualities, and between two and three stop series. No creoles show only CV, and many display CCVC surface syllables. These features are quite unremarkable in comparison with non-creole languages around the world, but they represent significant evidence against claims that the structure of creole languages is especially simple. Instead, creole languages cluster in the typological middle.


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