The problem of the typological classification of creoles

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This book contains 25 chapters bearing on detailed comparisons of some 30 creoles and their substrate languages. As the substrate languages of these creoles are typologically different, the detailed investigation of substrate features in the creoles leads to a particular answer to the question of how creoles should be classified typologically. The present chapter therefore introduces the material analysed in the chapters of this book from the point of view of language typology. I begin with a discussion of the problem of the typological classification of creole languages, and of the aims and limitations of this chapter. The bulk of the chapter provides an overview of the results of the research contained in the various chapters. First, I outline the ways in which the typological features of the substrate languages are manifested in the creoles. Second, I lay out a global picture of the variation found among creoles for various subsystems of the grammar. To a great extent, this variation reflects that displayed by the substrate languages of the creoles. Third, based on each author’s proposals, I review the processes that led to such a situation and the constraints that are acting upon them. The chapter ends with my overall evaluation of the problem of the typological classification of creoles.


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