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Competition and selection

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Abstract

This paper demonstrates that the notion of simplicity as often used in creole studies is completely irrelevant to the understanding of the structure, as well as the genesis, of creole languages. This is because creole languages are linguistic hybrids in the biological sense. They emerge from the recombination of linguistic features from different languages. Given this perspective, it appears that what could be of some relevance to the study of language change is rather the notion of complexity. Within the framework of Competition and Selection as proposed in Mufwene (2001ff.), and adopted in this paper, creole languages develop opaque syntactic and semantic features. These could not have arisen solely in the context of their source languages. Accordingly, the common claim that creoles are simplified versions of their sources is a fallacy, just as it would be to claim in biology that hybrids are genetically simplified children of their parents.

References

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