A note on the process of lexical diffusion in the development of creoles: The case of double-object verbs

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In this paper, I explore the role of lexical diffusion in the development of creole languages through the study of lexical items involved in the double-object construction in Haitian Creole and its substrate languages. First, it is shown that, while the double-object construction is available in the substrate languages of Haitian, it is not available in French, the superstrate language of this creole. Second, it is shown that, while the class of verbs participating in the doubleobject construction is quite small in some of the substrate languages, it is quite large in the creole. It is argued that these discrepancies may be accounted for in terms of lexical diffusion. The paper ends with a discussion on the long standing issue of whether creolization is ‘abrupt’ or ‘gradual’.


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