Was Haitian ever more like French?

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In the debate on whether or not plantation creoles started out their lives as pidgins, attention has focused on the amount of structure inherited from the lexifier language. Many who argue for a mother-daughter relationship between lexifiers and creoles assume that these similarities derive from the lexifier input in the original contact situation. It has also been suggested that the distance between creoles and their lexifiers grow steadily bigger by time. This paper argues that Haitian Creole, a creole not normally thought of as decreolized, has diachronically moved closer to French. The theoretical implication of this observation is that it allows the possibility of today’s Haitian having an ancestor more deviant from French, an ancestor which might have been a pidgin.


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