Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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According to the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis, the core grammars of all "real" creoles should be alike to a significant degree. Real creoles are then defined as those creoles that were born on plantations, as opposed to those that appeared in so-called fort situations, that is, around trading posts and the like. The validity of the hypothesis depends on the precise characterization of what counts as a plantation situation, which is by no means an obvious task, contrary to what seems to have been assumed. An attempt toward such a characterization is made here. Tayo, a French-based creole spoken in the south of New Caledonia, can be considered a plantation creole and should therefore appear similar to, for example, Haitian and Isle-de-France Creole. That it differs radically from these languages in such basic domains as the determiner and the TMA systems, however, is easily demonstrated. Factors that might explain the difference are then examined, with the conclusion that only relexification from a substrate New Caledonian language can be retained as the primary reason for this difference. Although arguably a plantation creole, Tayo falls thus clearly outside the scope of the LBH, appearing rather as strong supportive evidence for the Relexification Hypothesis. Given the importance of the case for deciding between competing theories, further detailed investigation is urgently needed in order to ascertain whether Tayo is indeed a plantation creole, as it is seems to be, in view of the available historical and ecological evidence.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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