Linguistics Colloquium: John McWhorter (Columbia/Manhattan Institute)
NOV 14, 2013 | 5:00 PM TO 6:41 PM
The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
November 14, 2013: 5:00 PM-6:41 PM
Title: "Is There No Such Thing as a Creole?"
Since the introduction of the Creole Exceptionalism hypothesis in 1998, much of the controversy it has occasioned has centered on the question as to whether it is scientifically appropriate to reconstruct creoles as born in pidgins, rather than as results of only moderately transformative second-language acquisition or as simply mixtures of "features" from assorted languages. This talk will first outline traits in creoles that reveal their origins in pidgins. Then, I will present a revised characterization of the three features that I argue as occurring only in languages born of pidgins, and demonstrate how this distinguishes creoles from older languages sometimes adduced as contradicting Creole Exceptionalism. I will also discuss the competing Feature Pool / Population Genetics hypothesis of creole origins.
This talk begins at 5 p.m. instead of the usual 4:15 p.m.