Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

What do creoles and pidgins tell us about the evolution of language?

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Salikoko Mufwene
University of Chicago

Description

I argue that what little the development of creoles and pidgins tells us about the evolution of language in mankind is definitely not what has been claimed in the literature. It has to do with competition and selection during the evolution, with how gradual the process was, and with how communal norms arise. The histories of the development of creoles and pidgins in, respectively, the European plantation and trade colonies of the 17th to 19th centuries present nothing that comes close to replicating the evolutionary conditions that led to the emergence of modern language. Nor are there any conceivable parallels between, on the one hand, the early hominids’ brains and minds that produced What do creoles and pidgins tell us the protolanguages posited by Bickerton (1990, 2000) and Givón (1998) and, on the other, those of both the modern adults who produced (incipient) pidgins and the modern children who produce child language, even if one subscribes to the ontogeny recapitulates-phylogeny thesis.

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Citation

Mufwene, Salikoko. What do creoles and pidgins tell us about the evolution of language?. Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 272 - 297 May 2008. ISBN 9781845535537. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=19036. Date accessed: 26 Sep 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.19036. May 2008

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