Areal perspectives on creole evolution

13 juin 2022 --10h00 - 12h00

dans le cadre des projets Labex VC4/5 INALCO PLC 5.24 – 10h
Conférence de Kofi Yakpo (University of Hong Kong)
Decade-long disputes about the ontological nature of creoles have diverted resources and attention from a more pressing question: How do language families evolve and differentiate across geographic, functional-linguistic, and diachronic space when unfettered by standardization? The richly documented socio-history of creoles and abundant linguistic data hold some of the answers. I will show how the English-lexifier creoles of the Atlantic basin have been fashioned by migrations of founder populations, genealogical splits, acquisition by multilingual populations and language shift, interlectal cross-diffusion, and structural convergence with adstrate, substrate, and superstrate languages. Drawing on research on causatives (Yakpo 2017a), object pronouns (Yakpo 2019a), and copulas (Yakpo 2019b), I show how an areal perspective on creole evolution combining geography, socio-history, and linguistic analysis can inform our understanding of contact and change in the absence of institutional language engineering.