According to DeGraf (2014, p. 233), in spite of the volumes of studies on creole, it has not been “operationalized with rigorous and reliable criteria in linguistic theory.” Creole is a sociohistorically as well as politically-motivated construct that is usually misidentified as linguistic (DeGraf 2014; Mufwene, 2008). The word creole itself comes from the Portuguese
word “crioulo” as well as the Spanish “criollo” which generally means “raised in the home” (DeGraf 2014, p. 233). The term was first used in the classification of certain animal and plant varieties rather than in languages. In the history of the Caribbean, the term was eventually used for the classification of biological beings, including man. Therefore, the word “Creole” usually precedes the official classifications of different types of species. As seen here, the original use of creole did not have any structural properties, and may be applied as a descriptor of speech varieties rather than species varieties.
DeGraf (2014) explains that the original creole speakers were those working in Caribbean plantations (Classic creole) with significant influence from African and European languages. It was developed gradually by both children and adults in different contact circumstances. According to DeGraf (2014), this development had been impacted by complex sociohistorical dimensions that encompass “a continuumof social divides and power asymmetries” (DeGraf, 2014, p. 233).
One end of the continuum is defined by inequality between dominant and dominated groups: these were the European speakers of superstrate (dominant) and the speakers of African substrate languages (dominated). At the opposite end of the sp...
... middle of paper ...
...ich the comparative method may be applied. However, far worse, creoles are considered as linguistic forms that have no predecessors. This belief is associated with another myth about creole that it is a modern replica of human language that is yet at its infancy.
This myth that creole emerged out of broken transmission is discredited by relatively recent studies using comparative data as well as empirical and theoretical evidence (DeGraf, 2014). Notably, studies have shown that there are “systematic lexical and morpho-syntactic correspondences between radical Creoles and their European lexifiers” right from the start of their emergence (DeGraf, 2014, p. 234). Researchers have also shown that African substrate languages have been transferred to Creole grammars. This is not surprising as a result of the Caribbean history as well as findings of L2 acquisition studies.
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