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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 395N • Creole and Pidgin Languages

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34795 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 1.210

Course Description

This graduate seminar in Creole Studies will begin with a general discussion of the nature of pidgin and creole languages, and we will listen to tape-recorded samples and examine some publications written in them. No attempt will be made at this point to draw any conclusions about what kind of languages they are, or where they come from. This will be followed by an account of the development of the field of Creole Studies (Creolistics). from Pelleprat (1649) to the present. The major approaches - monogeneticist, polygeneticist, relexificationalist, substratist, componentlalist, bioprogram - will be examined, and the works of their main proponents read and discussed.

This will then be followed by an analysis of the definitions of the terms pidgin and creole, and of other so-called 'marginal' languages (traders' jargons, cryptolectal varieties, foreigner speech, etc.), in order to justify their inclusion, or otherwise, as true cases of pidginized or creolized languages. This will be followed by a survey of the world's pidgins and creoles, and a detailed examination of the history and linguistic features of a small number of representative languages, with tape-recorded texts for analysis. These will include African American Vernacular ("Black English"), Texas Afro-Seminole Gullah and Louisiana Creole French, among others. We will also look at Creole literature and the works of some Creole authors. Towards the end of the course we shall return to the issues raised at the beginning, and attempt a definition of the processes and typologies. We will also look at creolization as it relates to acquisitionist theory, the process of decreolization/metropolitanization, and issues of education and standard language reform.


There is a workbook you will need to get (from Speedway Copy, in Dobie Mall), and I will provide supplemental handouts.


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