Article published in:Agency in the Emergence of Creole Languages: The role of women, renegades, and people of African and indigenous descent in the emergence of the colonial era creoles
Edited by Nicholas Faraclas
[Creole Language Library 45] 2012
► pp. 149–184
Sociétés de cohabitation and the similarities between the English lexifier Creoles of the Atlantic and the Pacific
The case for diffusion from the Afro-Atlantic to the Pacific
Although most creolists agree that the Atlantic and Pacific colonial era English-lexifier Creoles have a number of linguistic forms and functions in common, no agreement has as yet been reached concerning the extent, the significance, or the source of these shared features. Over the past decades, the list of these Atlantic-Pacific features identified by creolists has steadily increased in length from a handful of words in 1980 to an inventory of almost one hundred lexical and grammatical items in 2005. Utilizing new sources, we propose that this list be extended by at least 50% to include most of the creole functions and forms that linguists had previously thought to be exclusive either to the Atlantic or to the Pacific. These findings are strongly suggestive of linguistic diffusion from the Atlantic to the Pacific (and back) during the colonial era. A re-analysis of the social, political and economic history of the colonial incursions of Great Britain and the United States into the Pacific from the 18th century onward to include the agency of marginalized peoples allows us to re-contextualize the emergence of the Pacific English-lexifier creoles in a way that clearly validates diffusion from the Afro-Atlantic as an important element in multi-causal and multi-dimensional scenarios for Pacific creole genesis.
Published online: 12 June 2012