A Creole language , or Creole for short , is a language that emerged from several languages in a situation of language contact , with a large part of the vocabulary of the new language often going back to one of the contact languages involved. After the creolization process , the creole language differs significantly from the source languages involved in terms of grammar , often also in terms of the phonetic system . In some cases, a Creole language evolves into a standard language through a process of language expansion. Many Creole languages emerged in the context of European colonization in the 17th and 18th centuries and the ensuing slave trade .
The Creole language with the most speakers is Haitian Creole , it is spoken by more than ten million people.
The term Creole or Creole is derived from the Creoles : In the once colonial countries, the languages and the population mixed. The Spanish word criollo actually means "native". The etymology goes from the Spanish criar “to raise” back to the Latin creare “to produce”.
Origin and characteristics
"Creole languages based on Portuguese, English, French or Dutch are a product of European expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries." "
“All Creols have certain similarities that make them appear similar to one another and different from their superstrate languages . Not every feature occurs in exactly the same form in all Creoles, although there are a number of appearances that are very typical. ”They stand out in phonology , general morphosyntax , the verbal system and the lexicon. These are z. B. SVO word order , the preverbal marking of negation, tense and mode as well as serial verb constructions . Creole languages "have [so] a regular and simple grammar and a fixed word order, avoid all somewhat difficult phonetic connections [and] favor the two-syllable". Jared Diamond writes: "Compared to pidgin languages , Creole languages are characterized by their more extensive vocabulary, their much more complicated grammar and the uniformity of language use."
The American linguist Derek Bickerton , like Noam Chomsky, believes that we humans have an innate universal grammar. He suspects that our genetically “pre-programmed” grammar corresponds to the Creole language.
Differentiation from pidgins
Creole languages are languages that are not only used for communication purposes, but also do justice to the expressive and integrative functions of a speaking community.
For a better understanding, the pidgin languages are often compared to the creole languages. However, both are difficult to distinguish from one another. Both pidgin languages and creole languages can be mother tongues, according to Knörr. On the other hand, there are representatives of the opinion that this is precisely not the case. Annegret Bollée, for example, explains that only Creole languages can be mother tongues. But she, too, points out that the definition should be sociolinguistic . "External language factors [...] are of particular importance in the Creole languages, since the otherness of these languages can only be justified sociolinguistically." Creole languages are nativized pidgins and every nativized pidgin is a creole.
Example: Spanish-based Creole languages
The Spanish-based Creole languages were created due to the interaction of certain socio-cultural factors in areas that are sometimes geographically far apart.
In Chocó, Chota Valley, Veracruz, Peru and Venezuela. According to McWhorter, the origin of the Spanish-based Creols can be traced back to West Africa. As part of the colonization, slaves from West Africa were taken by the Spaniards to the new colonies in Cuba and Puerto Rico . The Spaniards let the blacks work for themselves as domestic helpers and as slaves. Bozal Spanish was mostly spoken in Cuba. The language of the negros bozales was called Habla Bozal and represented a Creole on Cuban territory based on Spanish. McWhorter: “This suggests that Bozal Spanish is mainly a variant of Spanish used by non-native speakers. Something that you would expect from language learners who originally come from Africa ”Nevertheless, the statement that Bozal Spanish is Creole Spanish cannot be maintained. Rather, this is a case of linguistic variety.
In 1778 there were around 5,828 black slaves in the Chocó region, but only 175 white slaves. Their numbers increased steadily over the years until the ratio between Europeans and blacks was almost equal. The slaves who were forcibly settled in the colonies were in a strange situation. They were confronted with different, African individual cultures and with the culture of the colonial Europeans. According to McWhorter, the Spanish imported many West Africans with a wide range of languages into the Pacific lowlands of north-west Colombia, who had to work in the mines there. According to the model of limited access, this was a typical breeding ground for a contact language with an extremely reduced structure.
The contact between the two population groups was relatively distant. Neither of the two groups was linguistically homogeneous; they were different because they came from different regions. The ethno-cultural alienation forced by spatial distance created a need for new roots, for a sense of belonging that corresponds to the new situation. Because of the contact between the two population groups, the slaves had good access to white settlers, at least initially. The socio-economic importance of this language motivated them to learn it quickly, because due to the diversity of languages within the slave groups, language acquisition also served their internal communication.
“Esa gente som muy amoroso. Dijen que… dijeron que volbían sí… cuando le de su gana a ello vobe. "
“That people COP very nice. They-say that they-say- PAST that they-return- IMP yes when to-them give their desire to them return. "
“Those people are really nice. They say that ... they said that they would come back ... when they felt like it. "
The abbreviations COP , PAST , and IMP are grammatical indicators. COP indicates that there must be a form of a copula verb like "sein". PAST stands for a past tense of a verb and IMP for the use of a verb in the past tense .
Ecuador (Chota Valley)
African blacks have been brought there since the 17th century to work as slaves for the Jesuits and Mercedarians on haciendas (especially sugar cane plantations) and in mines or salt pans . Sugar cane was soon grown on an ever larger scale and the profits made in the colony grew. More and more slaves were imported from Africa to operate the labor-intensive monoculture , so that the creolization process began and soon accelerated continuously. Since the Creole languages emerged as a product of colonization and thus the domination of whites over blacks, they are still described by some as relics of slave society.
In the 15th century, Afro-Mexican communities could also be found in Veracruz . The slaves were also brought here mainly to work on sugar cane plantations.
The largest black settlements were in Peru . African language structures were largely retained, especially among the field slaves. So there was a continuum on the linguistic level, with a Creole language with pronounced African characteristics on one side and a Spanish dialect with less African characteristics on the other . “Spanish, probably. But black people in Peru spoke a local dialect of Spanish. "
The same applies to culture. Creole cultures emerged everywhere, in which the various individual cultural backgrounds of the colonial European cultural elements were integrated. In some areas, such as Venezuela , African elements were more likely to be preserved than in others. "Venezuela is home to a lively, consciously Afro-Venezuelan culture of folklore, music and dance - legacy of the massive deportation of Africans to mine and plantation work."
Papiamento and Palenquero
In fact, Papiamentu and Palenquero speak of Spanish-based Creole languages, although there is no uniform approval among experts. They are spoken on the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curação) and in Colombia. Both languages are based on Negro-Portuguese mixed with Spanish. So one could speak of Iberoroman-based Creols. Dutch vocabulary is also part of the lexicon of both. It is not only a diachronic but also a synchronic term, i.e. it relates to socio-historical observations and structural-linguistic ones.
Theories of origin
Although there are different theories of origins for Creole languages, several Creoleists agree on the following consensus: "If a pidgin is accepted by a language community as the first language and thus the mother tongue of a growing generation, it is called [...] Creole."
Typically, Creole languages get their lexicon predominantly from the language whose speakers are dominant in a certain way (mostly the colonial powers ). This becomes a lexifier or superstrate and thus forms the basis of the Creole language. The opposite is the language, from which basic grammatical structures are adopted - the substrate . This theory often mixes with others because it is supported by a large number of scientists in this field. So it is possible that the terms substrate and superstrate are presupposed and do not apply as an independent theory, but are part of others.
In simple terms, this would mean that the immigrants tried to communicate with the locals. To do this, they reduced their own language in vocabulary and grammar so that the locals could understand them better. So the language from outside becomes the basic language. This form corresponds to the simplification theory. The core of communication between both parties consisted of orders. Orders which the immigrant colonial rulers tried to make the locals understandable. So there was no deeper interest in conveying their own language in all its complexity. Errors that crept in were not corrected, but retained in further usage. This method is similar to baby talk: the way people talk to each other is similar to how they communicate with small children. In addition to the lack of interest in language teaching on the one hand, "there is [on the other hand] the possible rejection of the correct learning of the new language out of the awareness of maintaining one's own identity or even of considering one's own language and culture as more valuable."
Derek Bickerton has worked out pidgin and creole languages along the natural line. Creole languages are learned by children as their mother tongue, according to Bickerton. They use a kind of organic program . According to Bickerton, a person has an innate language program that independently develops the imperfect language. Children who learn a language can recognize regularities with the help of an internal universal grammar that is innate in everyone and can also form new words in the process. "All structure-changing interventions in the language system are placed in a [certain ...] phase of growth". The mother tongue was acquired in its natural structures and is then only reproduced in the same form. In adulthood one can simply no longer learn languages as flawlessly as in childhood. The results are more or less "deficient, as can be seen from the limited grammar structures of the pidgin".
The monogenetic theory is based on the origin of all pidgin and creole languages from a common origin. The theory says that similarities between Spanish-based Creole languages in the Philippines and Indo-Portuguese can be traced back to their origins in a Portuguese pidgin - a commercial language similar to "Sabir", the lingua franca in the Mediterranean region. As is well known, however, Creole languages draw their vocabulary not only from Portuguese, but from various (mainly European) languages. This fact was explained that the Portuguese proto-pidgin over colonial history, in many colonies repeatedly changed their nationality, relexifiziert was. This can be seen well in the example of Papiamentu , which is often cited as evidence of the possibility of relexification. Papiamentu has a mixed, Spanish-Portuguese-based vocabulary, assuming that it was originally Portuguese and has been relexified to Spanish over time.
She assumes that pidgin and creole languages arose independently of one another. So there is no common origin. Schuchardt took the view that Creole languages emerged out of necessity through the deliberate creation of the European colonial rulers. The defeated population has tried more badly than rightly to adopt the European language, be it on a voluntary or a forced basis. For Schuchardt, on the other hand, all the languages spoken in the relevant area are involved in the development of Creole languages in different ways. The term "independent parallel development" (Robert A. Hall) represents that the same processes produce the same results at different starting points.
The language purists of the 17th century already regarded the Romance languages as mixed languages . Philipp von Zesen saw French in terms of vocabulary as a mixture of the "main languages" German and Latin. Johann Michael Moscherosch generally classified: "Wälsche [Romance] languages are bastart languages." Later linguistics stuck to this conception into the 19th century. "It was only the gradual implementation of the historical-comparative method that led to the process of language change being understood as a systematic, internal process of language." But the theory of language mixing remained. One of the representatives was Hugo Schuchardt . According to his thesis, there is no dominant language from which a subordinate language (Creole) mainly emerged. Creole languages are not essentially based on Indo-European languages , but their grammar is determined by the different indigenous languages. "For Schuchardt, the effect of the language mixture [...] is not that grammatical elements of form are transferred one to one into the other language, but that when there are major differences [...] new formation [s]".
The acceptance of Creole as a language
With all the difficulties of demarcation and definition, one important aspect should not be lost sight of. The fact that Creole languages can actually be called languages does not find absolute agreement among philologists either . In an interview with Annegret Bollée conducted by Ursula Reutner , she deals with the controversial issue. She postulates her opinion based on her work in the Seychelles as an example .
- “In the Seychelles there was a constant discussion, which is also known from other areas: Creole is not a language […] because it has no grammar. [...] The main argument was that Creole has no grammar. Well, then I wrote one and also published it, that was […] 1977, and that made quite an impression. I was interviewed on the radio and could now say: 'Le créole est une langue, parce que voilà la grammaire'. [Creole is a language, because here is the grammar for it.] The moment it appeared in print in front of everyone, you could accept it. And I think that if I have personally achieved anything at all, it is actually that, i.e. to create awareness for it, this is a language, it has a grammar and you can study it, you can describe it, you can also write a dictionary - that came in 1982. That was - I think - quite important for language policy, because in 1982 Creole was indeed introduced in schools as a medium of literacy. "
Decreolization and hypercreolization
If Creole languages, through constant contact or expansion of schooling, come closer to the language from which they have drawn their vocabulary, a closer language relationship can arise. This is e.g. B. the case when the use of the Creole language promises little social prestige and at the same time the language of origin is learned by more and more people as a prestigious educational language. This process is called decreolization . Examples are Krio in Sierra Leone and English or Louisian Creole and French. As a consequence of decreolization, there are often aggressive and nationalistic reactions against the standard or educational language, as the Creole speakers insist on the recognition of the ethnic identity of their community and view the standard language as a symbol of colonialism. Such reactions can lead to a significantly changed language behavior in the form of recreolization or hypercreolization . The African American English in the United States went through all phases of the creolization during slavery on adapting Dekreolisierung after the American Civil War to the confident Hyperkreolisierung in recent decades.
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