The Missing Spanish Creoles
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The Missing Spanish Creoles : Recovering the Birth of Plantation Contact Languages

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John McWhorter challenges an enduring paradigm among linguists in this provocative exploration of the origins of plantation creoles. Using a wealth of data--linguistic, sociolinguistic, historical--he proposes that the "limited access model" of creole genesis is seriously flawed. That model maintains that plantation creole languages emerged because African slaves greatly outnumbered whites on colonial plantations. Having little access to the slaveholders' European languages, the slaves were forced to build a new language from what fragments they did acquire. Not so, says McWhorter, who posits that plantation creole originated in West African trade settlements, in interactions between white traders and slaves, some of whom were eventually transported overseas. The evidence that most New World creoles were imports traceable to West Africa strongly suggests that the well-established limited access model for plantation creole needs revision. In forcing a reexamination of this basic tenet, McWhorter's book will undoubtedly cause controversy. At the same time, it makes available a vast amount of data that will be a valuable resource for further explorations of genesis theory.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 292 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25mm | 590g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 38 tables
  • 0520219996
  • 9780520219991

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JOHN McWHORTER challenges an enduring paradigm among linguists in this provocative exploration of the origins of plantation creole. Using a wealth of data -- linguistic, sociolinguistic, historical -- he proposes that the "limited access model" of creole genesis is seriously flawed. That model maintains that plantation creole languages emerged because African slaves greatly outnumbered whites on colonial plantations. Having little access to the slaveholders' European languages, the slaves were forced to build a new language from what fragments they did acquire. Not so, says McWhorter, who posits that plantation creole originated in West African trade settlements, in interactions between white traders and slaves, some of whom were eventually transported overseas.

McWhorter draws on modern techniques of diachronic and sociolinguistic analysis to demonstrate an "Afrogenesis hypothesis". He shows how a single English-based pidgin originating in Africa developed into Atlantic English creoles, and how French-, Portuguese-, and Dutch- based creoles have African-pidgin origins. McWhorter's hypothesis explains why there are no Spanish-based creoles, even though slaves in many Spanish colonies had what was considered to be "limited access" to the lexifier: because Spain had no settlements on the West African coast there was no Spanish pidgin to bring to the New World.

The evidence that most New World creoles were imports traceable to West Africa strongly suggests that the well-established "limited access model" for plantation creole needs revision. In forcing a reexamination of this basic tenet, McWhorter's book will undoubtedly cause controversy. At the same time it makes available a vastamount of data that will be a valuable resource for further explorations of genesis theory.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgments 1. Introduction 2. Where Are the Spanish Creoles? 2.1. Introduction 2.2. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico 2.3. "There Are Spanish Creoles": Papiamentu and Palenquero 2.4. "There Were Spanish Creoles": Bozal Spanish and the "Extinct Pan-Hispanic Creole" 2.5. "There Will Turn Out to Be Spanish Creoles" 2.6. Accommodating the Theory to the Data: Societes d'Habitations versus Plantations 2.7. The Spanish as Kinder, Gentler Colonizers 2.8. "Nothing Is at Issue": The "Case-by-Case" Argument 2.9. Conclusion 3. The Atlantic English-Based Creoles: Sisters Under the Skin 3.1. Introduction 3.2. Methodology 3.3. The Features 3.4. A Closer Look 3.5. Implications 3.6. Sociohistorical Evidence 3.7. Summary 4. The Creationist at a Cocktail Party: Afrogenesis and the Atlantic English-Based Creoles 4.1. Introduction 4.2. Dating the Emergence of Sranan 4.3. A Theoretical Anomaly 4.4. Barbados? 4.5. West African Trade Settlements 4.6. The Cormantin Castle 4.7. Linguistic Evidence for the Cormantin Scenario 4.8. Preserving the Paradigm 4.9. Hancock's Domestic Hypothesis 4.10. Conclusion 5. Off the Plantation for Good: The French-Based Creoles 5.1. Introduction 5.2. Linguistic Data 5.3. Sociohistorical Evidence 5.5. Exploring Other Perspectives 5.6. The Portuguese Creoles 5.7. The Dutch Question 5.8. Conclusion 6. Synthesis 6.1. Geocentrism and Creole Studies 6.2. The Afrogenesis Hypothesis: Fundamental Outline 6.3. The Afrogenesis Hypothesis: Elaboration 6.4. The Afrogenesis Hypothesis: Problems Become Predictions 6.5. The Afrogenesis Hypothesis: Changing the Lens 6.6. The Case-by-Case Argument 6.7. The Reality of the Paradigm 7. Conclusion 7.1. The Middle Ground 7.2. The Domain of the Afrogenesis Hypothesis 7.3. Standards of Evaluation 7.4. Curtain References Index
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About John H. McWhorter

John H. McWhorter is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Towards a New Model of Creole Genesis (1997), The Word on the Street: Fact and Fable about American English (1998), and Spreading the Word: Language and Dialect in America (1999).
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