Pidgin and Creole ecology and evolution
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This chapter outlines a research framework in which pidgin and Creole languages (PCL) are conceptualized as adaptive systems with inherent idiolectal variation, a prerequisite to evolutionary change. Although such variation is present in all languages, PCL evolve in highly heterogeneous and multilingual ecologies characterized by certain sociohistorical contexts. This basic fact about PC ecology has significant methodological and theoretical implications. First, despite the connection between transfer in second language (L2) acquisition and substrate influence in PC genesis, PCL cannot be simply viewed as L2 varieties of their lexifiers because of the complex transmission scenarios in a typical PC ecology. Second, we need to abandon the assumption that Creoles necessarily descend from a pidgin antecedent, and, consequently, are “simpler” than their lexifier language. Instead, not unlike other cases of language change, the structural outcome of a contact situation must be largely determined by the nature of the input systems involved.
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