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Bethanie Morrissey asked (18/01/01):

At what point would you say the data becomes less indicative of creolization than of

To which Michel DeGraff replied (18/01/01):

The main point of my LSA presentation is to argue that there is no such thing as
"creolization" qua sui-generis linguistic phenomenon.

To which Bethanie Morrissey replied (18/01/01):

Let's slow down. Do you agree that there is a such thing as "convergence"?

If I may, convergence is a special case of drift. Drift is the way parameter
settings in language clusters (clusters of languages) seem to evolve (comparatively)
over large periods of time. For example Indo-European and Niger-Congo languages are
drifting from SOV to SVO. So you could say that European and African languages
belonging to these families are converging (on a path of "convergence").

Nothing to do with "creolization".


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Hildo do Couto wrote (03/02/01):

Just a brief information: In Chaudenson (1974) LE LEXIQUE DU PARLER CREOLE
DE LA REUNION, p. 1044-1045, we can see that in Reunionese both forms (re-
and a:r-) occur. In a foofnote the author says that the proceess is very
common in Canadian French.

The standard view on that question as far as the Laurentian varieties of Koine French
are concerned (also called "Québécois" or "Canadien French" in the literarure) is
summed up in Marc Picard's 1991 "La 'loi des trois consonnes' et la chute du cheva en
québécois," Revue québécoise de linguistique 20:2.35-49:There is no (and never has
been) any metahesis of re- to er- and the underlying form of superficial re-/er- is
/r-/, with the schwa being inserted at a later stage of the derivation. That this is

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so can be deducted from comparing

(1)aje l'ergarde ton truck <je regarde ton camion>/<je le regarde>
(1)b*je ll'ergarde ton truck


(2)je ll'organise ton party <j'organise ton party>/<je l'organise>

gemination of the object clitique /l/ obtaining only with underlying vowels, not
derived ones.*

The schwa is consistently inserted before the /r-/ unless the
Three-Consonant-Constraint allows for insertion after: reùkmandé <recommander>; or
with /h/:reùhosé <rehausser>. In varieties where postvocalic /r/ deletes in
unstressed positions (such as in Magoua), you get eùkulé for <reculer>.

That the rule most certainly was productive in the 17th century varieties that were
exported to the colonies can be deducted from comparative evidence though Haitian
Creole is not the only variety were the processus became unproductive. The koine
variety spoken in the western part of Saint-Barthelemy has mostly, just like HC,
vowel insertion after the /r-/ with some notable exceptions such as: agardé
<regarder>, a(r)fèr <refaire>.

*On the gemination issue, see also Marc Picard (1990), "On morphologically
conditioned sound change:The deletion and gemination of L in Canadian French."
Probus 2.102-12.


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Bethanie Morrissey wrote (20/02/01)

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Commenting on:

"Gradual" doesn't mean "slow"

New World Dictionary, p. 606, gradual (graj' oo w(schwa)l) adj.[ML. gradualis < L.
gradus: see GRADE] taking place by almost imperceptible steps or degrees; developing
little by little, not sharply or suddenly.

As you can see form your next quote, change is said to be triggered abruptly but MAY
diffuse gradually across the lexicon. What does that mean? It means that the
DIFUSSION of the change will be (I) gradual or (II) non-gradual.

(I)If diffusion is gradual, there is nothing in your definition of "gradual"
that says it must take a long time just because things are being done gradually.
Some infections spread gradually but rather swiftly through the entire human

(II)If diffusion is non-gradual, there is nothing in your definition either that
says it must be overnight. Progression might be by leaps, with long time intervals
between. That's what's called "jumping" in the linguistics literature.

If the change itself can be defined in linguistic terms, diffusion is a matter of
socio-historics, and that's why there can't be any linguistically definable "creole
type". But you might not believe in "creole type", in which case I'm merely saying
this for the audience.

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Commenting on:

As Wang summed it up so nicely in 1969,change is triggered abruptly but may
diffuse gradually across the lexicon. As it is, the span of time required is
largely determined by non-linguistic factors, not by a priori parameters capable
of distinguising between normal and abnormal transmission.

I suspect that your belief that I have championed "a priori parameters" mistakes my

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