Pidgins and Creoles

This course presents an overview of pidgins and creoles (PCs) and of the field of creole studies. PCs have challenged linguistic theory from the nineteenth century to the present day. This course on PCs examines central issues and controversies and considers what the study of PCs can tell us about human language and society. While widely spoken around the world, PCs are especially significant in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and West Africa. Special attention in the course will go to the place of West Africa in creole studies, not only because the region is home to several PCs but also because West African languages are posited as having been crucial to the formation of Caribbean creoles. The central puzzle in creole studies is how PCs came into being. Thus, the central topic in the course will be on creole genesis. At the same time, the course will consider the nature and significance of recent developments in West African PCs.