Morphology of Creole Languages

Course time: 
Tuesday/Friday 1:30-3:20 PM
JSB 337

Creole morphology has consistently been claimed to be nonexistent or, at best, insignificant. Yet closer inspection reveals not only their complexity, but also challenges theories, which assume simplification as a crucial mechanism during creolization. Our discussion will cover the traditional heuristics to these assertions and the problems they raise. Building on recent developments in morphology, coupled with experimental and quantitative data, we examine various morphological phenomena (inflection, derivation, reduplication, conversion, among others) that are attested in creole languages and address questions including:

  •         How much loss is there from the lexifier’s morphology given the type of input?
  •         Is morphology simpler in the creoles than in their lexifier?
  •         What are the diagnostics for morphological complexity?
  •         What can the development of morphology in creoles tell us about human languages? Are they different from other linguistic developments?

This course will feature guest speakers like  Silvia Kouwenberg (University of West Indies at Mona) and Gregory Stump (University of Kentucky). Students should have a basic knowledge of morphology.