Pidgins, Creoles and (Un)Markedness

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 17 03:30:59 UTC 1999

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On Wed, 15 Mar 2000, Michel DeGraff wrote:

It seems to me that the idea that
> creole languages *uniformly* reflect unmarked settings is one of these
> received notions with little empirical and theoretical support ---
> alongside the notion that (so called) radical creoles (like HC) necessarily
> emerge through an abrupt `pidginization' phase that eliminates virtually
> all morphology.

[Dave responding:]  Amen.  As insupportable a notion as that pidgins and
creoles, and "primitive" languages, "have no grammar" -- Which would be a
highly marked feature indeed, for a language!  Paraphrasing in the words
of a United States Forest Service employee I once saw quoted in the
newspaper, "A dry stream is a critical condition if you're a fish."

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