IE creole?

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Fri Jan 29 12:45:28 UTC 1999

Rick Mc Callister <rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu> wrote:

>	Pidgins [e.g. Mobilian,] existed among stone-age farmers in the New
>World. Plains Sign Language existed among hunters and gatherers. So I don't
>se how creoles would have been impossible.

It's not clear whether Mobilian Jargon, Plains Sign Language and
other New World pidgins/contact languages predate European

>	Given the greater number and presumed greater diversity of
>languages, there would have been many more opportunities for creoles to
>	Many hunter-gatherer bands would have been so small that exogamy
>was most likely necessary for many of them to survive. Small bands were
>always forming confederations, splitting apart and forming new
>confederations, assimilating smaller or defeated neighbors, etc.
>	If half or so of the population spoke a foreign language, then some
>degree of creolization or language mixing would have been inevitable.

I'm not convinced that creoles as such ever arose before the era
of European colonial expansion.  The conditions that you outline
above (great linguistic diversity, exogamy, etc.) did lead to
widespread bi- or multilingualism, "Sprachbuende", trade/contact
languages spoken or understood over wide areas vs. "in-group"
languages spoken only within a single small tribe, and of course
language death and replacement.  But I don't believe that
episodes of true creolization or true language mixing were very
common at all before the exceptional circumstances of European

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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