Friday, March 9, 2018 - 3:55pm
This research examines the process of creolization through the lens of morphological change. Despite morphology being largely unexplored in creolistics, its supposed absence has often been claimed to be characteristic of creoles and argued to be the result of simplification, a crucial stage in many theories of creole genesis. I here explore the origin and evolution of verb form alternation in Mauritian, a French-based creole spoken in the Indian Ocean and offer a comprehensive take on the emergence and persistence of the phenomena. Mauritian has indeed evolved a distinction between two verb forms, for e.g. [mɑ̃ze] vs [mɑ̃z] ‘to eat’, which decidedly resembles one seen in French. While the Mauritian alternation is not directly inherited from the lexifier, its morphomic property persists throughout its development in Mauritian. The persistence of this form distinction and the subsequent exaptation of its function is made possible due to convergence of a plethora of factors including type of input (both superstratic and substratic), learning and processing principles, communicative pressures, among others. Such development, I argue, is illustrative of `language as a complex adaptive discriminative system’.
A reception will follow the talk.