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date: 23 May 2019

A History of Creole Studies

Summary and Keywords

As an institutionalized subfield of academic research, Creole studies (or Creolistics) emerged in the second half of the 20th century on the basis of pioneering works in the last decades of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Yet its research traditions—just like the Creole languages themselves—are much older and are deeply intertwined with the history of European colonialism, slavery, and Christian missionary activities all around the globe. Throughout the history of research, creolists focused on the emergence of Creole languages and their grammatical structures—often in comparison to European colonial languages. In connection with the observations in grammar and history, creolists discussed theoretical matters such as the role of language acquisition in creolization, the status of Creoles among the other languages in the world, and the social conditions in which they are or were spoken. These discussions molded the way in which the acquired knowledge was transmitted to the following generations of creolists.

Keywords: Creole languages, history of linguistics, contact linguistics, missionary linguistics, colonial linguistics, colonialism

1. Introduction

1.1 Overview

Despite having lost several of its leading figures in recent years—John Holm (1943–2015), Mervyn Alleyne (1933–2016), Philip Baker (1940–2017), Derek Bickerton (1926–2018), Yves Dejean (1927–2018)—the field of Creole studies is an expanding sub-branch within linguistics in the second decade of the 21st century. The time when Reinecke, Tsuzaki, DeCamp, Hancock, and Wood (1975) served as an exhaustive bibliography of all the scientific research concerning different Creole languages is long past. If one takes record of the entries for the Portuguese-based Creoles until the year of 1992 presented in Reinecke et al. (1975), Tomás (1992), and Madeira (2008), one obtains the chart shown in Figure 1.

A History of Creole StudiesClick to view larger

Figure 1. Number of publications per year on the Portuguese-based Creole languages from 1552 until 1992, as recorded in Reinecke et al. (1975), Tomás (1992), and Madeira (2008).

Even though many questions may arise about the quality of the entries in these bibliographies, the quantity of studies dedicated to the grammatical descriptions of the Portuguese Creoles, which started with Coelho (1881), show a steady output over the years, with the maximum being a total of 26 publications in 1987, followed by 25 in the following year. This shows that the study of Creole languages has more than a century of existence within the much broader field of linguistics as an academic practice and yet its establishment (and development) still deserves a consistent and systemic analysis. We will, therefore, give a panoramic view of the most influential works and figures throughout the history of the discipline, and the institutional structures that backed up the formation of Creole studies. In addition, we will give a very brief outline of the theoretical developments in the field. The period we are describing will fade out toward the end of the 20th century with occasional hints to more recent developments in order to highlight the historical implications of ongoing research. Due to spatial limitations, the focus will be on the study of Creole languages rather than that of Pidgins.

1.2 Creole Studies in the Context of Colonial Linguistics and Contact Linguistics

As Creole languages are phenomena of specific kinds of language contact, a history of Creolistics is part of a history of the research on linguistic contact. Moreover, the study of Creole languages emerged not only as a subfield of linguistic research, but also as a linguistic sub-discipline entangled with the intricacies of language contact.

However, Creole studies emerged in a colonial world along the lines of colonial domination. In this sense, a historiography of these studies takes part in a historical account of colonial linguistics (cf. for different approaches, Calvet, 1974; Errington, 2001, 2008; Stolz, Vossmann, & Dewein, 2011; and Stolz, Warnke, & Schmidt-Brücken, 2016). Therefore, DeGraff (2009) calls for a postcolonial orientation also regarding the history of the discipline: “One fundamental characteristic of the study of Creole languages (aka Creolistics) is that its own genesis, along with the genesis of its objects of study, is deeply steeped in the history of White hegemony in the New World (e.g. colonization and enslavement) and its ensuing dualisms vis-à-vis the (non)humanity of those who were deemed ‘slaves by nature’” (DeGraff, 2009, p. 136).

Reasons for regarding Creole languages as an independent field of study lie on the similarities of the sociohistorical conditions present at their creation or development, as well as on the structural similarities that are intensively discussed within the discipline (cf. Ludwig, 2003, p. 298; Roberge, 2006, pp. 2398–2399). The questions of how and why these linguistic similarities developed over geographic distances and across linguistic affiliation lead from the isolated study of a single language to comparative studies and consequently to the creation and establishment of an institutionalized sub-branch of linguistics. For an overview on a vast selection of Pidgin and Creole languages, as well as intertwined languages, Michaelis, Maurer, Haspelmath, and Huber (2013a) created the online APiCS (Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Structures), based on the structural features of the large number of languages included (cf. also the survey, Michaelis, Maurer, Haspelmath, & Huber, 2013b). See also Muysken’s (2016) and Parkvall’s (2017) contribution to this Oxford Research Encyclopedia for further information on Pidgin and Creole languages. For a historiographical overview on contact linguistics, Oksaar (1996) provides further information.

2. Individuals and Groups of Individuals

Especially in a period before an institutionalized linguistic sub-discipline existed, the retrospective analysis of Creole studies needs to focus on individuals (or small groups of researchers, even networks) rather than on greater research collectives. Taken as a history of the knowledge about Creole languages, a historical epistemology should also deal with approaches to the languages before the emergence of the academic system. Hence, the contribution of missionaries to the study of Creole language phenomena has to be included here.

2.1 Early Attempts to Describe Creole Languages in the 17th and 18th Century

In the pre-institutionalized epoch of the 18th century, studies on Creoles were mostly carried out in the framework of missionary societies or by European travelers in colonial contexts. Roberge (2006, p. 2399) differentiates between “dilettante writings” and “missionary interest.” Some examples of authors of these “dilettante writings” are given here and then examples of some authors with “missionary interest” are presented.

According to Schuchardt (1890, p. 10), the probably ‘earliest printed attempt of a record in a creole idiom’ (“der erste gedruckte Versuch einer Aufzeichnung in einem kreolischen Idiom”) is contained in George Meister’s travelogue (Meister, 1692). Meister (1653–1713) was a botanist and gardener from Saxony in Germany, working in Batavia from 1677, later traveling to Malacca and Japan and returning to Europe in 1687; he gives a short dialogue between a Dutch and a Swede in Batavia in what appears to be a Malay-Portuguese Pidgin and German translation (cf. Schuchardt, 1890, pp. 11–17; Ratzel, 1885). The author of the later printed Nieuwe Woordenschat, uyt het Nederduitsch in het gemeene Maleidsch en Portugeesch, zeer gemakkelyk voor die eerst op Batavia komen (1780) is still unknown, but it seems to have had a practical purpose for people traveling to Batavia (cf. Schuchardt, 1890, pp. 1–23 for other attestations of Creole Portuguese in Dutch East India). It has to be noted, though, that missionary grammars also served such preparatory purposes for travelers to the colonies, laymen and clergymen alike, while at the same time providing the base for further translations of liturgical texts into Creole.

An early printed account on the English-based Creole Sranan can be found in Herlein’s (1718) description of the Dutch colony of Suriname, which includes two dialogues and some phrases. In his critical edition of the specimen, Arends (1995, pp. 12–17) gives some information about the unknown authorship and the editorial history of the text, which was already edited and supplied with a commentary by Schuchardt (1914, pp. xvi–xx). Of the author of the “correction of Herlein’s Sranan specimen, Jan (or Jean) Nepveu (1719–1779)” (Arends, 1995, p. 17), some biographical information is available. Nepveu worked as a colonial officer in Suriname from 1734 on and eventually became governor of the colony in 1770. Though not a native speaker of Sranan, he seemed to have acquired Sranan “at a relatively early age” (Arends, 1995, p. 18; cf. also Davis, 2009).

Some early mentions of French-based contact varieties were made by French catholic clerics (cf. Bollée, 2007e, pp. 152–154; Holm, 2000, p. 17). In 1640, the French priest Jacques Bouton observed “un langage particulier” (quoted by Bollée, 2007e, p. 152) spoken in the French Antilles. Another priest, André Chévillard, described in 1649 a “langage volontairement corrumpu” used in Martinique (quoted by Bollée, 2007e, p. 153). According to Holm (2000, p. 17), the “earliest known attestation of any creole language is from Martinique, dated 1671”, referring to McWhorter (1998, p. 800). The next attestation of a French-based Creole at Martinique can be found in the works of the French Domenican priest Jean Baptiste Labat (1663–1738), who was not only a clergyman, but also a slave-owner in Martinique. Holm (2000, p. 18) refers to one of his travel writings, as quoted by Goodman (1964, p.106), in which the phrase toi papa li ‘you are his/her father’ (cf. Labat, 1722, p. 34) is considered “as synchronic evidence for the existence of a creole in the West Indies” (Hazaël-Massieux, 2009, p. 115). For longer samples in Creole of that time, compare Hazaël-Massieux (2008).

Missionary scholars were usually not part of the academic system, but they established an epistemological system on their own. Especially well-known are the works of Protestant missionary societies such as the Moravian Brotherhood (see also section 3.1). Stein (1984) calls the Moravian missionaries in the Virgin Islands “the first creolists.” They started learning, teaching, and writing Virgin Island Dutch Creole in the 18th century and began translating religious texts into Creole. These missionaries were not born on the Virgin Islands, but moved there from their German homes (cf. Stein, 1984).

There is no sharp boundary between “dilletante writings” and “missionary interest.” Often, priests and clerics are early witnesses to contact languages. Sometimes they were integrated in the colonial society as in the case of Jean Baptiste Labat. On the other hand, some colonial officers were “hired” by the church to write grammars or translations of religious texts, as in the case of Joachim [Jochum] Melchior Magens (1715–1783), who was a “Danish West Indian” (Holm, 1989, p. 326). Born in St. Thomas, Magens was not a clergyman, but a Danish colonial officer (Hovdhaugen, Karlsson, Henriksen, & Sigurd, 2000, p. 103). He wrote the first grammar of any Creole language (Magens, 1770; cf. van Rossem & van der Voort, 1996, p. 44) which, together with Oldendorp (1777, 2000, 2002), contributed to the early descriptions of the Dutch Creole spoken on the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, thus placing it “among the better described of creole languages” (Reinecke et al., 1975, p. 318). Christian Georg Andreas Oldendorp (1721–1787) was a German-born Moravian missionary. After his studies at Jena and entry into the Moravian Brotherhood (“Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine”), Oldendorp was assigned to writing the history of the Moravian mission in the Caribbean, visiting the islands between 1767 and 1769 (cf. Meader, 2009, p. 30), which resulted in Oldendorp (1777). While Oldendorp grew up in Europe and was later sent to the Caribbean, some Moravian Brethren were born in the “zones of colonial contact” (Errington, 2008, p. 2, referring to Pratt, 1992, pp. 6–7, who speaks of “contact zone”), but spent some years in the homeland of the mission, like Christian Ludwig Schumann (1749–1794). One of the earliest sources of Saramaccan—in fact, the “dictionary of the Saramaccan language known to be the first” (Perl, 1995, p. 246)—was compiled by Schumann in 1778. Schumann was born in a Moravian mission in Berbice and came back to Suriname in 1776 to work in a mission in Bambey after spending his younger childhood and young adult years in Germany (Davis, 2009, p. 274). Schumann had “a scholarly background” (Perl, 1995, p. 246). Schuchardt (1914) contains an annotated edition of Schumann’s dictionary.

Zwartjes (2011, pp. 10–14) gives a short sketch of the attitudes of missionary linguists as field-workers. His study focuses on the Portuguese missionary grammars—and therefore produced by Catholic missionaries—before 1800. His statement, that “Portuguese and Spanish missionaries never compiled grammars or dictionaries of the varieties such as pidgin and creoles” (Zwartjes, 2011, p. 13), does not apply for the Portuguese clerics after 1800 who engaged themselves with Portuguese-based Creoles such as Marcelino Marques de Barros and Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (cf. Sousa, 2016, pp. 265–285, 286–310). For a broader perspective of missionary linguistics compare Zwartjes (2018a, 2018b).

2.2 Missionaries, Amateur Linguists, and Philologists in the 19th Century

Works on Creole languages continued to be produced by missionaries or in any case by clerics in the 19th century. The former French Jesuit (the order was suppressed between 1773 and 1814 by the papal authority) S. J. Ducœurjoly published his Manuel (Ducœurjoly, 1802), containing a glossary of French-based Creoles in the Caribbean (cf. Dahlmann, 1891, p. 98; Bollée, 2007e, p. 156; Zwartjes, 2011, p. 13 also mentions Dahlmann’s reference to Ducœurjoly). Despite the Jesuit background of the author, the Manuel is a text of practical purpose, directed to travelers or settlers (cf. Krämer, 2014, p. 8). An example of a French catholic missionary is Jean-Claude Goux, (1789–1861), who authored a short description of Lesser Antillean Creole attached to a Catéchisme en langue créole (Goux, 1842; cf. Germain, 1980, p. 10; Holm, 2000, p. 23; Bollée, 2007e, pp. 156–157). This writing marks the first systematic grammatical description of a French-based Creole language (Bollée, 2007e, p. 156).

The Protestant tradition of studying Creole languages also went on, as is shown by the activities of the Moravian Brethren. The missionary Heinrich Rudolf Wullschlägel (1805–1864) published a practical dictionary of Sranan (Wullschlägel, 1856), whereas a grammar of Sranan was published anonymously in 1854 (by the same author according to Schuchardt, 1914, p. xiv). Their main purpose, as the author states in the preface of the dictionary, was the practical use within the mission in Suriname (Wullschlägel, 1856, p. iii). According to a note of Lotze (1857, p. 324), Wullschlägel was born in Sarepta, Russia, and did missionary work in Suriname himself before returning to Herrnhut in 1855 and becoming a member of the “Unitäts-Direction” of the Moravian Brotherhood (cf. Urban, 1902–1903, pp. 145–146 for further biographical data). Wullschlägel (1856, p. iv) gives also some information on Hendrik Charles Focke (1802–1856), who authored another dictionary of Sranan that was published in Leiden (Focke, 1855), which was unavailable to Wullschlägel while writing his dictionary. Focke himself was president of the court for minor affairs in Paramaribo, where he was born, and he founded the rather short-lived monthly review West-Indië (Muller, 1911, p. 867).

Missionaries were also valuable sources and transmitters of linguistic knowledge; even later, when academic scholars started being interested in Pidgins and Creoles. See, for example, Mühlhäusler (2001) for an overview on the role of missionaries for Schuchardt’s writings on Pidgin and Creole languages.

Besides the ongoing activities of missionaries and clerics, one finds in the course of the 19th century more “dilettante writings” (Roberge, 2006, p. 2399) and the works of those who Bollée (2007g, p. 37) considers as “amateur linguists” such as Jules Faine (1880–1958) or John Jacob Thomas (1841–1889). Some of them were natives of the countries where the Creole languages being described were spoken, such as Thomas Russell or Charles Baissac (1831–1892). Their works reflect insofar forms of local knowledge about the languages.

Almost nothing is known about Thomas Russell, the author of Etymology of Jamaican Grammar (Russell, 1868), the “first description of any West Indian Variety of Creole English” (Holm, 2000, p. 24). Lalla and D’Costa (1990, p. 185) assume that he is “Jamaican and obviously well educated.” His study had no scientific purpose, but was written for “social amusement” (as quoted in Lalla & D’Costa, 1990, p. 185). A bit more biographical information is available about Charles Baissac, who published an Etude sur le patois créole mauricien (Baissac, 1880). Baissac was born in Mauritius to a Francophone family; he studied in France and returned to Mauritius, where he taught French at the Collège Royal (cf. Krämer, 2014, p. 39, and Steiner, 2010, pp. 7–8, who has published also the letters of Baissac to Schuchardt; Steiner, 2009). Baissac’s example shows that the difference between the ‘dilletantes’ and ‘amateur linguists’ of authors is not always easy to establish. As a language teacher, he certainly had a level of metalinguistic knowledge superior to most of his contemporaries. The same is true for J. J. Thomas, another teacher, or the librarians mentioned here.

J. J. Thomas, who worked as a schoolmaster and later on as a secretary of the Education Board and for the council of Queen’s Collegiate school, had a deep impact not only in the Trinidadian society, but also in the establishment of Creole studies as a philological branch. His publication concerning the Creole grammar (Thomas, 1869) conceded him notoriety among creolists and among linguists. While Coelho (1881) mentions his work, the periodical Trübner’s American and Oriental Record disclosed one article of his authorship (Thomas, 1870), which constitutes a summary of Thomas (1869). Later on, Thomas engaged in a lengthy rebuttal of Froude (1888) in an effort to defend his native language and people (cf. Thomas, 1889).

Colonial officers were also occasionally interested in Creole languages spoken in the colonies. For example, Paul Grade, “Jurist, Sekretär und interimist. Kaiserl. Kommissar” (Weber, 2011, p. 128) from 1885 to 1887 in the German colony Togo, published a scientific study on West-African Pidgin English (Grade, 1889), which was also used by Schuchardt for his posthumously edited “Kreolische Studie X” (Schuchardt, 1987, cf. also Schwägerl-Melchior, 2015 for a letter from Grade to Schuchardt).

During the establishment of the language sciences within the philological framework in the second half of the 19th century, the first studies written by academics on Creole languages appeared (cf. Krämer & Sousa, 2017). The first philologist to undertake the study of Creoles as a scientific venture was Emilio Teza (1831–1912), who was university professor in Bologna after working as a librarian at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and at the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence (cf. Dionisotti, 1998, p. 341; Mocerino & Lenz, 2014). Another librarian who also made a remarkable contribution to the theoretical development of the field was Addison Van Name (1835–1922); he worked at Yale for 40 years (cf. Schiff, 2016, p. 940) and was the first scholar to publish a comparative study on Creole languages (Van Name, 1869–1870). He was also the first to notice common features in Creoles with diverse European base languages found in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean (cf. Holm, 1988; Bhatt & Veenstra, 2013).

Teza’s publications (Teza, 1864, 1872) caught most prominently the attention of Hugo Schuchardt (1842–1927), as by 1870 Papiamentu was being mentioned in Schuchardt’s first class, a lecture held at Leipzig (the Neogrammarian bastion) dealing with the classification of the Romance dialects (cf. Schuchardt, 1900). Despite the contributions of scholars before his time, Schuchardt is considered to be the “Father of Creolistics” (cf. Reinecke, 1982, p. 188; cf. similar Markey, 1982, p. 204; and earlier DeCamp, 1971, p. 31), basically due to his systematic and extensive analysis. Later criticism of his work lies almost exclusively on Schuchardt’s alleged dilettantism and atheoretic stance (cf. Bickerton, 1979, p. x), a critique that provoked a strong rebuttal (cf. Baggioni, 2000) and turns out to not include the full scale of Schuchardt’s works, especially given his dedication to the study of language contact involving languages with no connection whatsoever to Pidgins and Creoles (cf. Schuchardt, 1884a). Schuchardt made a stand within the academic world about the possibility, mechanisms, and outcomes of language contact and much of his lifelong work may well be understood as a fulfillment of that stance, therefore cementing the strong connection between Creolistics and contact linguistics (cf. section 4.2 for on overview on his publications; cf. Hurch, 2007b, 2009c for more information on Schuchardt).

Another leading figure for the study of Creole languages in the 19th century is Francisco Adolfo Coelho (1847–1919; also written as Adolpho prior to the Portuguese orthographic reform of 1911). As an autodidact, after dropping out of university for ideological reasons, Coelho started paying attention to the Portuguese-based Creoles and sowing in the meantime the seed of one of the most recognized theories of Creole genesis, Universalism (cf. Sousa, 2016, pp. 186–224). Together with José Leite de Vasconcelos (1858–1941), especially at the time when they held academic positions at the university, Coelho ended up stimulating the scholarly endeavors of several other Portuguese scholars. Vasconcelos is commonly known as the father of Portuguese Dialectology (cf. Guimarães & Machado, 2009), even though in his description of the several Portuguese dialects numerous Creoles and contact varieties spoken along the border between Portugal and Spain are also taken into account (cf. Vasconcelos, 1901, 1970). In fact, at that time, Creole languages were portrayed as dialects of Portuguese, a linguistic designation possessing somewhat of a sociopolitical intent (cf. Sousa, 2016, pp. 375–382). This designation was taken over by many other Portuguese creolists and contact linguists/philologists: Marcelino Marques de Barros (1844–1929) was for several years General Vicar in Guinea-Bissau before becoming a teacher at the Real Colégio das Missões Ultramarinas (cf. Vicente, 1992, p. 398; Sousa, 2016, p. 267), a religious and educational institution for missionaries going to Africa and Asia (cf. Afonso, 2011). Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (1855–1922), who became university professor for Sanskrit in Lisbon, worked as a missionary in Sri Lanka and India (cf. Sousa, 2016, pp. 288–289). Aniceto Gonçalves Viana (1840–1914; spelled Vianna before the orthographic reform of 1911) was already an acclaimed Phonetician when he took his cue from Schuchardt and dedicated himself to the study of language contact between Portuguese and Malay (cf. Schuchardt, 1897). Acquainted with Coelho (1881), António Lobo de Almada Negreiros (1868–1939) remained disconnected from the work of other creolists (cf. Krämer & Sousa, 2017), but he set out to establish a linguistic study of Santome based on the notion of sociology advanced by Letourneau (1880).

Coelho was a key reference not only in the Portuguese-speaking world, but also in Francophone Creolistics (Krämer & Sousa, 2017): Lucien Adam (1833–1918), who worked for some time as a lawyer in French Guyana, made an addendum to his work (Adam, 1883), stating that only after its complete printing had Adam taken notice of Coelho (1881). Nonetheless, Adam is credited as the first scholar to promote the influence of the substrate languages in the origin of Creole languages (cf. Goodman, 1964, p. 113; Holm, 2000, pp. 28–29). Contributions to the study of French-based Creoles often came from scholars with cultural ties to the French world, although possessing a different nationality. That was not only the case of Baissac, but also of Alcée Fortier (1856–1914) and Alfred Mercier (1816–1894). Born into a family of French Creole descent, Alcée Fortier was professor of Romance languages in New Orleans and became later president of the Modern Language Association (cf. Dorson, 1972, p. 230; Krämer, 2014, p. 150; Krämer, 2017). Charles Alfred Mercier was another Louisianian born into a French Creole family and advocate for a Creole culture in the state, especially through the Athénée Louisianais (cf. Cashell, 2012, p. 2). Guadeloupe-born René de Poyen-Bellisle (1857–1900; Krämer, 2012, p. 146 states that the year of death is unknown, while Wolf, 1993, p. 60, affirms 1900) assumed a professorship at the University in Chicago after completing his doctorate in 1894 (cf. Krämer, 2014, p. 105). His dissertation (Poyen-Bellisle, 1894) may well be considered the first known PhD on the topic of Creolistics, thus marking another step on the way to the institutionalization of the field (Krämer, 2012, pp. 146–147). Aaron Marshall Elliott (1844–1910), professor at Johns Hopkins, did much research on Acadian French under the hypothesis that this variety resulted from linguistic contact (cf. Sousa, 2014). Henry Roseman Lang (1853–1934), professor at Yale, noticed the influence of the English language on the Portuguese spoken by the immigrant community in New Bedford, Massachusetts (cf. Lang, 18871889, 1892; Sousa, 2015).

Outside the academic environment, but still connected to scholarly investigation are a good number of philologists, who in one way or another contributed to the establishment of the study of language contact varieties as a scientific subject. Eugène Volcy Focard (1818–1901) can be considered as such, being a naturalist, poet, historian and linguist (cf. Krämer, 2012, pp. 135–136). Later in his life, he partook in a discussion with Auguste Vinson (1819–1903), who was a medical physician (cf. Krämer, 2015, p. 133, 2014, pp. 116–117), about the French-based Creole of Réunion. In addition, a significant contribution to the study of Creoles came from researchers of other languages. Judging from their publications, Julien Vinson (1843–1926), cousin of Auguste Vinson (cf. Pelz & Sousa, 2015; Vinson to Schuchardt, November 1882, No. 12443 in Wolf, 1993), centered most of his linguistic work on Basque (cf. e.g., Vinson, 1882, 1883, 1891), whereas Lucien Adam was particularly involved with the documentation of Amerindian languages (cf. e.g., Adam, 1876, 1878, 1891). For further details, see Krämer (2014, pp. 83–104).

2.3 Creole Studies in the 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century, a change in perspective on Creole languages could be observed. This change was marked by the growing interest in the relationships of languages and the development of linguistic structures. After the “philological” phase of Creolistics, linguists like Dirk Christiaan Hesseling, Rodolfo Lenz, Otto Jespersen, and Louis Hjelmslev were interested in more general questions on language when they started to deal with Creole languages.

Dirk Christiaan Hesseling (1859–1941) was born in Amsterdam and studied Latin and Greek in Leiden, taught Neo-Greek, and became professor for Byzantine and Modern Greek in 1907 in Leiden (Steiner, 2012, p. 101). His interest in the history of the Greek koiné led him to a comparison with the Cape Dutch in South Africa and later led to an interest in other colonial varieties of Dutch and Dutch-based Creole languages (cf. Holm, 2000, pp. 35–36; Steiner, 2012, pp. 102–104, cf. Steiner, 2012 for Hesseling’s letters to Schuchardt). In the words of John Holm, Hesseling was “bridging the work of Schuchardt and Reinecke” (Holm, 2000, p. 35; cf. Meijer & Muysken, 1977 for a comparison between Schuchardt’s and Hesseling’s works and theoretical approaches). Hesseling also published a comparative study on Virgin Islands Dutch Creole and Papiamentu (Hesseling, 1933). In his article “Gemengde taal, mengeltaal, Kreools en Kreolisering,” he takes up a notion from Lenz, when he writes about a general “grammatica minima” as a product of creolization (Hesseling, 1934, p. 320).

Rodolfo [Rudolf] Lenz (1863–1939), was born in Halle/Saale, Germany, studied in Berlin and Bonn, and went then to the Seminario Pedagógico in Santiago de Chile in 1890, where he taught French, English, and later also Spanish grammar, before he became rector of the Instituto Pedagógico in 1922 (cf. Dannemann, 2000–2001; Maas, 2019). After his arrival in Chile, Lenz began to research the language and culture of the Mapuche people. During a journey to Europe in 1921, Lenz came in contact with Papiamentu due to a stopover in Curaçao on his way from Santiago de Chile to Hamburg (cf. Sousa & Mücke, 2016; cf. the correspondence between Schuchardt and Lenz in Mücke & Sousa, 2015a). In one of his letters to Schuchardt, Lenz wrote: “Wie Sie sehen werden, bin ich ganz ihrer Ansicht über das Kreolische: es ist ‘gramática mínima’ aber nicht ‘africana’” (Sousa & Mücke, 2016; Lenz to Schuchardt, November 1926, No. 06403 in Wolf, 1993) (As you will see, I agree completely with your view on the creole: it is minimal grammar, but not African; our translation).

The Danish linguist Otto Jespersen (1860–1943), professor of English at the University of Copenhagen, was one of the first to include a chapter about Pidgin and Creole languages in a linguistic book of general character. In Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin (Jespersen, 1922), a chapter is dedicated to a comparative perspective of Bislama, Chinese Pidgin English, Mauritian Creole, Chinook Jargon, and Romance languages in general in view of Latin (Jespersen, 1922, pp. 216–236). Jespersen calls them “makeshift languages” or “minimal languages” (Jespersen, 1922, p. 232; cf. also Holm, 2000, p. 36). It may be not a coincidence that Jespersen, an early critic of the Neogrammarian doctrine regarding the exceptionlessness of sound laws, corresponded also with Schuchardt (cf. Hurch & Costantini, 2007).

Born in Copenhagen, the Danish linguist Louis Hjelmslev (1899–1965) studied comparative linguistics in Copenhagen, Prague, and Paris. After a teaching position at the university in Aarhus, Hjelmslev was appointed professor at Copenhagen (cf. Luraghi, 2005, p. 472). He is one of the founders of the Copenhagen School of Linguistics and a key figure in semiotics. Hjelmslev added to the minimalistic notion of grammar while discussing the grammatical features of Creole languages; however, he turned the tables on the matter: “On enseigne aujourd’hui que la grammaire créole est la grammaire réduite au minimum. [. . .] Les langues créoles n’atteignent pas ce minimum. L’expression des formes grammaticales est dans les langues créoles à l’optimum” (Hjelmslev, 1939, p. 373) (It is taught nowadays that the creole grammar is the grammar reduced to a minimum. The creole languages do not attain this minimum. In creole langauges, the expression of the grammatical forms is at its optimum; our translation).

The Hungarian linguist László Göbl-Gáldi (1910–1974) is also to be mentioned for the period between the two world wars. Göbl-Gáldi published several studies on French-based Creoles (cf. Holm, 2000, p. 37). He states that the “grammatica minima” is not only of European origin, but also bears resemblance to the substrate languages (Göbl[-Gáldi], 1933, p. 345).

During the 1930s the “center of gravitiy of creole studies” (Holm, 2000, p. 26; cf. Hellinger, 1985, p. 45) shifted from Europe to North America. Robert A. Hall Jr. (1911–1997) is an example of this kind of shift. He studied mainly in the United States, but also in Rome in 1934 (cf. Nuessel, 1998). He was influenced by Italian structuralism and later published a grammar of Melanesian Pidgin English (Hall, 1943), which also served the practical needs of the U.S. Army in the context of World War II (cf. Leed & Hocket, 1997). For an overview on Hall’s theoretical positions in Pidgin and Creole studies, see Hancock and Deumert (2004, pp. 810–811). In Hall (1962), he proposed his “life-cycle” concept assuming that Pidgins either tend to expand into Creole languages or to merge with the dominant (superstrate) languages, depending on the social context in which they are used (Bakker, 2008, pp. 131–132). His views on the application of the term “genetic relationship” in Pidgin and Creole studies can be found in Hall (1958), where he refers critically to Schuchardt when writing “even though all languages are ‘mixed,’ some are, so to speak, more ‘mixed’ than others” (Hall, 1958, p. 370).

Another North American influenced by the work of Schuchardt was John Ernest Reinecke (1904–1982; cf. Reinecke, 1937). A victim of the political context of his time (cf. his posthumously edited autobiography, Reinecke, 1993), Reinecke was still pivotal in a joint venture with Stanley Tsuzaki and others: the first comprehensive bibliography of Pidgin and Creole studies (cf. Reinecke et al., 1975).

The shift from Europe to North America also affected the whole branch of contact linguistics. An example is Uriel Weinreich (1926–1967), born in Vilnius, Lithuania, who moved with his father, Max Weinreich, to the United States in 1940 and earned his PhD at Columbia University. But, as he mentions in the acknowledgements in the beginning of his fundamental study Languages in Contact (1953), the fieldwork for his study was carried out in Switzerland, where he also met Jakob Jud (cf. Weinreich, 1979, p. xi) and came into contact with the Swiss research traditions (cf. Jud & Steiger, 1936, pp. i–ii, summarizing these traditions in the first volume of the Vox Romanica in 1936). Fought (1982, p. 434, footnote 4) states that “Uriel Weinreich was the link between the European dialectology of his teachers (including the Romance dialectologist Jakob Jud) and the American sociolinguistics of his students (including Labov).” William Labov is credited with being the predominant figure in the establishment of sociolinguistics within the field of the language sciences. In addition to that, his studies on African American English helped expand and shape perspectives toward many varieties of English as to what language contact concerns (cf. Labov, 1972).

Right from its beginning, the study of Creole languages served as scaffolding for a larger dispute among linguists, even coming to bear on arguments in theoretical linguistics on the origin of language and the nature of linguistic change, or serving as grounds for the dismissal of theories originating in other fields of linguistic research. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to see how Derek Bickerton’s assessment of the Theory of Universal Grammar was reinterpreted in a Creole setting, allowing for the birth of two theories within Creolistics (cf. Bickerton, 1981, 1984): the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis (LBH) and the Lexical Learning Hypothesis (LLH). The first of these generated much controversy during the 1980s, as a new revival of the debate between universalists and substratists. Bickerton put forward the assumption that, during the decisive phases of L1 acquisition, incomplete language input with a highly variable system like a pidgin triggers the activation of a ‘bioprogram’ that stabilizes a new grammatical system on the basis of universal grammar: a Creole. This process was assumed to be quick and radical, as opposed to other, more regular processes of language transmission and change.

Dutch linguist Jacques Arends (1952–2005) was an influential opponent of this view, stressing the importance of sociodemographic background information in research about the emergence of Creole languages. Arends held that creolization was a gradual rather than an abrupt development (Arends, 1993; Cardoso, 2009; cf. also the other contributions in Selbach, Cardoso, & van den Berg, 2009). Beginning with a survey of Pidgins and Creoles (cf. Holm, 1988; Holm, 1989), John Holm (1943–2015) started to highlight the level of hybrid constructions within the study of Pidgins and Creoles by presenting another possible stage: Semi-Creoles, or—as it would be defined later on—the Partial Restructuring of Vernaculars (cf. Holm, 2004; cf. also Baxter, 2016 for a biographical sketch).

3. Institutions: Academic Societies

The institutional aspect of the development of Creole studies deals with the organizational and sociological formation of the discipline (i.e., with the development of a scientific community). The establishment of a scientific community is achieved through the development of the scientific journals of the field, of the academic societies (founding members, location, etc.), and of the university chairs explicitly dedicated to the study of Creoles or to more general areas of research that traditionally include these languages, such as Romance or English linguistics. Even if not directly linked to the study of Creole languages, academic societies were and remain a vital instrument for creolists, either for publishing or for networking. See also section 4 for the impact of academic societies on the publication of studies about Creole languages.

3.1 Missionary Societies, Geographical Societies, and Scientific Academies

The societies connected to creolists in the 18th century are mainly ones of religious character. In a specific case, the documentation of the now extinct Creole language spoken in the former Danish Virgin Islands is due to the Moravian Brethren at Herrnhut, Germany (cf. Stein, 1986, 1992; van Rossem & van der Voort, 1996, p. vii). They are the ones responsible for appointing Oldendorp to write his opus in celebration of the missionary society (cf. Oldendorp, 1777, 2000, 2002). The Danish Lutheran Church engaged in missionary work on the Virgin Islands beginning in 1756. They commissioned Magens to publish his grammar and a translation of the New Testament (Magens, 1770, 1781; cf. Stein, 1984, p. 61). The catholic Domenican mission was very active in Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire, which led to a large number of religious texts, catechisms and Bible translations in Papiamentu (cf. Bollée, 2007e, p. 157).

During the 19th century, there was a small shift concerning the societies at play in the disclosure of linguistic materials. Even though missionaries were still involved in the documentation of Creole languages, their research outcomes were being presented in philological or scientific societies (cf. Sousa, 2016, p. 392). For example, Marques de Barros and Dalgado were linked to the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, founded in 1875. However, creolists with no religious background, such as Coelho and Leite de Vasconcelos, were also members of the Geographical Society of Lisbon. The attraction to academic societies starts in the second half of the 19th century as a result of sociopolitical events. By the end of the Brussels Geographical Conference in 1876, several associations were formed with the designation of geographic societies, although not entirely limited to geography. As an example, the members of the Geographic Society in Lisbon published articles dedicated to ethnology, linguistics, geography, geology, health, and the like; the only common ground for these articles is the interest in existing or possible new colonies in Africa or Asia (cf. Sousa, 2016, pp. 71–72).

A small number of creolists, for example, Teza, Schuchardt, Dalgado, and Hesseling were also members of national scientific academies, thus granting scientific weight to the study of Creole languages. In France and its colonies, for example, several creolists were members of local scholarly societies. This is the case for the Société des Arts et Sciences de la Réunion (Schuchardt was a corresponding member; Auguste Vinson was a regular member and published his account of Réunion Creole in their journal, cf. A. Vinson, 1883), the Société Académique de Brest (Turiault published his description of Martinique Creole in two volumes of their journal, cf. Turiault, 1874, 1877) or even the Société Nationale d’Agriculture, Science et Arts d’Angers (Verrier, 1906). With the loss of influence and importance of the national academies, which were devoted to all sciences by the middle of the 19th century, the rise of specific societies and the founding of specialized journals can be interpreted as intertwined (cf. Stichweh, 1984, pp. 394–441 for exemplary, albeit earlier developments in physics and chemistry in the German-speaking countries).

Another kind of society, sometimes concerned with the study of pidgin and Creole languages, was local folklore associations; for example, the Athénée Louisianais in New Orleans, founded in 1876 by Mercier, among others. Another member was Fortier, who was president of that Louisianian association (Krämer, 2017, pp. 101, 111).

3.2 Scientific Societies Dedicated to the Study of Pidgin and Creole Languages

Societies dedicated exclusively to the study of phenomena related to linguistic contact came into being in the majority of the cases after the 1970s (cf. Hancock & Deumert, 2004, pp. 811–813).

The Society for Caribbean Linguistics (SCL) was created in 1972 at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies and met for the first time in 1976 (cf. Society for Carribean Linguistics), although the Creole Linguistics Conference held in 1968 in the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies might be considered as the starting point of the society (cf. Hymes, 1971). The Comité International des Études Créoles (CIEC) is another society sporting a proud history; it was founded in 1976, in Nice at the time of its first gathering. The CIEC deals primarily with the French-based Creoles and holds conferences at regular intervals (cf. Reutner, 2005, p. 75).

The Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL) is the only association that was created in the 1980s and met officially for the first time in 1989 (cf. Gilbert, 2005). It holds two annual meetings (cf. Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics): one in the winter, usually together with the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), and another in the summer. The summer meeting can be organized together with the SCL and/or with the Associação de Crioulos de Base Lexical Portuguesa e Espanhola (ACBLPE).

ACBLPE was created in 2001 (cf. also Baxter, 2016, pp. 246–248). Up until 2017, there was only one conference where the SPCL, the SCL, and the ACBLPE all met at the same venue: the 20th biennial conference held in Oranjestad, Aruba. The ACBLPE, which focuses more on results of linguistic contact involving Iberian influence and meets once per year (cf. ACBLPE), also has a strong affinity with the Associação Brasileira de Estudos Crioulos e Similares (ABECS), the Brazilian/Latin-American counterpart. Like ACBLPE, ABECS was formed in 2001; however, this society gathers every second year (cf. ABECS). Despite incorporating the terms Pidgins and Creoles in their names, the societies mentioned here do not limit themselves to specific areas and welcome papers and research on linguistic contact. In fact, the last assembly of ABECS approved the change of their name to Associação Brasileira de Estudos do Contato Linguístico, although they maintained the old acronym.

In postcolonial contexts in the new states, local institutions were also established to conduct and proceed with language planning and Sprachausbau. For example, the Komite Kreol in the Seychelles was founded in 1979. The Lenstiti Kreol (Creole Insitute), which was created under the Ministry of Education in 1986 (described by Bollée, 2007f, pp. 13–16), was transformed into an international institution (Lenstiti Kreol International) in 2014. The Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherche en Espace Créolophone (GEREC), of which a detailed report is provided in Schnepel (2004, pp. 93–98), also played an important role. Other institutions with similar roles and impact include the Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma (Curaçao), the Fundacion Lanta Papiamento (Aruba), the Akademi Kreyòl Ayisien (Haiti), and the Akademi Kreol Morisien (Mauritius).

4. Media: Journals and Other Means of Publication

The abundance of contemporary societies is matched by the numerous journals available; at the same time, the divisions among the societies in topics covered, especially those related to geographical or linguistic areas, are visible (cf. Holm, 2004b, pp. 60–61).

4.1 Missionary Means of Publication

During the time in which the description of Creole languages was undertaken by missionaries, the outcome of such language documentation was disseminated almost exclusively as printed books, while a good number of manuscripts remained unpublished. In the case of the Danish-Halle Mission, information concerning the Creoles spoken in India was circulated in a journal, because the mission had its own printers. The reports of the missionaries ended up being published in Die Königlichen Dänischen Missionarien aus Ost-Indien eingesandter ausführlicher Berichte, alias Hallesche Berichte, published between 1705 and 1775, or in the Neuere Geschichte der Missions-Anstalten zur Bekehrung der Heiden in Ostindien, also known as Neue Hallesche Berichte, published between 1776 and 1848. From 1849 onward, the reports of the missionaries were made public through the Missionsnachrichten der Ostindischen Missionsanstalt zu Halle, even though not every piece of information would be published (cf. Jeyaraj, 2006, p. 222). Many hand-written documents or copied manuscripts still lie in the archives of the Moravian Brotherhood in Herrnhut, Germany (cf. Stein, 1986), and of the Franckesche Stiftungen in Halle. In the case of the latter, the collections can be consulted online (see August Hermann Francke Study Centre).

4.2 New Publication Means at the End of the 19th and Beginning of the 20th Century

During and after industrialization—with the innovations in the 19th century’s communication media being coupled together with the creation of modern printing and publishing companies (cf. Hurch, 2009b)—new scientific periodicals would be started in addition to the transactions of scientific academies.

Although the works of Dalgado and Teza were published in journals outside the academies, Schuchardt’s “Kreolische Studien” (Schuchardt, 1882a, 1882b, 1883a, 1884b, 1884c, 1884d, 1888e, 1888f, 1890) appeared in the Sitzungsberichte of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which was in fact a very young scientific academy (founded 1847) compared to the other academies of Europe. Schuchardt’s last large contribution to Creolistics was published in the Verhandelingen of the Dutch Academy of Sciences (cf. Schuchardt, 1914). Besides publishing his “Kreolische Studien” in the proceedings of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schuchardt used the new developing system of specialized scientific journals in the philologies of “newer languages,” above all the Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie (ZRPh), founded in 1877. Schuchardt stayed within the philological framework, as he published his “Beiträge zur Kenntnis des kreolischen Romanisch” in the ZRPh (Schuchardt, 1888b, 1888c, 1888d, 1889b, 1889c, 1889d) and the “Beiträge zur Kenntnis des englischen Kreolisch” in Englisch Studien, established in 1877 (Schuchardt, 1888a, 1889a, 1891a).

Addison Van Name published his “Contribution to Creole Grammar” (1869–1870) in the first number of the Transactions of the American Philological Association. In addtion, the American Journal of Philology (founded in 1880) served as publication medium for Harrison’s study (1882) on the “Creole Patois of Louisiana,” Elliott’s study (1884b) on the Nahuatl-Spanish contact variety, and reviews of works on Pidgin and Creole languages from Europe such as Elliott’s review (1884a, 1885) of Schuchardt (1884a, 1884d).

Also, the small folklore societies edited journals that could serve as a means of distribution and transfer of Creole studies. For example, the Athénée Louisianais published in its Comptes Rendus a French translation by Fortier (cf. Schuchardt, 1886) of Schuchardt’s review (1885a) (written in German) of Baissac (1884, 1885; in French). This shows not only the functioning of the global network in early Creole studies, in this case between Mauritius, Graz, and New Orleans, but also that Creole studies started to be printed in locations where Creole languages were actually spoken (cf. also Fortier, 1895, published in the Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society).

The foundation of the Revista Lusitana by Leite de Vasconcelos in 1887 helped set a different trend in motion for Portuguese contact linguistics: articles on Creoles or on language contact involving Portuguese were published together with ones on ethnography, ethnology, and general linguistics, thus granting an increased exposure to studies in Portugal and consequently in the colonies. The Revista Lusitana continued to be published until 1943.

Furthermore, the university means of publication served as tools of dissemination. For example, the Anales de la Universidad de Chile played a central role for the partial publication of Lenz’s work (1928) on Papiamentu in 1926 and 1927 (cf. Sousa & Mücke, 2016).

4.3 Specific Journals and Book Series of Pidgin and Creole Studies in the 20th Century

When it comes to journals exclusively dedicated to the study of Pidgins and Creoles, there are (or have been) several options since the 1970s:

  • The Carrier Pidgin, a newsletter founded in 1973 at Florida International University (no longer active);

  • Journal of Creole Studies, founded in 1976–1977 in Kapellen, Belgium, but ceased to be published after the first two numbers of the first volume;

  • Revue Études Creoles, founded in 1978 and based at the Laboratoire Parole & Langage at Aix-Marseille Université after being headquartered at the Institute of Creole Studies at the University of Provence;

  • Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages (JPCL), founded in 1986;

  • Pidgins and Creoles in Education (PACE), a yearly newsletter started in 1990 and maintained online by the Charlene Sato Center for Pidgin, Creole, and Dialect Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa;

  • Papia: Revista Brasileira de Estudos do Contato Linguístico, whose first issue dates from 1990 and is currently based at the University of São Paulo.

In the 21st century, more periodicals appeared. Even though they are beyond the scope of this article, it is in the interest of broader vistas that these journals are mentioned, such as Creolica (founded in 2003), the Journal of Contact Linguistics (founded in 2008), and Revista de Crioulos de Base Lexical Portuguesa e Espanhola (RCBLPE), whose first issue dates from 2009. Some of periodicals are linked directly to some of the scientific societies discussed in section 3, as many of its members started these journals. The JPCL and the Carrier Pidgin are connected with the SPCL, whereas Papia is connected with the ABECS, the RCBLPE is linked to ACBLPE, and Études Creoles is under the administration of CIEC. Simultaneous to the creation of the journal, the publishing house behind the JPCL also started a book series, Creole Language Library. There are two other book series dedicated solely to Creolistics, but from different publishing houses: Kreolische Bibliothek and Westminster Creolistics Series. However, these book series do not constitute the totality of scholarly production of Creolistics and contact linguistics in the last half century; neither does the publishing house Battlebridge, which is exclusively dedicated to Creolistics and was founded by Philip Baker.

5. Places: Chairs, Departments, and Centers

Space as a historiographical category in general—the places and locations of researchers, researching, and the researched, together with the relationships of transfer and interaction between them—has played an important role in the development of Creole studies. As Creole languages developed in the colonial context, they have been studied for a long time through the eyes of the European, that is, Western missionaries and scholars.

There are different forms of areal traditions in the history of Creole studies. Firstly, there are the spatial networks of missionary societies. Second, and often interconnected with missionary networks, are the zones of colonial interest for the European countries, which often also guided the interest of “their” philologists and linguists from the 19th century onward. Thirdly, the effects of the Cold War global bipolarity after 1945 had some influence on the discipline of Creolistics in this period.

5.1 Spatial Networks of Missionary Societies

Each missionary society had (and still has) specific areas where mission and therefore also “language work” was (and in some cases is) carried out. These areal connections led also to a continuity of writings on specific Pidgin or Creole languages. One example is the Moravian mission in Suriname, as mentioned (see sections 2.1 and 2.2), which started in the 18th century. Throughout the following centuries, texts, grammars, and dictionaries on Sranan and Saramaccan were produced in the context of the Moravian mission. When Schuchardt collected the information on Saramaccan via postal service, he also relied on the networks between Herrnhut and Paramaribo, still vital at the end of the 19th century. The Moravian Brethren were also active in the Danish Virgin Islands, and in more recent times, Stein (1984) published his findings about these “first creolists” in a volume of the Unitas Fratrum, the journal of the Moravian Brotherhood.

5.2 Colonial Contexts

The 19th century shows the intricate relations between mainstream historical-comparative linguistics, the developing “national philologies,” and the international networks of Romance philology on the one hand and the European imperialism, the scramble for Africa, and the colonial contexts of research on the other hand. Colonial expansion and imperialistic politics channeled linguistic interest. For example, many Portuguese scholars envisioned the creation of schools dedicated to the training of the settlers/colonizers and even promoted the education of those heading to Africa and Asia with the study of Creole languages (cf. Abreu, 1890, p. 534 in Morais-Barbosa, 1967a, p. xiv). The Instituto Industrial e Comercial de Lisboa and the Real Instituto de Lisboa introduced colonial studies in their curricula (cf. Marques, 2001, p. 40). This led to a certain restriction of the objects of study, so that Portuguese creolists limited themselves to the study of Portuguese Creoles or to the contact between Portuguese and Asian languages like Malay. The only exception would be—although in a very confined way (cf. Vasconcelos, 1881; Schuchardt, 1881)—Coelho, who gave an account of what was being published about the French-based Creole languages.

The majority of the works presented by Francophone creolists circumscribe themselves to the French Creoles (cf. also Krämer, 2012, pp. 129–130, who uses the term “Francophone creolistics”). As Krämer (2014, p. 5) puts it, the French Creoles of North America were described by French or Francophone and Francophile scholars from North America such as Poyen-Bellisle, Fortier, Mercier, and Van Name.

In a similar way, the Dutch Creoles were studied by Dutch scholars such as Hesseling. The University of Leiden played an important role as a center of Dutch language sciences. From the correspondence between Schuchardt and the Dutch philologist Matthias de Vries (1820–1892), one can conclude that Schuchardt gathered many contacts and information about Dutch Creoles from this well-connected scholar (cf. Ahlgrimm-Siess & Mücke, 2012).

Graz appears to be one of the few exceptions, being the only place from where reports and grammatical descriptions of various Creoles would originate by the end of the 19th century. The range of Schuchardt’s analysis expanded from Sranan and Saramaccan to the Portuguese-based Creoles and ended geographically with the Chinese Russian Pidgin or with Bislama. Yet, Schuchardt’s well-organized personal network did not lead to enduring creolistic research at Graz. Only Adolphe Dietrich, one of Schuchardt’s students, contributed with a study of the French-based Creoles (Dietrich, 1891). Schuchardt’s study on language contact and contact languages (Schuchardt, 1884a) was oriented along the boundaries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as multinational and multilingual “Versuchsstation” (Schuchardt, 1884a, p. 131) (experimental station). Later, some German studies focused on general aspects while mentioning Pidgin and Creole languages. Hancock and Deumert (2004, pp. 809–810; cf. also Hancock, 1979, p. 85) mention for example Wackernagel (1904), which brings together the notions of Sprachmischung and Sprachtausch. In Hassert’s second volume of his Verkehrsgeographie (Hassert, 1931, pp. 244–260), Pidgin and Creole languages are mentioned as “Verkehrssprachen” (vehicular languages). Schulze’s sociological oriented study (1933) on “Sklaven- und Dienersprachen” comprises a typology of what he calls “Ersatzsprachen” (substitute languages).

5.3 Chairs, Centers, and Conferences in the 20th Century

The number of university chairs explicitly dedicated to the study of Creole languages is still very small, and positions within the academic path worthy of mention are connected to other areas of linguistic research, such as Romance philology, sociolinguistics or general linguistics. An early center was the Creole Institute at Indiana University, founded in 1964 under the direction of Albert Valdman, specializing “in the area of applied linguistics with a focus on French-based creoles” (cf. Indiana University Creole Institute). Notwithstanding the limited number of positions devoted exclusively to Creolistics or contact linguistics, this does not imply that the subjects fall out of the scope of university programs. Classes on all types of language contact can be taken almost at every university (see also section 8).

Conferences have been of great importance for the development of the field since the second half of the 20th century. The first of the Mona conferences was held in 1959, at University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica (cf. the proceedings in Le Page, 1961), and brought together scholars working on Pidgin and Creole languages (mainly from Western universities) for the first time (cf. Le Page, 1961, pp. 123–125 for participants and program). The conference was followed by a second one held in 1968 at the same venue. The proceedings of that conference (Hymes, 1971) contain only contributions in English from scholars, mostly coming from Western universities of the Anglo-American world, but also from Leiden, The Netherlands, and universities in Suriname and the Congo (cf. Hymes, 1971, pp. v–viii). A third conference was held in Hawaii in 1975 (the proceedings were published by Day, 1980).

In addition, there were individual attempts to create or develop further institutional connections. This was the case of Amsterdam in the 1980s and the 1990s, with the symposium “Universals versus Substrata in Creole Genesis” (April 1985) and one of the introductory references to Pidgins and Creoles (cf. Arends, Musken, & Smith, 1994) gaining particular prominence.

6. Practices: Data Collection and Fieldwork in the History of Creole Studies

A survey of research practices would have to describe and explain how, where, and by whom knowledge on Pidgin and Creole languages was collected, transmitted, published, and perceived (clarifying in the meantime the connection between researchers and the investigated language communities), and to what end the research was undertaken (e.g., missionary contexts as gospel translation or proselytism, economic or colonial contexts, local anticolonial movements, etc.). Because this cannot be done here in great detail, the intention of section 6.1 can only be to give hints for future studies on the history of creolistic fieldwork. According to Chelliah and de Reuse (2010, p. 33), “very little has been written on the history of linguistic fieldwork.” They give an overview on the topic and the relevant research literature (Chelliah & de Reuse, 2010, pp. 33–78) with only a very small section about creolist fieldwork. Their statement that Schuchardt himself did no fieldwork on Pidgins or Creoles, relying “entirely on written documents provided to him by administrators, explorers and missionaries” (Chelliah & de Reuse, 2010, p. 59), however, is not true for all aspects of his data gathering.

6.1 Armchair Linguists and Missionary Fieldworkers

The interpretation of Prudent (1980), when it comes to the distinction of linguistes de cabinet (armchair creolists) and hommes du terrain (locals) in the 19th century (Prudent, 1999, pp. 36, 42), conveys the impression that the method applied in the gathering of linguistic materials is the differentiating key element. It is solely the absence of fieldwork and therefore the use of correspondence as an instrument for the collection of linguistic material that sets armchair creolists apart from their native counterparts. Hence, the two categories introduced by Prudent may be seen as two ends of a continuum of involvement with local speakers or linguistic sources. Schuchardt would not escape this methodological continuum and would be considered as an armchair creolist, having the luxury of receiving correspondence from all over the world at his residence in Graz. However, Reinecke would also fall into the same category, if it were not for the fact that he had lived in Hawaii (cf. Reinecke, 1993). Schuchardt himself was aware of that criticism, but overseas fieldwork seemed to him a “desperate means” (“verzweifelte[s] Mitte[l]”) for data collection, which could be done with the help of Creole-speaking migrants in Europe (Schuchardt, 1891b, pp. 199–200; cf. Meijer & Muysken, 1977, pp. 26–27 for an English translation, although with a misleading reference).

Although some of the materials presented by these 19th-century creolists were drawn from a religious environment, for example the use of the Parable of the Lost Son and the comparison of different Creole versions of the parable (cf. Barros, 1897–1899, pp. 281–289), a parallel with modern work is still possible, namely through the observation of grammatical features between Creole languages and different text versions (cf. Holm & Swolkien, 2009, p. 239). On the one hand, there is the need to distinguish between creolists and missionary linguists, while, on the other, what happened in the past still reverberates in the present. Even if creolists and missionaries expressed interest in the grammatical description of Pidgin and Creole languages, the aim of missionary language work, which concentrated on communicating with the congregation, seems to position itself outside of the academic objectives of linguistic research. However, these are the premises for a modern distinction, and this boundary may not be applied to 18th-century missionaries without reservations. Creolists were interested in the language in order to explain or question further topics of debate in linguistics. Missionary linguists, in their turn, sought to describe the language in order to provide a means of spreading the faith more accurately, but also in a more general interest to understand the wide diversity of humanity as God’s creation or to educate and ‘civilize’ peoples who were perceived as ‘primitive’ (for a more ample view of the role of missioniaries in the history of linguistics, cf. Zwartjes, 2011).

While Chelliah and de Reuse (2010) distinguish missionary fieldwork from the fieldwork done by “gentlemen scholars,” at least for the 19th century an additional differentiation can be made between different degrees of mediation of linguistic knowledge. In some cases, informants were directly interviewed or consulted by the authors of linguistic writings, as in case of Wullschlägel (1856), who mentions the names of local people in Suriname who helped him by going through his work “word by word” (Wort für Wort) (Wullschlägel, 1856, p. iv). Missionaries were often “mobile Europeans,” going to and living with and in the speech comunities, and in some case returning to their homelands after retirement. They brought firsthand linguistic knowledge with them to Europe. But often, as Schuchardt puts it for the Moravian Brethren in Suriname, the missionaries sat “at the loom of the language” (“am Webstuhl der Sprache”) (Schuchardt, 1914, p. xiv) and influenced the development of an orthography for the language (cf. van Rossem, 2017 on the authenticity of historical texts and descriptions in and about Virgin Islands Dutch Creole).

In other cases, the chain of mediators and mediation steps is longer, as is documented in some correspondences between Schuchardt and his consultants for example in India, where Schuchardt wrote to missionaries (or other consultants), who interviewed speakers for him and sent the results back to him (for an analysis of the complicated story of some linguistic data of Indo-Portuguese and their way to Schuchardt, cf. Cardoso, 2014; Cardoso & Mücke, 2015; Cardoso, 2015).

6.2 Interaction Between Linguists and Consultants

Native speakers of Creole languages or creolists who at least had frequent and intensive contact with Creole speakers had been describing Creole languages in the 19th century, for instance Charles Baissac, Auguste de Saint-Quentin, and René de Poyen-Bellisle. In the 1930s, researchers more distant from the languages they studied changed their practices of knowledge collection from being “armchair creolists, who had almost no direct contact with the object of their study, to [being] creolists who actively pursued fieldwork” (Holm, 2000, pp. 36–37). For example, Jan de Josselin de Jong (1886–1964) collected and published texts from Dutch-based Virgin Islands Creole (Josselin de Jong, 1926). For this early fieldwork period, Holm (2000, p. 36) also mentions the anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons (1875–1941), and the couple Melville Herskovits (1895–1963) and Frances Herskovits (1897–1972). Mühlhäusler (1997, pp. 35–36) gives some rather critical comments about anthropological linguistics in the United States, stating the “absence [. . .] of any attempt to analyse the linguistic and social dimensions of the many American Indian-European contact languages in North America” (Mühlhäusler, 1997, p. 35).

Sometimes, the encounters between linguist and consultant seem to be historically contingent. In a letter to Schuchardt, Lenz explains how he came across Papiamentu on his way from Chile to Germany. During the three-week journey from Curaçao to Europe, Lenz gathered 50 manuscript pages with language samples from Natividad Sillie, the cook on board the ship. He supplied Lenz with folk tales and folk songs. Moreover, Sillie also read out loud, allowing Lenz to take notes on phonetics and other topics (Sousa & Mücke, 2016).

The 20th century saw the establishment of Creolistics as a branch of linguistics, as the second half of the century mirrored the several interfaces with other scientific fields and subfields, such as sociolinguistics and generative grammar, in times of the Cold War, decolonization, and ongoing globalization processes. After the decolonization process, an establishment of local research traditions in the new postcolonial states can be observed; see the examples of language policy in the Seychelles (cf. Bollée, 2007f, pp. 13–16) previously mentioned (see section 3.2) and also Bollée’s personal narration of research experiences on the Seychelles (Bollée, 2007d). By the last decades of the 20th century, research on Creole languages was very much present at many universities and other institutions in Creole-speaking countries and regions, for instance, at the three campuses of the University of the West Indies, in Haiti, in the various French overseas territories, at Cape Verde, in numerous countries of West Africa, and in Macao, to name but a few. The importance of training native Creole speakers to analyze their own languages had in Robert Le Page (1920–2006) one of its proponents (cf. Rickford, 2011, pp. 251–252), who ended up being pivotal in establishing the connection between Creolistics and sociolinguistics by showing that language can be an act of identity and vice-versa (cf. Le Page & Tabouret-Keller, 1985, p. 181).

6.3 Linguistic Geography

In the past decades, research about Creole languages adopted another genre of data collection and presentation that had been present in other disciplines since the 19th century or earlier: the documentation of linguistic variation in space through the use of dialect atlases. The first one to appear was the Atlas linguistique et ethnographique de la Réunion, published in several volumes in the 1980s and 1990s (Carayol, Chaudenson, & Barat, 1984–1990). Subsequently, other French-based Creoles were documented in the Atlas linguistique d’Haïti (Fattier, 1998) and in the Atlas linguistique des Petites Antilles (Le Dû & Brun-Trigaud, 2011–2013). These works were not only important as sources of linguistic data, but also as a basis for reflection on intra-linguistic variation in Creole languages—a field that had not been studied in great detail until this point. Although not a linguistic atlas per se, Lang, Lopes, Moreira, and Baptista (2014) aims to explore the geographic variation of the Cape Verdean Portuguese Creole. Under a comparative and typological point of view, the Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online (Michaelis et al., 2013a) provides data on 130 grammatical features for 76 Creole, Pidgin, and mixed languages. Another comparative account on English-based Creoles can be found in the electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English (Kortmann & Lunkenheimer, 2011). The Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas addresses Creole languages in several chapters dedicated to the use of European languages and contact varieties outside Europe (Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, 1996).

7. Theoretical Concepts, Terms, and Terminology

In relation to theoretical developments in the field, the terminology linked to different theoretical approaches, and the underlying epistemological foundations, only a few examples can be presented here. They connect to differing views of what creolization is supposed to be, that is, which processes lead to the emergence of Creole languages and to what extent this process differs from language change in other settings. At all times, established terminology was easily imported or adapted into Pidgin and Creole studies and vice versa. However, some terms used in the past may not represent the ones applied in current times. Especially for a discipline with such close ties to colonial history, it is crucial to critically examine new developments in light of their conceptional precursors. Therefore, some of the most visible conceptual continuities across the history of Creolistics are highlighted while indicating the innovations and transformations in more recent approaches.

7.1 Creole

Concerning the expressions “Pidgin” and “Creole,” there are various hypotheses and possible explanations on their origin and etymology. Hancock (1979) gives an overview on the term “Pidgin,” whereas the etymology of the first usage of the terms “créole,” “criollo,” “crioulo,” and “Creole,” as well as the occasions in which they appear, had a moment of reanalysis: an overview taken into account for many decades (cf. Stein, 2017, pp. 6–12) was revised by Klimenkowa (2017). In the earlier history of Creolistics up until the 19th century, the term “Creole” was not questioned, because the descriptions usually dealt with individual languages for which this was an established label. Discussions about the fuzzy boundaries of the concept of “Creoleness,” inside and outside linguistics, are more recent. Chaudenson (1992) gives an account of how the French label “créole” is applied to languages, ethnic groups in (post-)colonial societies, and cultural phenomena like music, literature, or food.

7.2 “Semi-Creole” and “Halbkreolisch”

The use of “Semi-Creole,” or “Halbkreolisch” as employed by Schuchardt, consequently influenced creolists of his time (cf. Vasconcelos, 1901, pp. 180–181; Dalgado, 1906, p. 144); however, what is meant in Schuchardt (1888e, p. 210, 1889c, p. 481) corresponds to ‘acrolect’ in the Creole Continuum in more modern approaches (cf. Bickerton, 1973). On the other hand, a Semi-Creole refers to a language or variety that shares structural features with Creole and non-Creole languages, exhibiting particular similarities with effects of decreolization or settings in which creolization did not go as far as in other contexts, thus making it crucial to take into account differences in the circumstances of development (cf. Holm, 1988, p. 10; Winford, 1997, p. 20). The concept was initially used by Reinecke (1937, p. 22) and was reviewed by McWhorter (2014) in the context of his Creole exceptionalism hypothesis. According to Holm (2004), the Italian linguist Carlo Tagliavini interpreted Schuchardt’s notion of “Halbkreolisch” (Schuchardt, 1889c, p. 480), when he wrote about the problem of the “limite fra lingue creole e lingue creolizzanti ” (Tagliavini, 1931, p. 834; italics in the original) with regard to Schuchardt. “Unfortunately,” as Holm (2004, p. 6) puts it, “the present-participial ending might suggest that such languages are ‘creolizing’ in the sense of still undergoing restructuring; Reinecke (1937, p. 22) translated the term as ‘those tending toward the creole, the creolisant dialects.’” This is the impression given also by Schuchardt (1883b, p. 318), when he mentions that the Brazilian variety of Portuguese “remarque une certaine tendance créolisante qui s’accuse encore plus dans le hollandais du Cap, que ceux qui le parlent affectent de nommer la langue africaine (die afrikaanse taal)” (italics in the original) (exhibits a certain creolizing tendancy which is even more present in the Dutch of the Cape, that is called by those who speak it of the African language). See Holm (2004, pp. 4–10) for an overview of the development of the terms Semi-Creole and Post-Creole.

7.3 Substrate and Superstrate

The significant term “substrate” and its counterpart “superstrate” seem to be an import from Romance philology. The notion of the “substrate” as the socially nondominant language in a contact situation was brought into use by Graziadio Isaia Ascoli in Italian as sostrato (cf. De Felice, 1954, p. 12). Göbl[-Gáldi] (1933) uses the term “sostrato” in the title of his article on the French-based Creoles. Later, Hall (1955, p. 2) introduces the terms “sostratomani” and “sostrafobi” (the latter with a question mark), when he tries to stimulate the debate in Romance philology by bringing in some linguistic data from his research on Creole and Pidgin languages. More than in other sub-disciplines of linguistics, in Creolistics, the importance attributed to the influence of the substrate or the superstrate is a fundamental question for the position of a creolist in the field. Discussions about the level of influence of the European colonial languages or the languages of African slaves, for example, during the emergence of Creole languages can be traced back until the 19th century.

In early French Creolistics, Lucien Adam traced back the grammatical structures of the Creole languages spoken in Mauritius, Trinidad, and French Guiana to West African languages and Malagasy, respectively (Adam, 1883; cf. also Reinecke, 1975, p. 217; Baggioni, 1987; Krämer, 2014, p. 92). Volcy Focard, in contrast, insists on a direct continuity of Réunion Creole with French, thus taking a clear superstratist stance (Focard, 1885; Krämer, 2015).

7.4 Universalism and Exceptionalism

Early in the history of the field, creolists argued that the structures of Creole languages were not to be explained by the direct influence of the languages involved in their emergence, but rather with the universal workings of the human mind in language change or language ‘creation.’ This stance led to a discussion between Schuchardt and Coelho. Credited for being the alter ego of Schuchardt’s substratist hypothesis (D’Andrade & Kihm, 1997, p. 387), Coelho’s views on creolization cast shadows over modern approaches to universalism (cf. D’Andrade & Kihm, 1997, pp. 386–387): be it through the hands of adults (cf. Lefebvre, 1986) or be it via children (cf. Bickerton, 1981). Much like Schuchardt (cf. Baggioni, 1991, p. 89), Coelho’s strict hypotheses gave way to a more moderate position later in his life (cf. Sousa, 2016, p. 384). In the 20th century, substrate influence and universal developments were still seen as two opposite perspectives in theories of creolization, as can be seen, for example, from the title of the volume Substrata versus Universals in Creole Genesis (Muysken & Smith, 1986).

While these approaches to creolization rely primarily on a cognitive conception of universalism, the general notion of linguistic universality dates back much longer. The use and description of Creole languages by the missionaries was based on the idea that God’s word could be spread in any language and that speakers of all languages were able to adopt the Christian faith. Efforts to alphabetize slaves and to fix written norms of Creole languages arose from the conviction that also supposedly ‘uncivilized’ people could reach an advanced state of knowledge and education, provided that they get help from the European colonizers. With the same support, even languages that were considered ‘inferior’ such as Creoles should be able to develop into elaborate means of communication and art. While this conception of universalism rests on theological and ideological grounds, it shares a fundamental premise with the more modern universal conception of language and creolization: the innate ability of all humans to acquire and develop linguistic competence (Stein, 2010; Krämer, 2012).

Emanating from a similar universalist stance, more recent approaches hold that Creole grammars were shaped by universal processes in second language acquisitions by adults. Creolists like McWhorter (1998, 2001, 2005) and Bakker, Daval-Markussen, Parkvall, and Plag (2011) take issue with the basic assumptions of the bioprogram hypothesis (see section 2.3) that creolization essentially rests on universal processes in first language acquisition in children. In their view, the result of universal mechanisms in L2 acquisition under intense language contact is Creole grammar, a ‘simple’ system clearly distinguishable from other languages in the world. As a synchronic effect of this process, the structures of Creole languages set them apart, in the view of this branch of Creolistics, as a separate typological class of languages that can be described in relation to a so-called Creole prototype based on the simultaneous absence of a number of structural features in the grammar.

This view, often termed ‘Creole exceptionalism,’ sparked debates in the community that have lasted for the past several decades. Opponents criticize this position not only on empirical grounds, but also from an epistemological and historical perspective. They hold that the exceptionalist position perpetuates views from colonial times that separated Creoles from the languages of the colonizers by exoticizing them, describing them as ‘simplified’ systems that ‘lack’ features present in grammars described as richer and more complex (DeGraff, 2005; Ansaldo, Matthews, & Lim, 2007; Krämer, 2013c).

7.5 The ‘Race’ Factor

In the late 19th century, the idea of universalism began to fade in the description of Creole languages. Instead, a very strong discourse of racial hierarchies was connected to the question of how Creoles had come about. Especially in Francophone Creolistics, but also in other parts of the field, creolization was explained by the claim that black slaves had been unable to fully acquire the colonial languages due to cognitive, moral, or physical limitations in comparison to the “superior” white colonialists. Julien Vinson (1881, p. 416) therefore classified Creole languages as “adaptation du français, de l’anglais, de l’espagnol, au génie pour ainsi dire phonétique et grammatical d’une race linguistiquement inférieure” (cf. also Vinson, 1884) (adaptation of French, English, Spanish, as it were to the phonetic and grammatical genius of a linguistically inferior race). While “race” is not a valid category for the explanation of any part of creolization, some historians of creolistics argue that the discipline has not yet fully shaken off the heritage of its colonial past in the structure of some arguments (cf. DeGraff, 2005; Mufwene, 2015). It has to be noted, though, that the widespread racist discourse in Creolistics did not go unchallenged. Contemporary creolists like Schuchardt, Coelho, and Focard succeeded in developing conceptions of creolization that did not need any assumptions based on racial difference.

7.6 Sociodemography and Ecology

One of the key reasons why some 19th-century creolists were able to keep a distance from the predominant discourse was their sociohistorical take on the process of creolization. Focard (1885) was among the first to elaborate such an account for the history of Réunion Creole. The sociohistorical perspective has been elaborated in the past decades in what can be called the ecologist approach. The focus is on the surrounding social, demographic, economic, political, and communicative conditions of creolization (the “ecology”) and Creole languages are defined by regular mechanisms of language change, which occurred under a particular set of conditions prevalent in most colonial situations. This way, the ecologist approach is in direct opposition to the exceptionalist position that claims that Creole languages can be defined on the basis of a set of synchronic structural features. A more recent approach continuing such sociohistorical perspectives is Mufwene’s account (2005, 2008) of the ecology of language in Creole formation, building on the key concept by Haugen (1972). In a similar vein, Chaudenson’s analysis of different stages of creolization during the process of colonization connects to this sociohistorical view, distinguishing an early société d’habitation (‘homestead phase’) from a later société de plantation (‘plantation phase’) in which access to the colonial languages gradually diminished, thus triggering advanced creolization (Chaudenson, 1992, pp. 93–123; for sociohistorical accounts in the particular case of Mauritian Creole, cf. Baker & Fon Sing, 2007).

As can be seen, many terms and concepts have been present throughout the history of Creolistics at least since the 19th century or even earlier. However, since then, they have been reshaped, revisited, or reapplied to new contexts, and some parts (such as “race” as an explanatory factor) have been discarded as unscientific and biased.

8. Teaching Creoles and Creole Studies

As the promotion of Creoles as subjects and languages of instruction in Creole-speaking societies has also been part of the work of creolists, a short historical sketch is included here. A history of teaching Creole languages, however, would be only a part of a broader history of efforts of language planning, language policy, standardization, use in the media, orthography development, and language teaching, which is not the focus of a historiographical approach to Creole studies.

8.1 Creole Languages in Education

DeGraff (2009, pp. 136–141) highlights the importance of the educational system for the acceptance of Creole languages by speakers and speech communities. The school system is, according to DeGraff, the “most powerful tool of domination” (DeGraff, 2009, p. 139). The absence of Creoles in school can lead to an “exclusion of Creole speakers from a number of spheres where socioeconomic power is created, reproduced and exercised” (DeGraff, 2009, p. 139). Migge, Léglise, and Bartens (2010, pp. 3–6) give a short overview on historical and social issues concerning Creole languages in education. They state that only in recent decades did Creoles become represented and used in public media discourse and official language use. “However,” the authors conclude, “overall it is fair to say that in the domain of formal education, the struggle for the recognition of P/Cs [Pidgin and Creole languages] has been extremely heated and is far from being concluded” (Migge et al., 2010, p. 6). In the periods of colonial domination, education systems served mainly the purpose of educating the colonizer, not the colonized (Migge et al., 2010, pp. 9–12). Yet Christian missionaries often taught reading and writing to slaves and subaltern inhabitants. Citing Awoniyi (1976) and Spencer (1971), the authors report that in “some P/C [Pidgin and Creole language]-speaking communities, usually in those in which the P/C was not related to the European language (e.g. Suriname, Papiamentu/o), missionaries use the local P/C as a medium of instruction in lower levels of education, as in most African and Asian British colonies” (Migge et al., 2010, p. 10). After gaining independence, most of the Creole speaking countries “continued to follow colonial education practices” (Migge et al., 2010, p. 10) and used former European colonial languages as means of instructions for various reasons, leading to a lack of standardization, nonexistent educational materials, and the like. The main obstacles, though, are negative attitudes toward Creoles by speech communities and political elites (cf. Migge et al., 2010 for further information). Bollée (2007b) gives an example for the contribution of creolistics to language policy in the Seychelles. After independence in 1976, Seselwa became the official language in 1981 and was introduced into primary schools as the first language of instruction, while gradually expanding the teaching and use of English and French in higher grades (Bollée, 2007b, pp. 2–3; cf. also Bollée, 2007f). Bollée reports negative responses in the Seychelles population and describes aspects of the language planning of the Komite Kreol and the Lenstiti Kreol. Bollée (2007c) describes the sociolinguistic situation of the French Antilles in the 1980s and gives a short survey of the difficult process of introducing the French-based Creoles into the education system (Bollée, 2007c, pp. 28–33).

8.2 Teaching Creole Studies

Teaching Creoles and Creolistics on an academic level could be investigated in a quantitative sense by searching through lecture timetables. While this type of data is not available to the best of our knowledge, we will give some fragmentary data to stimulate further research. The “creolists avant la lettre” of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century did not seem to teach Creole studies (as far as the authors are aware) at universities: neither on single Pidgin and Creole languages, nor on comparative aspects. From the titles of the lessons, it does not appear that Schuchardt taught any classes specifically dedicated to Creole languages (cf. Lehner, 1980, pp. 79–80), but he seems to have encouraged at least his student Dietrich, who wrote his dissertation on the Creoles of the Mascarene Islands, which later appeared in the journal Romania (Dietrich, 1891; cf. Lehner, 1980, p. 92; cf. Krämer, 2013a).

Academic teaching related to Creoles and Creolistics did not seem to start before the 1960s. The Creole Institute in Indiana “began to offer formal instruction in Haitian Creole” in 1964 (cf. Indiana University Creole Institute). Another search through the few digitized course catalogs that are available for two German universities—the University of Münster and the University of Freiburg—for “Pidgin,” “Creol*,” or “Kreol*,” starting in 1950, brought five courses in the 1970s and the early 1980s (1970–1981) as first sporadic appearances, four of those being taught in the departments of Romance philology. While research into Creole languages is fairly well rooted in academic institutions now, undergraduate studies specializing in this area of linguistics still seem to be difficult to establish.

Further Reading

So far, the history of Creolistics has been presented in a fragmentary way (cf. Couto, 1996; Mühlhäusler, 1997, pp. 22–59; Holm, 2000, pp. 14–67; Ludwig, 2003; Roberge, 2006; Hancock & Deumert, 2004). Baker and Mühlhäusler (2007) survey the history of the study of Creole languages with special attention to the work of Schuchardt. Bollée (2007g, pp. 35–46) contains a structured historical overview on Pidgin and Creole studies with a focus on French-based Creole languages. Hellinger (1985) gives a historical account on the development of the study of Pidgin and Creole languages with a main interest in English-based Pidgins and Creoles, distinguishing the older research efforts, Schuchardt, and the reception of his works through Hesseling, Jespersen, and Bloomfield and the flourishing of Creolisitics after World War II. As a source, the whole series of the Carrier Pidgin gives a valuable insight in the development of the discipline of Pidgin and Creole studies and the scientific community from 1976 onward.

Thanks to the appearance of new works, many options concerning the publication of research data, as well as the re-editions (e.g., Morais-Barbosa, 1967b; Vasconcelos, 1970; Dalgado, 1998a; Dalgado, 1998b) and translations (e.g., edited by Markey: Schuchardt, 1979; edited by Markey & Roberge: Hesseling, 1979; edited by Gilbert: Schuchardt, 1980), the field of Creolistics is re-inventing itself. Actually, it was also due to these translations that Schuchardt’s work was re-visited (cf. Fought, 1982; Baptista, 2016).

Both the English translations of Schuchardt’s works were reviewed by Hall (1981), Fought (1982), and Reinecke (1982). Reinecke hoped “that someone will soon dig out and make accessible—yes, even untranslated!—Schuchardt’s unpublished correspondence and notes on pidgins and creoles” (Reinecke, 1982, p. 190). Fought (1982, pp. 432–433) proclaimed the “reinvention of Hugo Schuchardt” and called for a closer look at correspondence and papers, too. Eventually the catalog of Schuchardt’s written legacy produced by Wolf (1993) and the development of digital editions made the work advocated in Fought (1982, pp. 432–433) possible, thirty years later with the Graz-based project “Network of Knowledge” (2012–2016; cf. Hurch 2007a, 2009a, 2009b) and associated ongoing activities. Several individual works have shed light on the history of the field (cf. Meijer & Muysken, 1977; Kihm, 1984; Baggioni, 1988, 2000; D’Andrade & Kihm, 1997; Bachmann, 2005; Stein, 2005; Sousa, 2012; Krämer, 2013b, 2014). Gilbert (2005) presents some information on the foundation of the JPCL and SPCL.

Concerning introductions to the field, according to Roberge (2006, p. 2402), “1974 marked the appearance of Loreto Todd’s introduction for students and general readers.” Later introductory work on Pidgin and Creole studies appeared in the mid-1990s (cf. Arends, Muysken, & Smith, 1994), notwithstanding the fact that Mühlhäusler (1997) and Romaine (1988) can be considered as introductions to the field due to their more general character. And a wide array of topics is covered by renowned scholars in Neumann-Holzschuh and Schneider (2000). Only with the turn of the millennium, were introductions to Creolistics and to contact linguistics published (cf. Holm, 2000; Singh, 2000; Kaye & Tosco, 2001; Thomason, 2001; Winford, 2003; Velupillai, 2015; Stein, 2017; Krämer, Mutz, & Stein, to appear).


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