Ethnien in der Mosquitia: Miskitos
Creol als Verkehrssprache
[16. century: from French créole, Spanish criollo, Portuguese crioulo, from criar "to nurse or breed", from Latin creare/creatum to beget].
A term relating to people and languages especially in the erstwhile colonial tropics and subtropics, in the Americas, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. In Portuguese, crioulo appears to have referred first to an animal or person born at home, then to a black African slave in Brazil who was born in his or her master's house. In the 17 - 18c, particularly in the West Indies, the term could mean both a descendant of European settlers (a white creole) or a descendant of African slaves (a creole Negro or Negro creole). Later, the term came to apply also to life and culture in creole societies: for example, the (French) Creole cuisine of Louisiana. The intricacy of the term is captured by the comment of J. M. Ludlow: 'There are creole whites, creole negroes, creole horses, &c.; and creole whites are, of all persons, the most anxious to be deemed of pure white blood' (A Sketch of the History of the United States, 1862). Since the later 19. century, the term has extended to include a language spoken by creoles and has acquired a new sense in linguistics, associated with the development of pidgin languages.
In sociolinguistic terms, these languages have arisen through contact between speakers of different languages. This contact first produces a makeshift language called a pidgin; when this is nativized and becomes the language of a community, it is a creole. Such languages are often known locally as pidgin or creole, but may have such specific names as Aku in Gambia and Papiamentu in the Netherlands Antilles. They are usually given labels by sociolinguists that refer to location and principal lexifier language (the language from which they draw most of their vocabulary): for example, Jamaican Creole, in full Jamaican Creole English or Jamaican English Creole, the English-based creole spoken in Jamaica. Haitian Creole French is spoken in Haiti and is French-based. Creoles based on English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese occur in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. There are three Portuguese creoles in islands off the West African coast: Cape Verde, Annobon, and São Tomé. Papiamentu is the only such creole in the Caribbean, spoken by inhabitants of the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), with an admixture of Dutch. The Dutch-based creole Negerhollands (Black Dutch) is spoken by a small number of people in the Virgin Islands. Creoles not based on European languages can be found in parts of Africa (such as Swahili when used as a trade vernacular) and in Papua New Guinea (such as Hiri Motu).
There are many English-based creoles. In West Africa, they include Aku in Gambia, Krio in Sierra Leone, Kru English in Liberia, and Kamtok in Cameroon. In the Caribbean and the neighbouring mainland they include Bajan in Barbados, Creolese in Guyana, Miskito Coast Creole in Nicaragua, Sranan in Surinam, Trinbagonian in Trinidad and Tobago, and the creoles of the Bay Islands of Honduras. In North America, they include Afro-Seminole, Amerindian Pidgin English, and Gullah. In Oceania, they include Bislama in Vanuatu, Broken in the Torres Straits, Hawaii English Creole, Kriol in Northern Australia, Pijin in the Solomon Islands, and Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea. It has been argued that Black English (Vernacular) in the US has creole origins since it shares many features with English-based creoles in the Caribbean. In the UK, British Black English, spoken by immigrants from the Caribbean and their children, has features inherited from Caribbean English Creole.
Typical grammatical features in European-based creoles include the use of preverbal negation and subject-verb-object word order: for example (from Sranan in Surinam) A no koti a brede (He didn't cut the bread). Many use the same item for both existential statements and possession: for example, get in Guyanese Creole Dem get wan uman we get gyal pikni (There is a woman who has a daughter). They lack a formal passive: for example, in Jamaican Creole no distinction is made in the verb forms in sentences such as Dem plaan di tri (They planted the tree) and Di tri plaan (The tree was planted). Creoles tend to have no copula and adjectives may function as verbs: for example, Jamaican Creole Di pikni sik (The child is sick). Most creoles do not show any syntactic difference between questions and statements: for example, Guyanese Creole I bai di eg dem can mean 'He bought the eggs' or 'Did he buy the eggs?' (although there is a distinction in intonation). Question words in creoles tend to have two elements, the first generally from the lexifier language: for example, Haitian Creole ki kote (from qui and côté, 'which' and 'side') meaning 'where', and Kamtok wetin (from what and thing) meaning 'what'. It has been claimed that many syntactic and semantic similarities among creoles are due to an innate 'bioprogram' for language, and that creoles provide the key to understanding the original evolution of human language.
The process of becoming a creole may occur at any stage as a makeshift language develops from trade jargon to expanded pidgin, and can happen under drastic conditions, such as where a population of slaves speaking many languages has to develop a common language among slaves and with overseers. In due course, children grow up speaking the pidgin as their main language, and when this happens it must change to meet their needs. Depending on the stage at which creolization occurs, different types of structural expansion are necessary before the language can become adequate. In the case of Jamaican Creole, it is thought that a rudimentary pidgin creolized within a generation, then began to de-creolize towards general English. Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea), however, first stabilized and expanded as a pidgin before it became creolized; in such cases, the transition between the two stages is gradual rather than abrupt.
The term is also applied to cases where heavy borrowing disrupts the continuity of a language, turning it into a creole-like variety, but without a prior pidgin stage. Some researchers have argued that Middle English is a creole that arose from contact with Norse during the Scandinavian settlements (8. - 11. century) and then with French after the Norman Conquest (11. century). In addition to massive lexical borrowing, many changes led to such simplification of grammar as loss of the Old English inflectional endings. It is not, however, clear that these changes were due solely to language contact, since other languages have undergone similar restructurings in the absence of contact, as for example when Latin became Italian.
De-creolization is a further development in which a creole gradually converges with its superstrate or lexifier language: for example, in Hawaii and Jamaica, both creoles moving towards standard English. Following the creolization of a pidgin, a post-creole continuum may develop when, after a period of relatively independent linguistic development, a post-pidgin or post-creole variety comes under a period of renewed influence from the lexifier language. De-creolization may obscure the origins of a variety, as in the case of American Black English.
Pidgin and creole languages were long neglected by the academic world, because they were not regarded as 'real' or 'fully-fledged' languages, but their study is currently regarded as significant for general linguistics as well as the study of such languages as English. The study of pidgins and creoles has been rapidly expanding as linguists interested in language acquisition, language change, and universal grammar have taken more notice of them. Because these varieties arise and often expand rapidly, they provide an excellent testing ground for theories of historical change. Speakers must bring some general and possibly innate principles and strategies to bear on the task of learning to communicate under such circumstances. These languages have also attracted the attention of sociolinguists, owing to the amount of variation among them, and the study of such variation has had repercussions on the study of the totality of languages like English, in which variety is as much the norm as uniformity.
Since pidgins and creoles are generally spoken in Third World countries, their role and function are intimately connected with a variety of political questions concerned with national, social, and economic development and transition into post-colonial societies. Some countries give official recognition to pidgin and creole languages, among them Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Haiti. In Haiti, the 1983 constitution declared both Haitian Creole and French to be national languages, but recognized French as the official language; in 1987, Creole was declared official too. The former Papua New Guinean Prime Minister, Michael Somare, has on occasion spoken abroad in Tok Pisin, even though he endorses the use of English for official purposes. Pidgin and creole languages also function as symbols of solidarity in many parts of the world where their use is increasing. In Haiti, it is often the case that to speak creole is to talk straight, while to speak French is synonymous with duplicity.
Ulrich Epperlein, Ichenheim 2000-2010 | www.miskito-nicaragua.de | Webdesign: , 06.06.2010