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Depidginization, Decreolization, absorption, the post-Creole continuum.

When a pidgin becomes the native speech of a community, it is depidginized into a Creole. If/when a Creole merges gradually with the standard language it is lexically based on, it becomes decreolized or enters into a Post-Creole Continuum, and the boundary between the two becomes gradual, or a continuum. Is Black English a decreolized form of a former Creole (parallel to, related to Jamaican Creole, Gullah, etc.?) Do we now have a post-Creole continuum in Jamaica, Guyana, etc.?

Most Creoles seem to be European-based (not all pidgins are), i.e. vocabulary derived from one or more European languages: English, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Spanish. Creole English and Creole French most common in New World; Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese Creoles common elsewhere and are important in development of all Creoles (Spanish Creole in Philippines, Portuguese in South, Southeast and E. Asia).

But there are also non-Eur. pidgins (Creoles?): Swahili (Arabic + Bantu); Bazaar Hindi, Naga Pidgin, Bazaar Malay, Vedda Creole (Sri Lanka), Chinook Jargon (PNW), Hausa (?), Marathi (?), Yiddish (?), Middle English (?) ...

Harold Schiffman
Tue Mar 25 08:54:40 EST 1997