The Missing Spanish Creoles: Recovering the Birth of Plantation Contact Languages

By John H. McWhorter | Go to book overview

5
Off the Plantation for Good
The French-Based Creoles

5.1 INTRODUCTION

While never given its due, among AEC scholars Afrogenesis has always at least had its quiet adherents. Among scholars of the French-based creoles, However, Afrogenesis has been completely beyond the pale for decades. Goodman (1964: 128–9) made a strong statement in its favor, but has since recanted. Otherwise, until recently the only other adherent has been Hull (1979), whose main concern is dialectal sources. At this writing, Parkvall (1995a) espouses Afrogenetic origin, but only in tandem with a concurrent genesis taking place on St. Kitts (1995b) as well.

Instead, plantation-based polygenesis of some extent is an unquestioned assumption in the work of all leading scholars of French creoles. Their philosophical underpinnings could not be more divergent—the strident superstratism of Robert Chaudenson, the painstaking Fongbe-Haitian comparisons by Claire Lefebvre's relexificationist school, the sober “creativist” perspective of Philip Baker. Yet all converge upon the limited access model.

This chapter will argue that all of the French-based plantation creoles of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (hereafter simply FPCs) trace as ineluctably back to a single West African ancestor as do the AECs. As with the AECs, our first clue is the striking similarities within the Caribbean FPCs, which are so close that many authors have treated all of them as varieties of a single “le créole” (Valdman 1978; Bernabé 1987), and Even as polygenetically oriented a scholar as Baker (1987) considers, for example, Haitian an extension of Lesser Antillean.

What is most indicative of a single parent pidgin, However, is that Even the FPCs of opposite hemispheres correspond too closely to be independent emergences. Holm (1989: 354) summarizes this well:

-146-

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The Missing Spanish Creoles: Recovering the Birth of Plantation Contact Languages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Where Are the Spanish Creoles? 6
  • 3 - Sisters Under the Skin 41
  • 4 - Afrogenesis and the Atlantic English-Based Creoles 99
  • 5 - The French-Based Creoles 146
  • 6 - Synthesis 195
  • 7 - Conclusion 224
  • References 243
  • Index 265
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