Reconstructing Language Development: Two Principles of Change
|•||Why would Dutch give place to a new language in Africa--Afrikaans?|
|•||Why would Old French (or even Anglo-Saxon) yield place to a new language in medieval Britain--Middle English?|
|•||Why would current English give place to Bislama and many other daughter languages in many parts of the world today?|
|•||Why would any language come into being to replace those already on the ground?|
|•||How does a newly born language develop into maturity?|
The answers to these questions, using current knowledge on the subject, should be utilized in reconstructing past developments. (Note that Bislama, Tok Pisin, Krio, Sranan--all national languages in different countries--are related to current English in much the same way that Middle English was related to Old French (see Ch. 10).
Languages give way to others because of problems with them in a given social context. Often, a situation will be sufficiently multilingual to require a single lingua franca, while at the same time the speakers involved may have inadequate access to fully developed languages other than their own, all of which have too many complexities to be quickly learned by others. Anyhow, complexities facilitating stylistic differences are not needed for the few functions which a lingua franca is initially needed to serve. Indeed, it should be asked whether there is any other way for a new language to come into existence than as a pidgin becoming a creole (which, unlike a pidgin, has got native- speakers, and, unlike all but very advanced pidgins, has got a relatively fixed (but growing and constantly enlarging) grammar and lexicon). Once 'born',____________________