Human evolution theory utilizing concepts of neoteny & female sexual selection
An etiology of neuropsychological disorders such as autism and dyslexia, and the origin of left handedness.

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Creoles and Pidgins


"We have now surveyed a wide range of creole structures across a number of unrelated creole languages. We have seen that even taking into account the, in some cases, several centuries of time that have elapsed since creolization, and the heavy pressures undergone by those creoles (a large majority) that are still in contact with their superstrates, these languages show similarities which go far beyond the possibility of coincidental resemblance, and which are not explicable in terms of conventional transmission processes such as diffusion or substratum influence (the ad hoc nature of the latter should be adequately demonstrated by the opportunism of those who attribute a structure to Yoruba when it appears in the Caribbean and to Chinese when it appears in Hawaii). Moreover, we find that the more we strip creoles of their more recent developments, the more we factor out superficial and accidental features, the greater are the similarities that reveal themselves. Indeed, it would seem reasonable to suppose that the only differences among creoles at creolization were those due to differences in the nature of the antecedant pidgin, in particular to the extent to which superstrate features had been absorbed by that pidgin and were therefore directly accessible to the first creole generation in the outputs of their pidgin-speaking parents. Finally, the overall pattern of similarity which emerges from this chapter is entirely consonant with the process of building a language from the simplest constituents -- in many cases, no more than S, N, and V, the minimal constituents necessary for a pidgin." (Bickerton, D (1981) Roots of Language. Karoma Publishers: Ann Arbor. p. 132)

"Since the study of variable data is much further advanced in decreolization than it is in acquisition, it should be instructive to look at another situation where variable past-morphine insertion takes place. In creoles, past tense is not a category. But when creoles begin to decreolize, past-tense markers begin to be introduced, occurring sporadically just as they do in child acquisition." (Bickerton, D (1981) Roots of Language. Karoma Publishers: Ann Arbor. p. 164)

"If the present model is in essence correct, and if a creole-like language was the end product of a long period of biological evolution, then the overall capacity to produce languages of this type (itself a composite of neural capacities that preexisted any kind to language and neural capacities that were added as language evolved) must at that point (and for the rest of the life of the species, it should go without saying) have formed a part of the genetic inheritance of every individual member of the species. It would then unfold, as we have claimed, as part of the normal growth development of every child -- in most cases, being quickly overlaid by the local cultural language, but in a few, emerging in something not too different from its original form. It would merely require triggering by SOME form of linguistic activity from others -- how much, and of what kind, remains one of the most interesting questions we can ask about language -- which is why wolf children, who share our biological inheritance, cannot speak, and why the interesting experiments of Psammetichus, James IV, Frederick II, and Akbar the Great all failed."(Bickerton, D (1981) Roots of Language. Karoma Publishers: Ann Arbor. p. 289)

"Many creoles have a Portuguese lexical base, and there are theories that assert that all creoles are relexified versions of one Portuguese protocreole; such a "monogenesis" theory would account for the fact that creoles all over the world are so similar grammatically. If, as I shall try to show, ASL behaves like a creole, even though it has had no contact with spoken Portuguese, that theory will thereby be weakened. Perhaps one reason why ASL looks so much like a creole is expressed in the speculation voiced by Woodward that present-day ASL resulted from a creolization process between indigenous American Sign Language and the French Sign Language that was brought over by Gallaudet in the early 1800's. However, that was 150 years ago, and we will, in a later section, still want to explain why ASL still looks like a creole." (Fisher SD1978) Sign Language and Creoles. in P. Siple (Ed.), Understanding language through sign language research. Academic Press: New York p. 315)

"Craig (1971) lists nine characteristics of English-based creole syntaxes. Every one is true of the syntax of ASL. This parallel holds not only for those features that are notable for their absence, such as the lack of case or sex markings in pronouns, but also the more positive aspects of the syntax as well. " (Fisher SD1978) Sign Language and Creoles. in P. Siple (Ed.), Understanding language through sign language research. Academic Press: New York p. 324)

"Sometimes the second repetition will be a versio that has slid in one direction or the other along the decreolizing continuum, and thus may have a sociolinguistic rather than a processing basis, but a tremendous amount of identical repetition goes on in both HCE and ASL." (Fisher SD1978) Sign Language and Creoles. in P. Siple (Ed.), Understanding language through sign language research. Academic Press: New York p. 325) [note: conditions characterized by developmental delay such as autism feature verbal and behavioral repetition]

"If children are the primary agents in the process of creolization, then they will create the kind of grammatical devices for which they are cognitively ready. For example, Slobin (1973) suggests that children's first tendency in the expression and interpretation of grammatical relations is to rely on word order. A second example, not directly discussed by Slobin but widespread in the literature, is young children's sensitivity to intonation. Over and over again in creole studies, and in ASL as well, we find nonsegmental markers for grammatical forms, such as the conditional and relative clauses discussed previously." (Fisher SD1978) Sign Language and Creoles. in P. Siple (Ed.), Understanding language through sign language research. Academic Press: New York p. 328)

"ASL shares many of the social determinants of creoles; it also shares many similar means of grammatical expression. I have shown in this chapter that this is no accident; the process of creating a creole out of a pidgin is common to both situations. The very fact that the burdan of creolization is on children who have characteristic learning strategies can largely provide explanation for this phenomena on one level." (Fisher SD1978) Sign Language and Creoles. in P. Siple (Ed.), Understanding language through sign language research. Academic Press: New York p. 329-30)

"Pidgins in several different parts of the world rapidly gave rise to new and completely adequate languages known as creoles. In Hawaii this happened in one generation, meaning in effect that children as they grew up had to adopt a whole series of grammatical rules that their parents could not have taught them and which, therefore, the children themselves must have in some sense "invented." What is most remarkable is that the grammar of Hawaiian creole turns out to be almost identical to the grammars of all other creoles that have emerged from pidgins in one generation, regardless of the combination of native languages represented in each case. For example, they all have a basic word order in which subject comes first, verb next, and object last, and they also hae definite rules for changing this order to focus on one particular constituent of a sentence, as in Hawaiian creole...." (Harris, Marvin (1989) Our Kind. Harper Perennial: New York p. 68)

"The foregoing chapters have surveyed the three major areas of language development: development in the individual, development of new languages, and original development of language. Parsimony alone would suggest that these developmental processes might have much in common with one another, and the common pattern that emerges has an independent support that no other linguistic theory that I know of could claim: it is in accord with all we have so far learned about evolutionary processes and it is in accord with all we have so far learned about how processes in the brain determine the behavior of animate creatures." (Bickerton, D (1981) Roots of Language. Karoma Publishers: Ann Arbor. p.194)


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