We provide a selective overview of the state of pidgin and creole language studies, with a focus on the different ways in which the question of creole genesis—especially of European-lexifier creoles—is approached: from the perspective of the demographics and periodization of the (early) life of the colonies and from the perspective of the role of typological concepts such as analyticity/syntheticity and simplicity/complexity in the mechanisms of creolization and their linguistic outcomes. We conclude that substrate speakers are most likely to have an impact on the grammar of a creole language if they are among the first to shift to the incipient contact variety, and we find that processes of early second language acquisition and of functional transfer in creolization favor free rather than bound expression of grammatical categories.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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