Is English a creole? (was: Indo-European Studies)

Cameron Laird (claird@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM)
20 Jul 1995 08:45:46 -0500

In article <>,
Gerold Firl <> wrote:
>Don't creole languages generally have a simplified syntax compared to the
>languages from which they were formed? The IE languages, aside from
>english, which can be considered a creole, seem very structured to me. On
'Long time ago, I, too, learned that English is a creole.
Over the last five years, though, sci.lang scholars con-
vinced me to re-read some of the recent research on the
topic, and I see how little likelihood there is to this.
English *is* an outlier in some ways, some of which
(skimpy declension, for example) do remind one of creoles.
However, there's apparently good evidence that the develop-
mentail trends leading to these characters were already
underway *before* the Anglo-Norman kingdoms provided the
political and economic stage one would think necessary
for criollization. Moreover, some of the same secular
changes are attested for Norse and other little-related

This comes up often enough that someone should put it in
the FAQ. I don't know the literature well enough to take
on the job. If someone does sketch the argument, I'll
make it available on a fast FTP site, at least until it
joins the FAQ.


Cameron Laird +1 713 267 7966 +1 713 996 8546 FAX