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Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <[log in to unmask]>:

> On Tue, Jun 17, 2003 at 08:33:15AM -0700, Stone Gordonssen wrote:
> > It is my understanding that pidgins become creoles when they move from
> > being only an auxiliary language to being a 1st language for some body of
> > speakers.
>
> That's correct.
>
> First language acquisition is fundamentally different adult or even
> late-childhood language acquisition.  The child isn't memorizing
> the grammar, but inferring it, and since they have incomplete
> information to work with, they can only infer languages that fit
> the universal pattern followed by all human natlangs.

This is one predominant theory (one which I actually used
to hold, as well). When you look at the evidence of how specific
creoles/pidgins developed in the Americas, however, the problem
is that in many cases, such as for example Gullah, there were
several generations of slave-importation on a small scale before
there was a large enough population of slaves to form distinct
communities from their masters.  This is especially true of
the American south, where early on, in the 17th century, there
were essentially no latifundia-style plantations. Slave-owners
at this time usually had no more than four or five slaves.  This
small number of slaves meant that it was simply impossible to
isolate the children of slaves from the speech of their European
masters, and the speech of their European masters' children.
This in turn meant that the children of slaves learnt the language
of their masters more or less as the master's children did,
which explains why AAVE is in most respects identical to dialects
of rural Southern American English.  Gullah is divergent, in this
theory, because the isolation of that community from influences
from the mainland was instituted long before (early 1700s) it was
in the rest of the South (effectively mid 1800s).

I would not discount Bickerton's bioprogram which you describe
above entirely; there is always a role for markedness in any
language change. However, he and sociolinguists like him have
IMO vastly overstated the role of markedness.

Two books I suggest for an alternative view of Pidgins and Creoles:
"Explaining Language Change" by William Croft, and "The Ecology of
Language Evolution" by Salikoko Muwfwene.

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Thomas Wier            "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637