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  • John Holm, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
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Book description

There is widespread agreement that certain non-Creole language varieties are structurally quite different from the European languages out of which they grew; however, until recently, linguists have found difficulty in accounting for either their genesis or their synchronic structure. This 2003 study argues that the transmission of source languages from native to non-native speakers led to 'partial restructuring', whereby some of the source languages' morphosyntax was retained, but a significant number of substrate and interlanguage features were also introduced. Comparing languages such as African-American English, Afrikaans and Brazilian Vernacular Portuguese, John Holm identifies the linguistic processes that lead to partial restructuring, bringing into focus a key span on the continuum of contact-induced language change which has not previously been analysed. Informed by the first systematic comparison of the social and linguistic facts in the development of these languages, this book will be welcomed by students of contact linguistics, sociolinguistics and anthropology.


Review of the hardback:‘With its cogent argumentation, supported by well-chosen examples and data clearly displayed in tables, Languages in Contact not only validates a promising hypothesis for explaining the varieties analyzed [BP, African American English, Non-standard Caribbean Spanish, Afrikaans and Réunionnais French] but also outlines what may turn out to be a particularly fertile research paradigm.’

Source: Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages

Review of the hardback:'Despite its modest length, this endeavour of linking the sociolinguistic to linguistic factors shared by five languages represents an exciting step in better understanding processes involved in the formation of contact languages.'

Source: Canadian Journal of Lingusitics

Review of the hardback:'A comparative approach to creolistics is nothing new, and Holm is a past master at it, but this work, essential reading for all interested in creolistics, is the first classic (and let us hope, by no means the last) of the new field of comparative semi-creolistics.'

Source: Language in Society

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