Modeling linguistic convergence, divergence and innovation in creole genesis
Creole languages are oral languages that typically result from a mix between a socially dominant superstrate and a set of substrate languages. Given the multilingual setting in which they emerge (e.g., plantations, labor and trade settings), creoles are viewed as resulting from the multiple grammars that contribute to their individual genesis. This basic assumption naturally gives rise to the question of how creoles pull grammatical materials from the source languages in their environment and mix them into a cohesive, innovative linguistic system. While the general consensus among linguists is that creoles draw their lexicon from the superstrate language, there is much division in the field as to the source of their grammatical properties. The aim of this project is to design an agent-based model that reflects possible patterns of feature convergence, divergence and innovation in language creation in general and creole formation specifically.