The emergence of the Romance languages from Latin: A case for creolization effects.

Title: The emergence of the Romance languages from Latin: A case for creolization effects.
Authors: Goyette, Stéphane.
Date: 2000
Abstract: This thesis aims to ascertain whether or not the phenomenon known as creolization played a role in the emergence of the Romance language from Latin. Creolization and normal language change differ in terms of their respective effects upon inflectional morphology: normal language change yields morphological loss and morphological creation through grammaticization. Creolization cause inflectional morphology to be severely reduced. Thus, the hypothesis tested would predict that the transition from Latin to Romance would involve an unusually high degree of morphological loss and an absence of creation of new inflectional morphology. Comparison with another language, whose external history precludes its having been creolized, Greek, is used to ascertain whether Romance shows an unusual pattern of morphological loss.. Comparison is first made between the fate of Latin nominal declension in Romance and Classical Greek declension in Modern Greek. It is found that declension was almost wholly eliminated in Romance but is preserved largely unscathed in Modern Greek. A similar fate befell adjectival declension. Likewise, the synthetic comparatives and superlatives of Latin did not survive into Romance, but those of Classical Greek survived into Modern Greek. Comparison of the two verb systems yields a similar result: whereas Romance severely reduced Latin verbal morphology (most importantly, the passive), Modern Greek has preserved the greater part of Classical Greek verbal morphology unscathed. If one adds to this a complete absence of any morphological creation in the emerging Romance languages, one is forced to conclude that creolization must indeed have played a role in the history of Romance. In conclusion, some examination is made of other alleged instances of creole-influenced language change, all of which are found wanting: some suggestions are made regarding methodology. Likewise, the implications of this conclusion, to linguists and especially Romance linguists, are presented.
CollectionThèses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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