Sociolinguistics


Theories of Genesis

  • Theories of genesis are concerned with the origins of both pidgins and creoles, hence the name. The main focus lies on the origin of pidgins although creoles are thought to be related to pidgins. The process of creolization is assumed to involve the nativization of an existing pidgin. However, relevant theories of genesis generally refer to both types of contact languages.

  • A theory exclusively concerned with creole genesis is Derek Bickertonís Language Bioprogram Hypothesis (LBH)(1981).

  • Different theories of genesis have been proposed in order to account for the significant structural similarities between pidgins and creoles with different lexifiers and wide geographical separation in terms of their origins.

  • In short: theories of genesis are theories about the origins of pidgin and creole languages.

  • Theories of genesis can be broadly classified into:

(1) Monogenetic Theories
(2) Polygenetic Theories
(3) Universalist Theories
(4) Substrate Theories