The Post-Creole Continuum

  • Creolization of a prior pidgin may not be the end of linguistic development. In specific circumstances, a creole can decreolize and a so-called 'Post-Creole continuum' develops within a creole-speaking community:

  • A Post-Creole continuum may come into existence when a creole remains in contact with its lexifier. In such cases a continuum of language varieties (or lects) develops which mix creole and lexifier. Usually, those lects differ slightly from each other. These varieties are termed basilect, mesolect, and acrolect:

The term Post-Creole continuum thus describes a speech continuum - the spectrum of linguistic varieties between a creole and a standard form of the lexifier. This spectrum usually exists in creole-speaking communities in which the lexifier language is still present and continues to have linguistic influence.

The development of a Post-Creole speech continuum in a creole-speaking community reflects decreolization: In situations where a creole remains in contact with its lexifier, the creole may become structurally more similar to the lexifier whose continued presence and prestige exerts social pressure on the speakers of the (basilect) creole. Decreolization describes the linguistic process whereby creole speakers modify the grammar of the basilect in the direction of the acrolectal grammar.

(Information taken and adapted from Sebba, 1997)

An Example: The Jamaican Post-Creole Continuum