Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Noun Phrases in L2 French and Haitian: Clues on the Origin of Plantation Creoles

Patrick-André Mather1
1Universidad de Puerto Rico

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


This article provides evidence from studies on second language acquisition in support of the gradualist model of creole genesis. According to this model, creole genesis is viewed as a gradual process away from the lexifier language, as successive generations of African slaves acquired increasingly divergent varieties of the emerging contact language. This article provides examples on the L2 acquisition of French, and compares interlanguage structures with Haitian, a radical French-lexifier creole. Using examples within the NP domain, I conclude that many creole features can be accounted for in terms of second language acquisition, either as 1) the transfer of L1 features (via e.g., relexification), 2) the acquisition of L2 features, or 3) interlanguage structures found neither in the L1 or the L2, including innovations (e.g., reanalysis or grammaticalization) or other developmental stages in second language acquisition. The article also discusses the origin of tense-mood-aspect markers, which are not attested in the L2 data and may be better explained in terms of first, rather than second language acquisition processes.

Keywords: acquisition; creole; French; Haitian; interlanguage



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