LSA.106 | The Ecology of Language Evolution
Salikoko S. Mufwene
This course investigates language evolution (including structural change, language speciation, and language birth and death) from the perspective of language contact (especially creoles). It is grounded in the context of colonization and of population movements and contacts, which constitute part of the ecology in which the relevant language competition and selection have operated. Bearing in mind that a linguistic species (language or dialect) is not a clone of a biological species, we will use concepts from population genetics and macroecology to develop a better understanding of how the communicative acts of speakers cumulatively produce language evolution. We will also capitalize on sociolinguistic notions such as 'idiolect' and 'mutual accommodation' to articulate the relevance of contact on many levels to understanding 'change'.
Prerequisite: Any diachronically-oriented linguistics course in which the development of creoles has been associated with break in the transmission of the "lexifier" and mischaracterized as unusual, unnatural, or unique.
Title: The Ecology of Language Evolution
Author: Salikoko S. Mufwene
Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press