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Reviewed by:
  • The Iberian Challenge: Creole Languages Beyond the Plantation Setting ed. by Armin Schwegler, John McWhorter, and Liane Ströbel
  • Israel Sanz
Schwegler, Armin, John McWhorter, and Liane Ströbel, eds. The Iberian Challenge: Creole Languages Beyond the Plantation Setting. Madrid: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2016. Pp. 273. ISBN 978-8-48489-962-4.

Creole linguistics have benefitted from a considerable amount of research since the pioneering studies of Bickerton, Hancock, Mühlhäusler and others in the 1970s and 1980s, which transformed scholarship on pidgins and creoles into a field of its own. Research on the pidgins and creoles lexified by Spanish and Portuguese is no exception, but this research has yet to permeate the core of creole studies, which so far has by and large been based on data from English- and French-lexified creoles. A clear example of this bias is the still widespread assumption that slave plantations are the prototypical setting for creole development, despite the many cases of pidgins and creoles that have not originated in slave societies. The present collection of papers edited by Schwegler, McWhorter and Ströbel is a reminder of both the effervescence of research on the creoles and pidgins lexified by Iberian languages, as well as of their potential to contribute to the development of creolistics as a field.

The Iberian Challenge: Creole Languages Beyond the Plantation Setting could not have a more transparent title. As made clear by the volume editors in the introductory chapter, this project has a double goal. On the one hand, this collection of papers seeks to centralize Iberian-lexified creoles as part of the creole debate. On the other hand, it aims at broadening the sociocultural scope of research on creoles by exploring contexts other than slave plantations that have resulted in codes along the pidgin/creole continuum. The volume contains an additional 10 chapters, which focus on a large number of Spanish- and Portuguese-lexified codes typically characterized [End Page 165] as pidgins or creoles in three different continents (the Americas, Africa, and Asia) and that originated in a wide range of historical, demographic, social and cultural settings.

In chapter 1 ("Once More on the Genesis of West African Portuguese Creoles"), Kihm and Rougé survey linguistic and documentary evidence of the historical use of Portuguese in West Africa in order to challenge the traditional account of West African Portuguese creoles as having emerged largely independently from each other. Instead, they propose an out of Portugal model, whereby all these creoles originated in the L2 approximations by African slaves dating back to fifteenth-century Portugal. McWhorter's chapter 2 ("The Missing Spanish Creoles are Still Missing: Revisiting Afrogenesis and its Implications for a Coherent Theory of Creole Genesis") reviews the various strands of criticism generated by his 2000 book on the reasons for the paucity of Spanish-lexified creoles in the Americas. It re-ascertains the validity of his original proposal that virtually no creoles originated in the contact between Spanish and other languages in the Americas because Spain, unlike other colonial European powers, owned no slave trading posts on the coast of West Africa, which prevented the creation of a Spanish-based pidgin. Chapter 3 ("On the Relevance of Classical Portuguese Features in Four Atlantic Creoles"), by Jacobs and Quint, studies the presence of classical Portuguese features in four Atlantic creoles (Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Casamance, Papiamentu and Saramaccan), and sheds light on the historical and demographic conditions that gave birth to each of these creole varieties. In chapter 4 ("Documenting 17th-century Língua de Preto: Evidence from the Coimbra Archives"), Luís and Estudante unearth new evidence concerning the use of língua de preto (a literary representation of L2 Portuguese by African slaves in continental Portugal) from a seventeeth-century collection of vilancicos (religious songs), and compare this evidence to the earlier, widely-known corpus from the works by Gil Vicente. They conclude that these vilancicos show that the naturalistic codes that inspired língua de preto in Portugal persisted well into the seventeenth century and illustrate the emergence of new features in the L2 approximations to Portuguese, different from those of the sixteenth century. Li's chapter 5 ("Macau...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6414
Print ISSN
0018-2133
Pages
pp. 165-167
Launched on MUSE
2018-04-28
Open Access
No
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