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Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America$
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Salikoko S. Mufwene

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226126173

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226125671.001.0001

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The Ecology of Language Evolution in Latin America: A Haitian Postscript toward a Postcolonial Sequel

The Ecology of Language Evolution in Latin America: A Haitian Postscript toward a Postcolonial Sequel

Chapter:
(p.274) 11 The Ecology of Language Evolution in Latin America: A Haitian Postscript toward a Postcolonial Sequel
Source:
Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America
Author(s):

Michel Degraff

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226125671.003.0011

How can studies of language change in Iberian America help us better understand related phenomena in the Caribbean, and vice-versa? I raise some fundamental issues about language contact and its linguistic, cultural and socio-political consequences in Latin America, alongside challenging questions regarding the relationship between power and the production of knowledge in and about Latin America. These issues conjure up the foundations and politics of Creole studies and of education in Haiti. Here, Haiti serves as a spectacular case study to probe the effects of (neo-)colonialism on language diversification, vitality and endangerment throughout Latin America. Rejecting Creole Exceptionalism (i.e., the dogma that Creole languages are exceptional languages on either developmental or structural grounds), I compare Haitian Creole with its counterparts in continental Latin America, particularly Amerindian languages. This exercise sheds new light on the common socio-historical roots of various myths about Creole and Indigenous languages. I then consider how the past can help us analyze, then deconstruct, some of the racially- and ethnically-based hierarchies in Latin America. I conclude with a plea for a North-South collaboration among linguists and, also, between the latter and educators—collaboration toward social justice through quality education for all in Latin America and beyond.

Keywords:   Creole Exceptionalism, Creole languages, Haiti, Haitian Creole, Indigenous languages, education for all, language change, language contact, language endangerment, social justice

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