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Perspectives on creole language history

Keywords: Caribbean , Creole languages , linguistics , social history , book review

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[First paragraph] Les Creoles: Problemes de genese et de description. GUY HAZAELMASSIEUX. Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l'Universite de Provence, 1996. 374 pp. (Paper 260 FF) The Kiss of a Slave: Papiamentu's West-African Connections. EFRAIM FRANK MARTINUS. Curacao: De Curacaose Courant, 1997. 292 pp. (Paper US$ 57.50) Towards a New Model of Creole Genesis. JOHN H. MCWHORTER. New York: Peter Lang, 1997. 199 pp. (Cloth US$ 44.95) In two of the three books reviewed here (those by Hazael-Massieux and Martinus), theory takes a back seat to description, while in the third (McWhorter's) the roles are reversed. The work by Guy Hazael-Massieux, whose recent and untimely death saddened his many friends, is entitled Les Creoles: Problemes de genese et de description, but the author is more concerned with history and description than with creole genesis. The book is a collection of twenty-one essays, all of which have been previously published. However, since their loci were extremely scattered and in many cases difficult of access, especially for Anglophone readers, his widow, Marie-Christine Hazael-Massieux, has done the field a service by collecting and editing them. Ten of these essays are gathered under the rubric "Genese et histoire des Creoles," and a further seven are described as "Elements pour une morpho-syntaxe des Creoles francaises," leaving only four that concern themselves directly with "Definition et classement des Creoles."

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