Westminster Creolistics Series

Spreading the Word

The issue of diffusion among the Atlantic Creoles

Edited by Magnus Huber and Mikael Parkvall, iv + 325 pages, 6 maps, index. ISBN 1 85919 093 6. £20. September 1999. (Westminster Creolistics Series - 6)

"Solid scholarship, fresh thinking, and a remarkable diversity of views make this examination of the role of diffusion an important step forward in Creole studies." John V Singler, New York University

"Solid scholarship, fresh thinking, and a remarkable diversity of views make this examination of the role of diffusion an important step forward in Creole Studies. The volume focusses on two vital debates in the field: (1) whether or not Caribbean Creoles can trace their origin, and hence their commonality, to one or more proto-Creoles that developed along the West African coast; and (2) whether or not a Portuguese proto-Creole was brought to Surinam from Brazil and formed the basis for the Surinamese Creoles. Contributions make cogent use of linguistic and sociohistorical evidence to advance their hypotheses. Along the way, several of them directly confront a "new" and vexing problem in Creole Studies: what if the linguistic evidence and the historical evidence point with equal vigor to antithetical conclusions?" John V Singler, New York University.

"Spreading the word' offers a lively evaluation of current theory on the development of the Atlantic Creoles. The arguments are clear, fast-paced and founded on impressive data. The debate form dominates each topic, impelling the reader to engage in interactions between conflicting theories and between established positions and new standpoints. The general principle underlying the collection is brilliant, combining revised versions of workshop papers with specially invited articles, all circulated among contributors to allow additional comments. The result is that the diverse papers, dealing with the possibility of a West African origin for Caribbean Creoles or examining the likelihood that the Surinam Creoles may in part derive froma former Portuguese Creole of Brazil, interrogate each other in a vigorous thrust and parry of argument among prominent Creolists." Barbara Lalla, University of the West Indies.


  • A Creole by any other name: streamlining the terminology - John H McWhorter
  • Feature selection and genetic relationships among Atlantic Creoles - Mikael Parkvall
  • The Gold Coast contribution to the Atlantic English Creoles - Michael Aceto Atlantic
  • Creoles and the Lower Guinea Coast: a case against Afrogenesis - Magnus Huber
  • The Afrogenesis hypothesis of plantation Creole origin - John H McWhorter
  • The structure of Tense Phrase in Creoles: a case study (Krio) - Dudley K Nylander
  • Reconstructed Portuguese: from Africa to Brazil - Heliana Ribeiro de Mello
  • The question of (prior) creolization in Brazil - Hildo Honório do Couto
  • The origin of the Portuguese element in the Surinam Creoles - Jacques Arends
  • The Pernambuco connection? An examination of the nature and origin of the Portuguese elements in the Surinam Creoles - John Ladhams
  • The role of Cayenne in the Pernambuco - Surinam hypothesis - William Jennings
  • Pernambuco to Surinam 1654-65? The Jewish slave controversy - Norval Smith
  • Transcript of a debate on Creole origins (Westminster Creolistics Workshop, 1996)