Creole Spanish and vestigial Spanish: Evolutionary parallels

John M. Lipski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Structural similarities among (Africanized) creole Spanish dialects, from the 15 th century to the present day, have led to hypotheses of common origin and/or mutual influence. The present study examines the opposite phenomenon, vestigial or ‘dying’ Spanish, in areas free from direct African influence (Trinidad; St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana; the Philippines; vestigial Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Spanish in the United States) and demonstrates the existence of significant parallels in terms of syntactic, morphological, and phonological evolution. Parallels include partial neutralization of nominal and verbal inflection, reduction of prepositional usage, and reduction in the use of articles. These similarities are explained through the existence of parallel configurations of imperfect language learning, and it is suggested that monogenetic theories of Hispanic creole formation be tempered by the possibility of spontaneous generation in geographically separated areas, using quasi-universal patterns of ‘semi-Spanish’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-984
Number of pages22
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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