Creoles have long been the subject of debate in linguistics, with many conflicting views, both on how they are formed, and what their political and linguistic status should be. Indeed, over the past twenty years, some creole specialists have argued that it has been wrong to think of creoles as anything but language blends in the same way that Yiddish is a blend of German and Hebrew and Slavic. Here, John H. McWhorter debunks the most widely accepted idea that creoles are created in the same way as 'children', taking characteristics from both 'parent' languages, and its underlying assumption that all historical and biological processes are the same. Instead, the facts support the original, and more interesting, argument that creoles are their own unique entity and are among the world's only genuinely new languages.
Introduction; 1. The creole exceptionalism hypothesis; 2. Is creolization just language mixture?; 3. Is creolization just second-language acquisition?; 4. What about complexity?; 5. Newer challenges; 6. Envoi.