Creoles are the world's youngest languages, and as such they offer unique opportunities for the field of cognitive linguistics. Unlike all other natural languages, creoles developed abruptly emerging from fragments of other languages, as solutions to the problem of communication in extreme circumstances of linguistic and cultural mixing. First, grammatically highly restricted contact vehicles (called pidgins) were created, some of which nativized (become mother tongues) and expanded grammatically, causing fully expressive creole languages to emerge. Around 50 creoles are spoken in the world today, the sum of which holds the key to answering fundamental questions about language evolution and cognition.
The project Cognitive Creolistics (CC) opens a new field of research, straddling the border between i) creolistics, i.e. the scientific study of creole languages, their formation, development and characteristics, and ii) cognitive linguistics, a linguistic paradigm which sees language as "construals" of reality, and simultaneously argues that language is an integral part of general mental and communicative mechanisms in humans
This research is supported by a grant from the VELUX Foundation