Sandro Sessarego, Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin and currently NIAS research fellow, is the guest speaker at the online ACLC seminar on Friday 9 April 2021 from 16:15 till 17:30.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the seminar.
A Legal Approach to Afro-Hispanic Linguistics and Creole Studies
The origins of the Afro-Hispanic vernaculars of the Americas (AHVAs)—the languages that developed in Latin America from the contact of African languages and Spanish in colonial times—are extremely intriguing, since it still has to be explained why we do not find creole languages in certain regions of Spanish America, where the socio-demographic conditions for creole languages to emerge appear to have been in place in colonial times. Nowadays, in contrast, we can find such contact varieties in similar former colonies, which were ruled by the British, the French or the Dutch. Despite the fascinating implications of this phenomenon, our knowledge of the AHLAs remains extremely limited. Several hypotheses have been proposed to account for this situation, but no common consensus has yet been achieved (Granda 1968; Mintz 1971; McWhorter 2000). The range of different views on the issue has been labelled in the literature as the ‘Spanish creole debate’ (Lipski 2005).
The current study is aimed at casting new light on the Spanish creole debate by relying on a comparative analysis of slave laws in the Americas. This article highlights the role that legal differences played in shaping colonial societies and the Afro-European languages that developed in those regions.