Enoch Aboh, born in Parakou, Benin, in 1962. Ph.D. from the University of Geneva. Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2011 – 30 June 2012)
THE EMERGENCE OF HYBRID GRAMMARS: CONTACT, LANGUAGE CHANGE, AND LANGUAGE CREATION
My stay at NIAS was devoted to a monograph on processes of language acquisition and change. The book tries to understand how learners succeed in acquiring a (new) language though the input they are exposed to is heterogenous and sometimes conflicting. The book explores the hypothesis that language acquisition involves (i) contact (between varying idiolects of the same language; L1 acquisition, or between idiolects of different languages; L2 acquisition), and (ii) change (because speakers develop a ‘hybrid’ grammar). In monolingual contexts, such emerging ‘hybrid’ grammars are not immediately noticeable, but they are when contact involves typologically different languages, such as in the case of creoles. This book shows that natural languages are ‘hybrid’ systems. Six chapters (out of ten) were written at NIAS. In addition, I co-wrote two book chapters with Michel DeGraff (M.I.T.) as contributions to a volume on language change and a handbook on Universal Grammar.