Reflections on creole genesis in New Caledonia

Karin Speedy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Tayo, the Pacific's only documented French-based creole, is the community language of Saint-Louis, a village on the outskirts of Nouméa. Tayo has a short, yet very complex, history. Initially represented as a purely endogenous Melanesian creation by Corne and Ehrhart in their various publications throughout the 1990s, this view was challenged firstly on linguistic grounds by Chaudenson (1994) who saw similarities between Tayo and Réunionnais. Speedy's (2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2009, 2012) socio-historical studies demonstrated an extensive and hitherto unknown contact history between Saint-Louis and immigrants from Reunion which led to the conclusion that Réunionnais was one of the input languages into the emerging local creole. However, these are but two of the Tayo stories. This paper discusses different scenarios for the development of Tayo, including the parts the Marists, the mission school-educated girls and local pidgins had to play in its evolution, and considers the role of inside and outside influences as well as universals in the stories of its genesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-205
Number of pages19
JournalActa Linguistica Hafniensia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2013


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