Speaker's choices in a creole context: Bislama and Morisien

This project ended with the first funding phase at the end of 2023.

The project investigates situation-specific individual linguistic variation and its contribution to the expression of social meaning in creole language communities. It deals with Bislama, an English-based creole spoken in Vanuatu and Kreol Morisien, a French-based creole spoken in Mauritius. Inspired by the speaker-centered approach of the CRC, the project will focus on the creativity of individual speakers and employ novel experimental techniques. It will relate situational and social meaning aspects with particular linguistic features and will also be concerned with the formation of new registers in spoken and written language.


Project leader


Cooperation Partner

Publications & Presentations



  • Veenstra, Tonjes; Krifka, Manfred; Akbari, Roodabeh; Buchmüller, Olga; Chark, Jordan; Döring, Sophia; Golcher, Felix; Schmidt, Peter  (2023) Podcast: Sprachen aus dem Schnellkochtopf: Register in Kreols (Teil 1) [ViVo]
    Kreolsprachen sind ein Wunder der Linguistik. Innerhalb weniger Generationen entstehen diese Sprachen dort, wo Menschen ohne gemeinsame Sprache miteinander kommunizieren müssen. Unser Projekt A02 "Speaker's choices in a creole context: Bislama and Morisien" untersucht zwei Kreolsprachen aus Melanesien und Mauritius. Wir sprechen mit Manfred Krifka und Tonjes Veenstra.
  • 2021

  • Lima, Suzi; Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Complex structures in Brazilian Indigenous languages In:  Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Ciências Humanas [DOI] [ViVo]
  • 2020

  • Aboh, E.; Smith, N.; Veenstra, Tonjes  (2020) Advances in contact linguistics[DOI] [ViVo]

    Issues in multilingualism and its implications for communities and society at large, language acquisition and use, language diversification, and creative language use associated with new linguistic identities have become hot topics in both scientific and popular debates. A ubiquitous aspect of multilingualism is language contact. This book contains twelve articles that discuss specific aspects of Contact Linguistics. These articles cover a wide range of topics in the field, including creoles, areal linguistics, language mixing, and the sociolinguistic aspects of interactions with audiences. The book is dedicated to Pieter Muysken whose work on pidgin and creole languages, mixed languages, code-switching, bilingualism, and areal linguistics has been ground-breaking and inspirational for the authors in this book, as well as numerous other scholars working on the various facets of this rapidly expanding field.

  • Lüdeling, Anke; Alexiadou, Artemis; Adli, Aria; Donhauser, Karin; Dreyer, Malte; Egg, Markus; Feulner, Anna Helene; Gagarina, Natalia; Hock, Wolfgang; Jannedy, Stefanie; Kammerzell, Frank; Knoeferle, Pia; Krause, Thomas; Krifka, Manfred; Kutscher, Silvia; Lütke, Beate; McFadden, Thomas; Meyer, Roland; Mooshammer, Christine; Müller, Stefan; Maquate, Katja; Norde, Muriel; Sauerland, Uli; Szucsich, Luka; Verhoeven, Elisabeth; Waltereit, Richard; Wolfsgruber, Anne; Zeige, Lars Erik  (2020) Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation In:  REALIS: Register Aspects of Language in Situation [DOI] [ViVo]
    The Collaborative Research Center 1412 “Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation” (CRC 1412) investigates the role of register in language, focusing in particular on what constitutes a language user’s register knowledge and which situational-functional factors determine a user’s choices. The following paper is an extract from the frame text of the proposal for the CRC 1412, which was submitted to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in 2019, followed by a successful onsite evaluation that took place in 2019. The CRC 1412 then started its work on January 1, 2020. The theoretical part of the frame text gives an extensive overview of the theoretical and empirical perspectives on register knowledge from the viewpoint of 2019. Due to the high collaborative effort of all PIs involved, the frame text is unique in its scope on register research, encompassing register-relevant aspects from variationist approaches, psycholinguistics, grammatical theory, acquisition theory, historical linguistics, phonology, phonetics, typology, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics, as well as qualitative and quantitative modeling. Although our positions and hypotheses since its submission have developed further, the frame text is still a vital resource as a compilation of state-of-the-art register research and a documentation of the start of the CRC 1412. The theoretical part without administrative components therefore presents an ideal starter publication to kick off the CRC’s publication series REALIS. For an overview of the projects and more information on the CRC, see https://sfb1412.hu-berlin.de/.
  • Presentations


  • Aznar, Jocelyn  (2023) The unexpected relationship between direct speech and singing: from a descriptive perspective to a cross-linguistic exploration In:  Kolloquium SFB1412 (2023) [ViVo]
  • 2022

  • 2021

  • Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Rich Agreement in creoles and register-sensitivity In:  International Conference on New Issues in Language Contact Studies , Università degli Studi dell’Aquila [ViVo]
  • Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Speakers’ Choices in Creole Contexts: The Mauritian Case In:  Forschungskolloquium Romanistik, U. Hamburg [ViVo]
  • Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Tribute to Pieter Muysken In:  International Conference on New Issues in Language Contact Studies , Università degli Studi dell’Aquila [ViVo]
  • Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Register-sensitivity in creole grammars In:  SPCL Summer conference, INALCO Paris [ViVo]
  • Henri, Fabiola; Veenstra, Tonjes  (2021) Focus-sensitive Alternations in the Indian Ocean In:  Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft  [ViVo]