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Type: Book chapter
Title: Norfolk Island and Pitcairn varieties
Author: Mühlhäusler, P.
Citation: The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: an Introduction, 2010 / Schreier, D. (ed./s), pp.348-364
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publisher Place: United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2010
Series/Report no.: Studies in English language
ISBN: 9780521883962
Editor: Schreier, D.
Statement of
Peter Mühlhausler
Abstract: Lesser-known varieties of English are predominately those spoken by racially mixed or non-European speakers in remote locations and having small speaker numbers. Pitkern and Norf'k, spoken on Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island respectively, meet all three criteria. That Pitkern-Norf'k (P/N) was deemed a language not worth describing can be seen from the fact that during ten years' work as the resident linguist at the Melanesian Mission Boarding School on Norfolk Island, the Oxford philologist Codrington never bothered to discuss or describe the Norf'k language; and that it was not a language worth knowing was the ideological position of the school teachers that were sent to Norfolk Island from Australia. When Reinecke et al. published their bibliography of pidgin creole languages in (1975), they emphasized that ‘Pitcairn Island English with its offshoot on Norfolk Island is of extraordinary interest because it offers as near a laboratory case of creole dialect formation as we are ever likely to have’ (p. 590). The two pages of bibliographic resources they list at the time stood in stark contrast with the perceived keystone role of the language. There has been some serious research on P/N in subsequent years by Harrison (1972), Laycock (1982, 1989, 1990) and Källgård (1998), and for the last ten years I have carried out fieldwork on Norfolk Island and archival work around the world.
Rights: (c) 2010 Cambridge University Press.
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511676529.019
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