From despised jargon to language of education

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This paper describes the changing views and practices of the school vis-à-vis the Norf’k language, the mixed Tahitian, English, St Kitts Creole language spoken by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, who brought the language from Pitcairn to Norfolk Island in 1856. For more than a century, education was the principal instrument of assimilating Norfolk Islanders to mainstream Australian norms. Once a means of eradicating the Norf’k language, Norfolk Island’s Central School has become central in the revival of the language. This paper examines the constraints and opportunities of using public education in this process. Integrating formal teaching with activities such as language camps is seen as the best way of making limited financial and human resources deliver optimum outcomes.


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