Melanesian Pidgin and Tok Pisin
Proceedings of the First International Conference on Pidgins and Creoles in Melanesia
The First International Conference on Pidgins and Creoles in Melanesia was planned mainly for Tok Pisin, but no predetermined theme(s) had been proposed to the participants. Nevertheless, in this collection of papers several principal themes stand out.One is that of a revived interest in substratology, both for Tok Pisin and for Bislama. Another is what in fact amounts to a change in perspective from universalism, as supposedly competitive with the substratological orientation, towards a generalist approach to typology, which reduces the apparent polarity, from a theoretical point of view. A third is the pervasive interest of contributors in wider language issues in the social and political life of Papua New Guinea.These interests go back to the linguistic and social experience of the participants, most of whom have a long record of living among the people whose languages they have studied on a day-to-day basis, and to the relative remoteness of their inspiration from the more theoretical and perhaps ultimately untestable issues which surround the universalist approach and its claims for a bioprogram foundation for language.