The Cantonese substrate in China Coast Pidgin

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The “Chinese” character of Chinese Pidgin English, or China Coast Pidgin (CCP) has been debated in previous work. While some Chinese-based features such as the use of piece(e) as a classifier are widely acknowledged, the extent of substrate influence has remained unclear. This paper surveys the role of the Cantonese substrate based on a recently transcribed Chinese text, the Chinese English Instructor. Substrate influence is demonstrated in a wide range of grammatical domains including serial verbs, topiccomment structure, and placement of prepositional phrases. In certain domains such as placement of adverbs and in-situ wh-phrases, the Chinese sources show substrate influence which is rare or absent from the English language sources, a pattern which suggests systematic variation between Sinophone and Anglophone lects within CCP.


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