Substrate influences on New South Wales Pidgin

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This paper examines the influence of the grammar of Australian Aboriginal languages on New South Wales Pidgin (NSWP), which developed from the interaction of British colonists with the Indigenous people of the Sydney region beginning in 1788. This variety eventually spread over most of Australia and exerted an influence on Melanesian Pidgin English, which is the basis for modern Solomons Pijin, Bislama of Vanuatu, and Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea. The paper shows how in NSWP English utterances were reinterpreted, on the basis of Verb-Object and Noun Phrase patterns of Australian languages (ALs), as including null constituents; the consequence was that English forms ended up as parts of verbs and adjectives as markers of transitivity (-im/-it) and adjectival function (-fela), respectively. In other words, zero elements from the substrate language were replicated where the superstrate had overt elements.


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