Substrate reinforcement and the retention of Pan-Pacific Pidgin features in modern contact varieties

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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many grammatical features of Pacific Pidgin English, New South Wales Pidgin English and Chinese Pidgin English were attested in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), Solomon Islands, New Guinea Islands, Hawai‘i and the Northern Territory of Australia. In the expanded pidgin or creole that later emerged in each of these locations, a different subset of these “Pan-Pacific” features was retained. This chapter examines nine of these features to see whether their presence or absence in each of the five modern contact varieties can be accounted for by the presence or absence of substrate reinforcement. This occurs when a similar feature exists in the substrate language or languages that were significant when the pidgin was expanding and stabilising. The most significant substrate languages were those of speakers who were bilingual in the pidgin and who expanded it to meet greater communicative needs.


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