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St Helenian English

Origins, evolution and variation

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Abstract

This volume provides the first-ever sociolinguistic analysis of English on the island of St Helena, the oldest variety of English in the Southern Hemisphere. It is based on a concise synchronic profile of the variety (describing its segmental phonology and morphosyntax) and an evaluation of diachronic material in the form of letters, court cases, ghost stories, etc. The analysis is embedded into a theoretical framework of contact linguistics (contact dialectology and pidgin/creole linguistics) and builds upon the social and sociodemographic development of the community. The aims of this book are to trace the origins and evolution of the variety, to pinpoint the forms of English it affiliates with today and the inputs it derived from historically and to investigate whether local contact scenarios have led to the formation of regionally distinctive varieties across the island. Insights from St Helenian English thus challenge us to rethink principles of classification that are applied to determine the status of post-colonial varieties of English.

Subjects: Contact Linguistics; Sociolinguistics and Dialectology; Theoretical linguistics; Germanic linguistics; Historical linguistics; English linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Zurich

References

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