[Mihalic] New PhD thesis - Jana Harvey's Tok pisin and the internet
rhide at coombs.anu.edu.au
Tue Oct 30 21:12:06 EST 2007
This looks interesting-
Tok Pisin on the Internet
by Harvey, Jana R., Ph.D., Ball State University, 2007, 170 pages;
Internet message boards are a medium by which educated Papua New Guineans
who are living outside of Papua New Guinea (PNG) maintain ties to one
another and to their home country. One of the languages that they use on
these message boards is Tok Pisin (TP), an English-based creole spoken in
PNG that has changed rapidly in the approximately 120 years since its
creation as a pidgin.
Romaine (1992) suggests that decreolization by means of new changes toward
English is occurring in the TP language. Smith (2002) disagrees and claims
that there is no evidence for decreolization. This study shows that there
is evidence in favor of decreolization, in particular a Matrix Language
(ML) turnover (Myers-Scotton 2002), in the TP used on seven Internet
message boards. This conclusion is also derived through the study of 139
letters to the editor in the TP weekly newspaper Wantok written during 2003
In looking for English 'late system morphemes,' whose existence in
bilingual complementizer phrases that have TP as the ML would indicate the
beginning of a ML turnover (Myers-Scotton 2002), this study counts deletion
of the TP particle i as a late system morpheme.
Results show that on Internet message boards, the particle i only marks the
predicate in 33% of the locations where it would occur in Standard TP. In
Wantok letters to the editor, i occurs 95% of the time. Internet users are
more likely to be influenced by English and have less access to Standard TP.
Although TP is still valued by highly educated Papua New Guineans in the
English domain of the Internet to discuss personal topics and show
solidarity with one another, it is not their first choice of language, and
the loss of the particle i shows evidence for a ML turnover having begun in
the language. One conclusion that may be drawn from this study is that
planning for the future of TP by the leaders of PNG is essential to
maintain TP as a community language.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Mihalic