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mugaliens
2009-Nov-21, 01:56 AM
On a whim I decided to see what other languages look like, and came across the following: Norfuk / Pitkern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfuk_language).

As it turns out, it's a blend of English and Tahitian, with Pitcairnese thrown in. Thus, it's imminently readable by anyone who has...

...been to Jamaica.

Seriously, seriously - that's exactly what it sounds, er, reads like. But decide for yourself:

Mien Paij - My Page (http://pih.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mien_Paij)


Transport es a' wieh t' get araun, from wan plais taedha.

Norfolk Ailen transport

Norfuk Ailen reliis moestly on tuu forms a' transport, sheps an boets, an pliens. Dem sheps laen at Kingston or Cascade piya, en pliens laen at t' eyaport. - Source (http://pih.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport)

Translated:


Transport is a way to get around, from one place to the other.

Norfolk Island transport

Norfolk Island relies mostly on two forms of transport, ships and bots, and planes. The ships land at Kingston or Cascade pier, and planes land at the airport.

I fully respect the fact that they've developed their "own" language. As it's closer to modern English than was Chaucers, or even Shakespeare's English, I can't help but wonder why they didn't simply "go English."

mike alexander
2009-Nov-21, 04:51 AM
After Fletcher Christian got the Bounty to Pitcarin the island was essentially isolated with a few dozen people ever since. (See if you can find the book Serpent in Paradise for a modern update on the place). It's only about a square mile in extent. Few people, not terribly educated, cut off from the world. Like any bottleneck, I suspect evolution worked pretty fast.

Jens
2009-Nov-21, 05:20 AM
I fully respect the fact that they've developed their "own" language. As it's closer to modern English than was Chaucers, or even Shakespeare's English, I can't help but wonder why they didn't simply "go English."

Your poll is really difficult, because it's not such a simple question. But to start out with, I'm not sure but it almost seems from the part I quoted that you start from the assumption that people get together and make a deliberate choice about what language they will speak. But the world doesn't work like that. Languages usually emerge spontaneously within communication. So the question itself doesn't really make sense. They didn't, that's all. In a sense, you could ask the same thing: why did English people start using French words instead of just keeping the original English? Or why do people in the South of the US speak with a different accent than those in the North? It's not a deliberate choice that somebody makes.

But probably as a concrete answer, the islands of Norfolk and the Pitcairnes were isolated in the 18th century, so the language they spoke was influenced by the native languages in the area. The European colonists (I think they were all men) mixed with the local people, so it makes sense that the language they ended up speaking had elements of both.

And by the way, in the poll you said "pronounce properly." We actually don't pronounce English the same way that people did in the 18th century, so we're not pronouncing English "properly" either, whatever that means. People in different areas of England pronounce things differently.

Strange
2009-Nov-21, 11:25 AM
What Jens said.

You could consider it just another dialect of English; many of which are largely incomprehensible to speakers of standard British and American English. It would probably more correct to consider it a separate language though (the distinction being largely political).


I fully respect the fact that they've developed their "own" language.

If you fully respect it, why put the quotes around "own" and, even, why ask the question in the first place.

As for the poll, I'll tick the "It's just another language" box.

Strange
2009-Nov-21, 11:29 AM
Actually the "They wanted to be distinct" option is interesting. That probably wasn't relevant in the past when they were more isolated. But it may be an important fact in the development and use of the language now. You may find that those who resist the use of other forms of English the most (and perhaps have the strongest accents) are those with the most pride in the country.

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-21, 11:58 AM
Pitkern started as a pidgin, used for communication between the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. The Bounty mutineers were a mixed lot, speaking eighteenth-century English with Cockney, Cornish, Scots and Manx accents and dialect words.
The children learned that mixture and turned it into a creole, which then evolved for a long time with very few visits from the English-speaking outside world.
It would be a surprise if they spoke standard English.

(I've often wondered why Americans keep their own language, when it's nearly identical to English. ;))

Grant Hutchison

Lianachan
2009-Nov-21, 01:36 PM
I would have voted for "that's just the way languages develop", if it had been there. There are countless variations and developments of English all over the world. Around here, for example, there's what's classed as "Highland English", which is mostly a mixture of Scots and English, with several Gaelic loan words (even more than English has anyway) and a Gaelic sentence structure. None of the poll options reflect how that's developed, either.

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-21, 05:18 PM
BTW, the thread title and OP contain a typo. The dialect spoken on Pitcairn Island is Pitkern, not Pitkem. (They can be visually pretty similar, depending on your choice of font.)

Grant Hutchison

jokergirl
2009-Nov-23, 02:15 PM
It reads a little bit like Feegle...

Do they habitually have lots of blue tattoos and get into fights a lot?

;)

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-23, 02:31 PM
Do they habitually have lots of blue tattoos and get into fights a lot?Tahitians and British sailors: tattoos, check.
Pitcairn settlers: fight a lot, check.

Grant Hutchison

MAPNUT
2009-Nov-23, 03:45 PM
(I've often wondered why Americans keep their own language, when it's nearly identical to English. ;))

Grant Hutchison

That's mixed up. We speak English. I've often wondered why we don't call it American, since it's so different from English English. Probably because all those Americans who speak Spanish, Portuguese or Canadian would object.

jokergirl
2009-Nov-23, 03:51 PM
I thought Canadians spoke French, English, or a variety of the NC languages.

But I don't see why they should switch, really. If the similarity to English is enough so that they can get English TV, the language will probably die out within generations. If not, it may evolve into its own right. I guess time will tell what happens.

;)

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-23, 06:04 PM
That's mixed up. We speak English.The winking smiley was supposed to indicate that I was trying to make a light-hearted point about the poll at the start of this thread, "Why did they keep their own language, when it's nearly identical to English?" :)
American English and British English have diverged significantly, and we each keep our own versions which are "nearly identical to English". (In fact, in my part of the world, I can travel twenty miles north or south and find people speaking a different dialect that I find awkward to understand.)
So it's no surprise that a small community on a very isolated island, who initially spoke pidgin English as their common language, should have diverged strongly from other forms of English.

Grant Hutchison

HenrikOlsen
2009-Nov-23, 06:13 PM
Actually it was my impression on linguistics that small communities with no outside influence tends to change less in language.

Iceland and Norway in the first centuries after the Landnám (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settlement_of_Iceland) being a case in point.
Iceland was settled by Norwegians, but after a couple of hundred years, Norwegian (and the other Scandinavian languages) had diverged so much from the old language that was still spoken almost unchanged on Iceland that people in Norway couldn't understand Icelandic visitors.

mike alexander
2009-Nov-23, 06:14 PM
I find many television programs from England quite difficult to follow at times, the cadence, accent and meaning of some words being so different from my midwest American version of the language. BBC World News is easier, but I wonder if the readers tone down the Englishness of their English.

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-23, 08:47 PM
Actually it was my impression on linguistics that small communities with no outside influence tends to change less in language.My point about the Tahitian/English pidgin spoken by the original settlers is important, here. You start off with a mixed vocabulary, with Tahitians who bring their own accent to English words, and with children who then creolize a variant grammar. There's your strong divergence; very different from the Norse settlement of Iceland.

Since outside contact is rare and transient, there's then very little to pull the language structure back towards standard English.

Grant Hutchison

publiusr
2009-Nov-23, 10:37 PM
There was a wonderful program called "Do you Speak American" by MacNeil if memory serves.
http://www.pbs.org/speak/

captain swoop
2009-Nov-23, 10:49 PM
What is English? Come and visit us in North Yorkshire, We have dialect words related to old Norse. Get people from Liverpool, Brixham, Newcastle, Otley and Dagenham together, let them speak in their broadest accents and dialects, I defy anyone from the USA to understand them. .

JohnD
2009-Nov-23, 11:42 PM
Indeed Henrik, and the Capn.

I lived in Denmark for a while and was fascinated by the similar words in thioer veriosn of Scanadavian and in English. Less so in Sweden. Ethercop/adderkop - old words, granted, but both meaning 'spider'. Quern/kern, a mill. 'gate/'gathe, both suffixes - a road. Etc.etc.
Languages both give and take, and the reason why English is now a World language is NOT because of the power of America; it has an extraordinary adhesive and adaptive power. It adapts to changes in society; it takes words, and structures from other languages and makes them its own.
See the Oxford English Dictionary (Ed. 2) - 59 million words; Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie française (Ed.9) (in preparation)- 50 thousand words

For an account of how English has achieved this state and stutus, I recommend Melvyn Bragg's "The Routes of English".
John

HenrikOlsen
2009-Nov-24, 01:31 AM
Indeed Henrik, and the Capn.

I lived in Denmark for a while and was fascinated by the similar words in their version of Scanadavian and in English. Less so in Sweden. Ethercop/adderkop - old words, granted, but both meaning 'spider'. Quern/kern, a mill. 'gate/'gathe, both suffixes - a road. Etc.etc.
Just in case people who want to look up the Danish words are confused, they were spelled for approximately correct pronunciation by English, the Danish spellings are 'edderkop', 'kvćrn and '-gade'.

Jens
2009-Nov-24, 02:44 AM
That's mixed up. We speak English. I've often wondered why we don't call it American, since it's so different from English English.

It's a little complex, but generally speaking, dialects that are mutually understandable are considered to be the same language (though there are exceptions usually for political reasons). From this definition, it is fairly clear to me that British and American English are the same language, but just different dialects. Of course, there is still the problem that Americans can understand standard British, but certain accents are definitely hard to follow. I was reading a book about language recently and the author said something interesting, that there really is no such thing as a "language." There are only dialects, is what he wrote. So in a sense, all humans speak the same language (with the exception fo sign language, I suppose), but in different dialects, that get progressively more difficult to understand.

Jens
2009-Nov-24, 02:48 AM
I lived in Denmark for a while and was fascinated by the similar words in thioer veriosn of Scanadavian and in English. Less so in Sweden. Ethercop/adderkop - old words, granted, but both meaning 'spider'. Quern/kern, a mill. 'gate/'gathe, both suffixes - a road.

I'm not sure about this, but I think that Scandinavian languages and English share words both because Scandinavian words were borrowed into English and because the languages are historically related. I'm certain that adderkop is a borrowing, but I wonder whether some of the words might simply be related etymologically. In the same way that English and Hindi have similar words (like the numbers from 1 to 10) not because of borrowing, but because they are both descended from a common ancestor language.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Nov-24, 04:59 AM
Early English was heavily influenced by the times Britain was under foreign rule, so many Scandinavian words entered old English during the viking era, just as middle English vocabulary was heavily influenced by Norman French.

Later it turned around and English became influenced by the languages of the areas Britain ruled.

hhEb09'1
2009-Nov-24, 05:30 AM
BTW, the thread title and OP contain a typo. The dialect spoken on Pitcairn Island is Pitkern, not Pitkem. (They can be visually pretty similar, depending on your choice of font.)

I think I've changed all the instances. Let me know if I have not.

Lianachan
2009-Nov-24, 08:27 AM
There are indeed a lot of English words from Scandanavian ("viking") influences, but a lot of seemingly "viking" loan-words are actually older than that, and stem from the fact that Old English and the Old Norse languages all share a common Proto-Germanic ancestor. Different branches of the same linguistic tree.

Otherworldly
2009-Nov-24, 08:35 AM
I find many television programs from England quite difficult to follow at times, the cadence, accent and meaning of some words being so different from my midwest American version of the language. BBC World News is easier, but I wonder if the readers tone down the Englishness of their English.

I learned American English, but I find the BBC World News easier to understand than many American accents!

Jens
2009-Nov-24, 09:10 AM
I wonder if the readers tone down the Englishness of their English.

In a sense, yes (actually, apparently the BBC has become looser in recent years about accents). But in general, and not just with the BBC, the register used in broadcasting and academia tends to be a high one that is perceived as neutral. In a sense, it's careful speech. In the US, as well, you wouldn't hear a NY native anchor on national news saying, "hey pal, what's up," because it's inappropriate in the context.

captain swoop
2009-Nov-24, 09:42 AM
In the UK the BBC is seen as using a 'Posh' version of English that we should all aspire to. RFegional accents were very controversial when they were first allowed onto the BBC and even today there are complaints.

grant hutchison
2009-Nov-24, 02:37 PM
I think I've changed all the instances. Let me know if I have not. Thank you. It was wearing on my nerves. :)

Grant Hutchison