NEAR-ing the Australian standard? Post-colonial English on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Hedegard, Hannah Joy Black (28 June 2018). NEAR-ing the Australian standard? Post-colonial English on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Unpublished). In: Sociolinguistics Symposium 22: Crossing Borders: North South East West. University of Auckland, New Zeeland. 27.-30. June 2018.

According to Mufwene’s Founder Principle, in the early stages of language contact in a colonial setting the features of the original settler group’s English are selected by the indigenous group over those of latecomers (Mufwene 1986). Subsequent research has applied this notion, as well as other theories in new dialect formation such as Schneider’s Dynamic Model (2003), to the linguistic narratives of post-colonial English speaking communities. However, these studies have consistently involved a British or American settler strand and been of a post-hoc nature, omitting the linguistically, ecologically and sociologically nuanced processes that occur along the way. This paper presents a study that captures the initial stages of the acquisition of Australian English by a remote community very much facing a feature pool dilemma. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are home to five hundred Cocos-Malay people, the descendants of Malay and Javanese slaves, and were integrated into Australia in 1984, leading to an abrupt and aggressive introduction of English. The generations born since mandatorily complete high school in Perth, Western Australia, but due to their geographic and social isolation, most of their English exposure is via television shows and online media that principally feature speakers from the eastern states of Australia. This preliminary study exposes the effects of contact with two contrasting varieties, Western and Eastern Australia, on this emerging Anglophone community through a comprehensive analysis of NEAR vowel tokens produced by forty Cocos Malay people in sociolinguistic interviews in 2016. A disyllabic production of NEAR is commonly recognised as a rare shibboleth for Western Australian English, as a monophthong realisation is usual in other parts of Australia (Cox 2012). Compounding factors discussed in this paper include the absence of diphthongs in the substrate language, Cocos Malay, as well as identity pulls and mobility patterns between the atoll and Perth. References Cox, F. (2012). Australian English: Pronunciation and Transcription, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Mufwene, S. S. (1996). The Founder Principle in Creole Genesis. Diachronica, 13 (1), 83-134. Schneider, E. (2003). The Dynamics of New Englishes: From Identity Construction to Dialect Birth, Language, vol 79: 233-81.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures > Modern English Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Hedegard, Hannah Joy Black

Subjects:

400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures

Language:

English

Submitter:

Leona Josefine Irmgard Goop

Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2018 09:41

Last Modified:

29 Jan 2019 13:44

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/121264

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