Contact, Mobility and Authenticity: Language Ideologies in Koineisation and Creolisation

Neuenschwander, Christoph; Tresch, Laura Alessandra (15 January 2014). Contact, Mobility and Authenticity: Language Ideologies in Koineisation and Creolisation. In: Language in Social Context (CSLS Winter School 2014). Kandersteg. 13.-17.01.2014.

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Part II - Christoph Neuenschwander: Language ideologies in the legitimisation of Tok Pisin as a lingua franca

Pidgins and Creoles all over the world seem to share common aspects in the historical circumstances of their genesis and evolution. They all emerged in the context of colonialism, in which not only colonisers and colonised, but also the various groups of the colonised population spoke different languages. Pidgins and Creoles, quite simply, resulted from the need to communicate.¬¬ Yet, the degree to which they became accepted as a lingua franca or in fact even as a linguistic variety in its own right, strikingly differs from variety to variety.
The current research project focuses on two Pacific Creoles: Tok Pisin, spoken on Papua New Guinea, and Hawai'i Creole English (HCE). Whereas Tok Pisin is a highly stabilised and legitimised variety, used as a lingua franca in one of the most linguistically diverse countries on Earth, HCE seems to be regarded as nothing more than broken English by a vast majority of the Hawai'ian population. The aim of this project is to examine the metalinguistic comments about both varieties and to analyse the public discourses, in which the status of Tok Pisin and HCE were and still are negotiated. More precisely, language ideologies shall be identified and compared in the two contexts. Ultimately, this might help us understand the mechanisms that underlie the processes of legitimisation or stigmatisation. As Laura Tresch will run a parallel research project on language ideologies on new dialects (New Zealand English and Estuary English), a comparison between the findings of both projects may produce even more insights into those mechanisms.
The next months of the project will be dedicated to investigating the metalinguistic discourse in Papua New Guinea. In order to collect a wide range of manifestations of language ideologies, i.e. instances of (lay and academic) commentary on Tok Pisin, it makes sense to look at a relatively large period of time and to single out events that are likely to have stimulated such manifestations. In the history of Papua New Guinea - and in the history of Tok Pisin, in particular - several important social and political events concerning the use and the status of the language can be detected. One example might be public debates on education policy. The presentation at the CSLS Winter School 2014 will provide a brief introduction to the history of Tok Pisin and raise the methodological question of how to spot potential sites of language-ideological production.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Neuenschwander, Christoph, Tresch, Laura Alessandra


400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages




Christoph Neuenschwander

Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2016 14:53

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:53

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Language Ideology, Pidgins, Creoles, Legitimacy, Authenticity




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