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The influence of Edward Young's St Kitts Creole in Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island toponyms 1

  • JOSHUA NASH (a1)

Edward Young, the midshipman who sided with Fletcher Christian during the Mutiny on the Bounty, which took place in 1789, was an English and St Kitts Creole speaker. The influence of Young's Kittitian lexicon and grammar toponyms (placenames) in the Pitcairn Island language – Pitcairn – exists in features such as the use of articles and possessive constructions. Pitcairn was moved to Norfolk Island sixty-six years after the settling of Pitcairn Island in 1790 by the mutineers and their Polynesian counterparts. While Kittitian for ‘for, of’ and Kittitian-derived articles ha/ah only occur in a few documented placenames in Pitcairn, the fer and ar/dar elements of possessive constructions in placenames in Norfolk, the Norfolk Island language still spoken today by the descendants of the Pitcairners, are more common than in Pitcairn placenames. It is argued that the use of the for/fer possessive construction and article forms are key social deictic markers of identity and distinctiveness, especially in Norfolk placenames. Their usage delineates Pitcairn blood heritage and ancestry (Norfolk: comefrom) as either Pitcairner or non-Pitcairner, and has been expanded in and adapted to the new social and natural environment of Norfolk Island. The analysis draws on primary Norfolk placename data and compares it to secondary Pitcairn data.

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I thank Philip Baker for comments on an earlier draft and Ian Hancock for comments on a more recent version. Emil Mittag provided editorial assistance.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Philip Baker & Magnus Huber . 2001. Atlantic, Pacific, and world-wide features in English-lexicon contact languages. English World-Wide 22 (2), 157208.

Philip Baker & Peter Mühlhäusler . 2013. The Creole legacy of a bounteous mutineer: Edward Young's Caribbean contribution to the language of Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 45 (2), 170–86.

Elaine Murphy . 1991. Antiguan dialect. St Johns: Bennjies Printery.

Joshua Nash . 2013. Insular toponymies: Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1360-6743
  • EISSN: 1469-4379
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
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