English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands

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Duke University Press, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 255 pages
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Many inhabitants of the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean speak a mixture of English and Japanese that resulted from the islands' unique and complicated history. The development of Bonin English began with the arrival--on previously uninhabited islands--of men and women speaking eighteen European and Austronesian languages in the early nineteenth century. As the islanders intermixed, their native languages intertwining, the need arose for a common language and shared means of communication. Eventually, a pidgin version of English--a language once merely one among the islanders' languages--emerged as the preferred method of communication as well as a strong symbol of island identity. As Bonin English developed among second- and third-generation islanders, it was further complicated by the arrival of thousands of Japanese speakers. Increasingly, these formerly "western" islanders became bilingual, and by the mid-twentieth century Bonin English had evolved to incorporate elements of Japanese. This volume provides a comprehensive overview of Bonin English and the complex sociolinguistic factors that have influenced its endurance and metamorphosis.

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Language Varieties Used on the Bonins
English during the Early

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