Language Contact and Composite Structures in New Ireland

Jenkins, Rebecca Sue

Widespread multilingualism in Papua New Guinea provides an ideal situation for analyzing the dynamics of language contact. In this book, the author examines the relationship of indigenous Austronesian languages and the pidgin/Creole language, Tok Pisin. Jenkins argues that in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, the direction of influence between languages was first from the indigenous Austronesian languages to Tok Pisin, but is now from Tok Pisin to the indigenous languages.

Jenkins applies the principles of Matrix Language Theory, Abstract Levels, and 4-M Models to the development of Tok Pisin as a pidgin/Creole language based on the Austronesian substrate. The degree and types of dialect variation, codeswitching, and borrowing are illustrated primarily from Tigak. Other languages are also used to demonstrate phenomena such as language shift, convergence, attrition, and language death. A grammatical sketch of Tigak provides background for the discussion of the language contact phenomena. The geographical location of the Tigak places them in close contact with a large number of languages, thus making them especially appropriate for the kind of study reported in this book.

About the Author

Rebecca Sue Jenkins and her husband did linguistic field work among the Tigak from 1986 to 1999 under the auspices of SIL International. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 2000 from the University of South Carolina.

Table of Contents:

List of Maps, Tables, and Figures
Abbreviations and Symbols


  1. The Linguistic Situation in Papua New Guinea
  2. A Review of Literature on Language Contact Phenomena
  3. Theory, Methodology, and Hypotheses
  4. Tigak, a Typical Austronesian Language
  5. Is Tok Pisin an Austronesian Language?
  6. Convergence and Renewed Influence
  7. Conclusion

Appendix 1: Examples of Shared Lexical Items in Austronesian Languages
Appendix 2: A Comparison of Austronesian Grammatical

Retail Price:
xxi, 253 pages
Languages in contact
ISBN 13:
ISBN 10:
6 × 9 × 0.58 in
1 lb
Papua New Guinea
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