Oxford Studies in Language Contact Series editors: Professor Suzanne Romaine, Merton College, Oxford and Dr Peter Mülhäusler, Linacre College, Oxford This series aims to make available a collection of research monographs which present case studies of language contact around the world. The series will consider factors which give rise to language contact and the
consequences of such contact in a broad inter-disciplinary context. Given the prevalence of language contact in communities throughout the world, there are as yet insufficient studies to permit typological generalization about the subject: this series aims to fill that gap. Bislama is the variety of Melanesian Pidgin spoken in Vanuatu
(formerly New Hebrides). In this book Terry Crowley describes its history and development from the 1940s to the present. In the first chapters the labour history of Vanuatu is reviewed in detail in order to establish what were the contacts between speakers of various languages with one another over the period. The written record is thoroughly examined for evidence about how people communicated in the early contact period, and how the contact language developed over the time. In the later
chapters the author gives a detailed treatment of selected grammatical constructions and their evolution, including syntactic developments that are currently in progress. In this discussion he addresses the controversial issue of the source of grammatical constructions in Bislama, considering in
particular the possible role of substratum patterns. He concludes that while there is good evidence for substratum influence in the grammer of Bislama, the mere existence of stuctural parallels between Bislama and the substrate is not itself sufficient evidence. There are a range of other explanations that may also be drawn upon to account for these similarities.
`an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the pidgin spoken in Vanuatu ... the study presents a comparative perspective from both a present-day and an historical point of view ... There is no doubt that Crowley has provided a detailed and provocative sociolinguistic study of a language which, up until now, has received limited attention.'
Discourse and Society
'Crowley's portrait of Bislama history is an important contribution to P/C theoretical debate ... this book provides the most cpomplete synchronic and diachronic description of any P/C to date ... It will be ignored by creolists at their peril.'
Chris Corne, Journal of Pacific History, No. 2, 1992
'he lived in Vanuatu for a decade or more, speaking Bislama on a daily basis; and he has published what has become the authoritative dictionary of that language ... The book is well presented, with examples clearly set out and with footnotes at the bottom of each page rather than tucked away at the back ... this is an extremely valuable addition to the literature on Melanesian Pidgin and on pidgin/creole studies generally. But it is more than that: Because
of the attention paid to the effects on the language of interethnic contact and social and political developments in Vanuatu, it is also a valuable contribution to the social history of the Pacific.'
John lynch, University of the South Pacific, Pacific Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4, December 1993
`Crowley's discussion of the origin of Bislama vocabulary is of particular interest ... Another feature of the book is the detailed attention to the development of the language - both lexically and grammatically - over the decades.'
`C. has to be commended for having put together, in the five historical chapters, linguistic and sociohistorical data on Bislama that tremendously increases our knowledge not only of the pidgin of Vanuatu, but of the other Melanesian pidgins as well. This is a remarkable piece of historical linguistics...one is amazed at the richness of data that the author was able to unearth.'
Language, Vol 71 no 1
List of figures; List of tables; List of abbreviations; The language and its name; Language contact in the early years: 1265 - 1865; Language contact since 1865; Language contact and the Bislama lexicon; Beach-la-Mar to Bislama: Emergence of the grammar; More reent developments: More on substrate; superstrate; and independent development; Lukluk Bak:Recurrent themes; References; Bibliography