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Jeff Siegel: Chinese Pidgin English in Australia: The Notebook of Jong Ah Siug

Wann 20.07.2009
von 10:00 bis 12:00
Wo Sedanstraße 6, Raum 2
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More than 38,000 Chinese people came to Australia in the second half of the 19th century, mainly to prospect for gold. Most of them originated from the Canton region (now Guangdong), where at that time Chinese Pidgin English (CPE) was an important trading language. While the Aboriginal and Melanesian pidgin languages spoken in Australia are well documented, relatively little is known about CPE in the country. However, a valuable source of data has recently been discovered – a 70-page notebook written in a form of English by a Chinese a gold miner in the state of Victoria – Jong Ah Siug, This paper starts off by presenting some background information about CPE, Chinese immigrants in Victoria and Jong’s notebook (and the circumstances that led to him writing it). Then it examines the lexical and morphosyntactic features of CPE and other pidgins that are present in the account in the notebook, and discusses other features of the text. Some features are typical only of CPE, such as the use of my as the first person pronoun. On the other hand, some features are more characteristic of Australian or Pacific pidgins – for example, the use of belong in possessive constructions. Still other features have not been recorded for any pidgin, such as the use of been as a locative copula. The paper demonstrates that Jong’s account contains a mixture of features from CPE and other pidgins, as well as features of interlanguage, including some resulting from functional transfer from Jong’s first language, Cantonese.