Archive for Creoles and pidgins

"Mixed" languages

On Monday (11/26/16), Erika Sandman will be defending her doctoral dissertation on "A Grammar of Wutun" in the Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures, at the University of Helsinki.  I have a special interest in this type of "mixed" (for want of a better word) language that is situated at the interface between the Tibetic and Sinitic groups.  My fascination with the hybrid Sinitic and non-Sinitic languages of northwestern China derives from a number of factors, including the decades of fieldwork and historical research I have devoted to the region, the fact that the 14th Dalai Lama was born here, and the intriguing thought that — if Sinitic and Tibetic are indeed related in some fashion, as many people believe — the Gansu-Qinghai sprachbund constitutes a laboratory both for the study of Tibetic and Sinitic languages individually, but also for observing their interactions with each other and with the Turkic and Mongolic languages that have also prevailed here at different times and are still present today.

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A Chinese primer for English (1860)

During the last few days, there has been a flurry of excitement over the circulation of photographs and information concerning an old Chinese textbook for learning English.  Here are a couple of pages from the book (click to embiggen):

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Singlish: alive and well

We've mentioned that special brand of Singaporean English on Language Log from time to time, most recently just a few days ago:

"New Singaporean and Hong Kong terms in the OED" (5/12/16)

So what is it, really?

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R.I.P. John Holm (1943-2015)

Today's New York Times includes an obituary for the pioneering creolist John Holm, with some remembrances from our own Sally Thomason.

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Mauritian Creole

Brian Jongseong Park was recently in Berlin and got to see an art show featuring works from Berlin-based Mauritian artist Djuneid Dulloo, who is a friend of Brian's from school. One work that caught Brian's eye was "Ras Lavi", which is covered in examples of Mauritian Creole:

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Konglish

This is "Konglish", not "Kongish".  We just finished studying the latter, which is Hong Kong style English, in this post, and surveyed other varieties of Asian English in this post, including Konglish,which is the subject of the present post.

Konglish is Korean-style English, and it seems to be thriving.

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Kongish

From the Hong Kong Free Press:

"Hong Kong Chinglish page wins the internet overnight" (8/8/15)

The article begins:

A Facebook page presenting Hong Kong news in “Chinglish” attracted more than 15,000 likes overnight.

Kongish Daily, the motto of which is “Hong Kong people speak Hong Kong English,” became an instant sensation in the SAR after it published a number of stories that only people fluent in Cantonese and English could understand.

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No dawn for ape-language theory

As you know, I serve Language Log as occasional film reviewer. I reported on Rise of the Planet of the Apes when it came out (see "Caesar and the power of No", August 14, 2011). So I naturally went to see the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to report on the way the franchise was developing its view of how apes evolve language. Well, forgive me if this seems pedantic, but the film is supposed to be science fiction, and I have to say that the linguistic science is crap.

I left the cinema half stunned by the visual effects (which are absolutely terrific — worth the price of admission) and half deafened by the soundtrack and Michael Giacchino's bombastic score, but thoroughly disappointed at the inconsistent muddle of the way apes' linguistic powers were portrayed.

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Ningbo pidgin English ditty

While visiting Ningbo last month, Barney Grubbs snapped this picture of a doggerel song featuring English words in local transcription at the Museum of the Ningbo Commercial Group ( Níngbō bāng bówùguǎn寧波幫博物館): Website, Wikipedia article.

The photograph is not clear (even with a magnifying glass it's hard to read), so a typed version is given below. [Update: Barney sent a clearer image of the verse — click to embiggen.]


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