Children’s language input

Children’s language input: A study of a remote multilingual Indigenous Australian community

1School of Languages and Linguistics, the University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. AUS. 3010

2Academic Language and Learning Unit, La Trobe University, Bendigo, PO Box 199 Bendigo, Vic. AUS. 3552

3School of Language Studies, Baldessin Building, ANU Canberra ACT, Australia 0200

Citation Information: Multilingua – Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication. Volume 32, Issue 5, Pages 683–711, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: 10.1515/multi-2013-0032, June 2013

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Indigenous children growing up in the remote regions of Australia live in multilingual communities which are often undergoing rapid language shift. In these communities, children are exposed to a range of language input, including the traditional language of the area, a local creole and Standard Australian English. The extent to which the different languages are used may vary by age of interlocutor as well as other factors. In this paper we examine the input to five children between the ages of two and four living in a small remote community. Recordings were made of each child interacting with caregivers of different ages to identify the range of language the children are exposed to. The majority of the input was in the local creole. This represents a rapid shift from the traditional language, Walmajarri, which was widely spoken when the community was established in the late 1980s. The majority of input in the traditional language came from the older interlocutors, suggesting that the language is severely endangered. Standard Australian English was used only minimally, although once they enter the formal school system, SAE will be the only language used for their education.

The role of codeswitched input to children in the origin of a new mixed language

The role of codeswitched input to children in the origin of a new mixed language

1University of Michigan

Citation Information: Linguistics. Volume 50, Issue 2, Pages 305–340, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: 10.1515/ling-2012-0011, April 2012

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Light Warlpiri is a mixed language, with Warlpiri and Aboriginal English/Kriol as its sources. It was developed by a group who received codeswitched input in a baby talk register from when they were young. The innovating group conventionalized the input they received and developed morphosyntactic structures beyond those in the input. The development of Light Warlpiri shows that commonly occurring processes in language contact situations, codeswitching and re-analyses of existing forms, play an important role in the extreme outcome of the development of a mixed language, through a two-part process: a) an adult group directed codeswitched speech to children, and b) the children conventionalized and expanded the morphosyntactic structures they heard. The new code is an in-group language and did not emerge in order to indicate a new dual-cultural identity, but since its development it has come to signal the identity of young Warlpiri from Lajamanu.$002fling.2012.50.issue-2$002fling-2012-0011$002fling-2012-0011.xml;jsessionid=6AC245BC949B1395B6B352848C832237

Gurindji Kriol

Which Mix — code-switching or a mixed language? — Gurindji Kriol

Author: Meakins, Felicity

Source: Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, Volume 27, Number 1, 2012 , pp. 105-140(36)

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company

Gurindji Kriol is a contact variety spoken in northern Australia which has been identified as a mixed language. Yet its status as an autonomous language system must be questioned for three reasons — (i) it continues to be spoken alongside its source languages, Gurindji and Kriol, (ii) it has a close diachronic and synchronic relationship to code-switching between Gurindji and Kriol, and (iii) its structure bears a strong resemblance to patterns found in this code-switching. Nonetheless in this paper I present criteria which support the claim of `language-hood’ for Gurindji Kriol. I demonstrate that Gurindji Kriol (i) is a stable language variety (it has child language learners and a high degree of inter-speaker consistency), (ii) has developed independent forms and structural subsystems which have not been adopted back into the source languages, and (iii) contains structural features from both languages which is rare in other language contact varieties including Kriol/Gurindji code-switching. I also present a number of structural indicators which can be used to distinguish Gurindji Kriol mixed language clauses from code-switched clauses.

“Brainwash from English”?: Barunga Kriol Speakers’ Views on Their Own Language

“Brainwash from English”?: Barunga Kriol Speakers’ Views on Their Own Language

M Ponsonnet – Anthropological Linguistics, Volume 52, Number 2, Summer 2010, pp. 160-183

This article deals with the sociolinguistics of Kriol, an English-lexifier creole widely used among Aboriginal people in the north of the Northern Territory in Australia. Some views and ideologies about their own language expressed by four first-language Barunga Kriol speakers in a series of speech interactions are presented, and possible interpretations are suggested, based on understanding of speakers’ local and personal backgrounds as well as sociolinguistic and historical clues. While the youngest speaker was somewhat critical of Kriol, older and middle-aged speakers expressed affection and pride for it, even though their depiction of Kriol as “in between” English and traditional Aboriginal languages was in line with the youngest speaker’s views. One must be cautious about drawing general conclusions from such a small number of cases, but two possible factors triggering the discrepant evaluations may be the older speakers’ greater awareness of the history of Kriol and of its recognition as a respectable language and their mastery of ancestral Aboriginal languages.