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.

Borrowing contextual inflection

Borrowing contextual inflection: Evidence from Northern Australia.

Felicity Meakins

Volume 21, Number 1, 57-87, DOI: 10.1007/s11525-010-9163-4

Gurindji Kriol is a north Australian mixed language which combines lexical and structural elements from Gurindji (Pama-Nyungan), and Kriol (English-lexifier). One of the more striking features of the grammar of Gurindji Kriol is the presence of the Gurindji case paradigm including ergative and dative case-markers within a Kriol verbal frame. Given the fragility of inflectional morphology in other language contact situations, particularly contextual inflections such as structural case markers, this situation bears closer scrunity. This paper argues that the presence of Gurindji case morphology is the result of pervasive code-switching practices which immediately preceded the genesis of the mixed language. As the code-switching stabilised into a mixed language, case-marking was integrated into predicate argument structure of Gurindji Kriol via nominal adjunct structures. Yet, these case markers were not absorbed unscathed. Although the Gurindji Kriol case paradigm bears a close resemblance to its Gurindji source in form, these case markers have not been perfectly replicated in function and distribution. Contact with Kriol functional equivalents such as prepositions and word order have altered the function and distribution of these case markers. The last part of this paper examines the shift that has occurred in Gurindji-derived case morphology in Gurindji Kriol.