English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands

An issue of: American Speech

English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands
Journal Issue Volume 81, Number 5 Number: 91 Published: 2006 An issue of American Speech
Many inhabitants of the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean speak a mixture of English and Japanese that resulted from the islands’ unique and complicated history. The development of Bonin English began with the arrival—on previously uninhabited islands—of men and women speaking eighteen European and Austronesian languages in the early nineteenth century. As the islanders intermixed, their native languages intertwining, the need arose for a common language and shared means of communication. Eventually, a pidgin version of English emerged as the preferred method of communication as well as a strong symbol of island identity. As Bonin English developed among second- and third-generation islanders, it was further complicated by the arrival of thousands of Japanese speakers. Increasingly, these formerly “western” islanders became bilingual, and by the mid-twentieth century Bonin English had evolved to incorporate elements of Japanese. This volume provides a comprehensive overview of Bonin English and the complex sociolinguistic factors that have influenced its endurance and metamorphosis.


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Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Acknowledgments

2. Abbreviations

3. Notes

4. References

Before The Arrival Of Japanese

5. The Linguistic History Of The Bonin Islands

6. Language Varieties Used On The Bonins

7. English Before The Arrival Of Japanese: Native And Contact Varieties

After The Arrival Of Japanese

8. Sociohistorical Overview: English During The Early Japanese Period

9. Late-Nineteenth-Century Bonin English–Peter Trudgill

Early Twentieth Century

10. Sociohistorical Overview: English In The Early Twentieth Century

11. Early-Twentieth-Century Bonin English And The Prewar Ogasawara Mixed Language

Navy Period

12. Sociohistorical Overview: English During The U.S. Navy Period

13. "Navy Generation" Bonin English

14. Postwar Ogasawara Mixed Language

Post Reversion

15. Comparing Sociolinguistic Aspects Of Bonin English With Other Isolated Language-Variety Communities

16. English, Japanese, And Ogasawara Mixed Language In The Postreversion Period

Additional InformationBack to Top
ISBN Cloth: 978-0-8223-6671-3