Variation in the reflexive in Australian Kriol
With 20,000 speakers across Northern Australia, Australian Kriol is well known to exhibit geographic variation but this has never been systematically studied. This article stems from the first dialectological study of Kriol, focusing on the eastern portion of the Kriol-speaking area. It analyses variation in forms of the Kriol reflexive, which is derived from the English form ‘myself/meself’ but is invariant for person and number. The analysis utilises random forests modelling to analyse the importance of factors, a new method available to variation studies that is particularly useful when applied to small languages with small datasets. With geography confirmed as the major factor accounting for variation, areal patterns showing variation in lexical form of the reflexive, the medial consonant, the final vowel and the final consonant are considered. This study also documents new variants of the Kriol reflexive and incorporates perceptual dialectology, combining to better inform classifications of Kriol dialects.
Keywords: Kriol, dialectology, reflexives, classification trees, random forests, Boruta, variation in contact languages, geographic variation, pidgin and creole languages, perceptual dialectology
Published online: 02 March 2020
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