Edited by Norval Smith, Tonjes Veenstra and Enoch O. Aboh
[Contact Language Library 57] 2020
► pp. 365–388
Snow on the Danish Antilles?
Referee design in Virgin Island Dutch Creole
One of the things one does not want to hear when working on a large corpus, is that the content is very artificial, and should be ignored in your research because of the unnatural elements it contains. This is what happened with the Clarin-NEHOL-Corpus of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. The contents, mainly eighteenth-century missionary texts were considered by some people as ‘just’ a missionary variety which seemed very unlikely to have been used in daily life. Clearly, a theoretical basis was needed to analyse this variety in order to establish the authenticity of these texts. Unexpectedly, Bell’s 1984 Audience Design Model, originally based on spoken language situations, turned out to be ideal for the treatment of older written material. One element of this model, referee design, seemed at first to stand somewhat separate from the other aspects of the theory. However, it enabled us to understand the communication situation which missionaries and their pupils participated in. This article focuses then on referee design as a tool to study eighteenth century Virgin Islands Dutch Creole in particular, and historical Creole texts in general.
- 1.Authenticity: Reliable written representation of spoken language
- 2.One model to clarify all
- 3.Referee design
- Final remarks