Chapter in:Variation Rolls the Dice: A worldwide collage in honour of Salikoko S. Mufwene
Edited by Enoch O. Aboh and Cécile B. Vigouroux
[Contact Language Library 59] 2021
► pp. 243–267
Foundings and futures
How to live like a Peranakan in the post-digital ecology
This chapter contemplates the positioning of the Peranakans (also known as Straits-born Chinese or Babas) – descendants of southern Chinese seafaring traders to the Malay archipelago who married local women, and settled in the region – across different eras and ecologies. We provide a critical digest of the contribution of scholarship on the Peranakans to Creole studies, World Englishes, and language endangerment – including a consideration of the Founder Principle in the ecology paradigm, as underscored by Mufwene, in establishing the Peranakans’ role as early adopters in the spread and evolution of English in the region. We examine sociological and communicative factors in their language practices in local, transnational, and digital ecologies, highlighting issues of postvernacular practice, authenticity indexing, and identity branding.
Keywords: language ecology, transnational communities, postvernacular, authenticity, heritage branding
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