Article published in:Approaches to Variation in Creole Studies
Edited by Isabelle Léglise, Bettina Migge and Nicolas Quint
[Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 36:1] 2021
► pp. 46–76
The development of weak normativity in Solomon Islands Pijin
Pijin, the lingua franca of Solomon Islands, has acquired the functions of a creole in the capital city of Honiara. Yet, though Pijin is the common language of the urban culture of Honiara, it lacks linguistic legitimacy. Speakers of Pijin did not, until recently, consider it a true language in the same way that English and local vernaculars, with which it co-exists, are deemed to be. Specters of inauthenticity and illegitimacy were part of that assessment. In this paper, we consider that the nascent legitimacy ascribed to Pijin by some urban speakers is informed by the affirmation of their own legitimacy as a new socio-cultural group, that of the Pijin-speaking urbanite. This contributes to the complexification of the sociolinguistic scene. We show that while different ways of speaking Pijin are progressively becoming associated with various sociolinguistic groups and seem to constitute emergent social varieties, the question of a Pijin norm is also emerging.
Keywords: weak normativity, enlanguagement, legitimacy, language diversification, Solomon Islands Pijin
Published online: 25 March 2021
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