The ‘language of Tobi’ as presented in Horace Holden’s Narrative

Grant, Anthony (2014) The ‘language of Tobi’ as presented in Horace Holden’s Narrative. In: Buchstaller, Isabelle, Holmberg, Anders and Almoaily, Mohammad (eds). Pidgins and Creoles beyond Africa-Europe Encounters. John Benjamins, The Netherlands, pp. 41-56. ISBN 9789027270764 DOI

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In 1836 the American sailor and trader Horace Holden published an account of two years’ captivity on the island of Tobi, western Carolines, to which he appended a short vocabulary and numerous sentences in ‘the language of Tobi’. Examination of this material shows that most of the identifiable items in the vocabulary can be traced to Tobian, a Western Chuukic language, which is part of the Nuclear Micronesian subgroup within Austronesian, and for which we have a reasonable amount of modern data. However, the structural and especially syntactic features of the sentences appended in the five ‘dialogues’ consistently show few if any of the morphological features of modern Tobian. This chapter discusses the status of Holden’s material as a probable pidgin with a lexicon showing some admixture from Malay, Palauan and maybe Spanish.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: English Language & Literature
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2014 11:03

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