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Saipan Carolinian, one Chuukic language blended from many

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Item Summary

Title: Saipan Carolinian, one Chuukic language blended from many
Authors: Ellis, S. James
Keywords: Saipan Carolinian
blended language
dialect chain
Carolinian language continuum
show 2 morelanguage blending

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Issue Date: Dec 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Abstract: Saipan Carolinian, the language at the heart of this dissertation, was born from several languages in the Carolinian (Chuukic) language continuum when a century of migration from the western Caroline atolls to the Northern Marianas island of Saipan was launched, starting in 1815; spawned by devastating typhoons. Three languages (or dialect groupings) are the primary sources of Saipan Carolinian (SpnCRL): Woleaian-Lamotrekese (WOL), Satawalese (SAT), and Polowat-Pulusuk (POL). While SpnCRL is commonly viewed by its speakers and academics alike to be most similar to SAT, the current study contends that SpnCRL is a product of all three source languages; languages that while being very closely related are nonetheless separate languages. Thus, I use the term "blended language" to describe the unique character of SpnCRL (distinguishing it from a "mixed language"; a formalized term describing languages born from unrelated or remotely related languages).
The morpho-syntax of SpnCRL comes from a common template shared by all Chuukic languages. Its phoneme inventory, however, is most similar to WOL, while its lexical inventory is most similar to POL--two languages that are unintelligible with each other.
The original settlement of Arabwal on Saipan (later called Garapan) was dominated in the first half of the 19th century by migrants from atolls between and including Woleai and Satawal, and dominated in the second half of the 19th century by migrants from atolls east of Satawal--primarily Pulusuk and Pollap and atolls between them. This sequence of migration is stored in the linguistic code of today's SpnCRL speakers by virture of their retention of phonemes from the earliest WOL settlers and their significant compounding, or amalgamation, of their lexicon due to the later POL migrations.
Today, SpnCRL continues to change rapidly in the face of English, which has dominated Micronesia since WWII. There is only a small percentage of Carolinian children left on Saipan who can confidently speak the traditional form of SpnCRL. Before long, SpnCRL may even be more similar to English than to Chuukic; one language, in that event, that has illuminated, during its mere decades of existence, so much about the mysteries of language.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Linguistics

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