Comparing English Worldwide: The International Corpus of English

By Sidney Greenbaum | Go to book overview

18
Why a Fiji Corpus?

JAN TENT and FRANCE MUGLER

The linguistic situation in Fiji is unique and complex. Of the three major languages spoken in Fiji (Fijian, Fiji Hindi, and English 1) English is the first language of only a tiny section of the population. Yet its influence on the lives of Fiji's people is very significant. Over the last 200 years, its role has evolved from being merely a source language for foreign loanwords to the language of government, education, and commerce. In no other South Pacific nation is English used in so many domains as it is in Fiji. This paper presents a profile of the development and status of Fiji English, and argues for its inclusion in ICE.


1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The history of English in Fiji can be divided into six distinct periods.


1.1.Pre-European Contact

The history begins roughly 30 or 40 years before the arrival of the first European settlers in about 1805. From Cook's time, and perhaps before, a number of English words found their way into Fijian, introduced by the Tongans, who had well-established trade relations with the Fijians; e.g. kapa 'sheet metal' < 'copper', kote < 'coat', and pusi (now vusi), 'cat' < 'pussy' ( Geraghty, 1989: 380 and personal communication). 2


1.2.Beachcombers and Traders in Sandalwood and Bêche-de-mer

The first Europeans to settle in Fiji were mainly deserters and marooned sailors who became beachcombers. However, their impact on the linguistic situation was negligible, as they adopted the Fijian way of life and learned Fijian. Indeed, they often acted as interpreters and intermediaries between ships' captains and the Fijian chiefs under whose protection they lived ( Derrick, 1950: 41). Fijians did not learn English, with the notable exception of Cokānauto (more commonly known as Phillips to the English), a chief of Rewa who learned to speak English reasonably well ( Derrick, 1950: 96).

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Comparing English Worldwide: The International Corpus of English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Contributors xi
  • List of Figures xiii
  • List of Tables xv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Part I Introduction 1
  • 1: Introducing ICe 3
  • References 12
  • 2: Learner English Around the World 13
  • References 23
  • Part II Compilation and Annotation 25
  • 3: The Design of the Corpus 27
  • References 35
  • 4: Markup Systems 36
  • Notes 45
  • References 45
  • 5: The Umb Intelligent ICe Markup Assistant 54
  • References 64
  • 6: ICe Annotation Tools 65
  • 7: Developing the ICe Corpus Utility Program 79
  • 8: About the ICe Tagset 92
  • 9: Autasys: Grammatical Tagging and Cross-Tagset Mapping 110
  • 10: An Outline of the Survey's ICe Parsing Scheme 125
  • Reference 139
  • 11: The Survey Parser: Design and Development 142
  • References 157
  • Part III Problems of Implementation 161
  • 12: The New Zealand Spoken Component of ICe: Some Methodological Challenges1 163
  • References 177
  • 13: Second-Language Corpora1 182
  • References 195
  • 14: The International Corpus of English in Hong Kong 197
  • References 213
  • Part IV Applications 215
  • 15: The Corpus as A Research Domain 217
  • 16: ICe and Teaching 227
  • 17: The Sociolinguistics of English in Nigeria and the ICe Project 239
  • 18: Why A Fiji Corpus? 249
  • References 260
  • 19: Prosice: A Spoken English Database for Prosody Research 262
  • References 278
  • Index 281
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