Monthly Archives: May 2020

Snow on the Danish Antilles? New article about referee design in early Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

Expected in October 2020, however already mentioned on the website of John Benjamins Publishers is Advances in Contact Linguistics, In honour of Pieter Muysken, edited by Norval Smith, Tonjes Veenstra and  Enoch Oladé Aboh.

This Festschrift contains twelve articles in the field of contact linguistics, of which some were already presented on December 6th 2019 in the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam in the presence of Pieter Muysken himself.

You can find the table of contents here.

Part 1 is dedicated to Creole languages and creole studies, however in Part 4, Sociolinguistic aspects of language contact, you will find my article about referee design in early Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. Voila, the abstract:

Snow on the Danish Antilles?

Referee design in Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

One of the things one does not want to hear when working on a large corpus, is that the content is very artificial, and should be ignored in your research because of the unnatural elements it contains. This is what happened with the Clarin-NEHOL-Corpus of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. The contents, mainly eighteenth-century missionary texts were considered by some people as ‘just’ a missionary variety which seemed very unlikely to have been used in daily life. Clearly, a theoretical basis was needed to analyse this variety in order to establish the authenticity of these texts. Unexpectedly, Bell’s 1984 Audience Design Model, originally based on spoken language situations, turned out to be ideal for the treatment of older written material. One element of this model, referee design, seemed at first to stand somewhat separate from the other aspects of the theory. However, it enabled us to understand the communication situation which missionaries and their pupils participated in. This article focuses then on referee design as a tool to study eighteenth century Virgin Islands Dutch Creole in particular, and historical Creole texts in general.

Keywords: audience design, missionary linguistics, Clarin-NEHOL-Corpus, historical sociolinguistics, Virgin Islands Dutch Creole