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Borrowings into Whitesands: Language contact on Tanna (Vanuatu)

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Hammond, J. (2008). Borrowings into Whitesands: Language contact on Tanna (Vanuatu). Talk presented at Directions in Oceanic Research Conference. University of Newcastle, Australia. 2008-12-09 - 2008-12-11.

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This paper investigates language contact between the Whitesands language (primarily spoken on Eastern Tanna, Southern Vanuatu) and Bislama. The impetus for this discussion is a recent paper by Lindstrom "Bislama into Kwamera" (2007). He notes: "These transcribed recordings are twenty-some years old. My hope in the future is to record similar decision-making meetings to assess the amount and type of Bislama mixings in contemporary island talk and compare this with my 1980s baselines"(p. 217). Using recordings made in Yenamakel Village between November 2007 and May 2008, this paper will address how modern Whitesands has been influenced through this interaction and compare current code-choice with that of Lindstrom‘s earlier study. Overall he provides a positive review of the impact of Bislama on Kwamera (a language geographically adjacent to Whitesands). We conclude that changes in Vanuatu socio-political composition since this time (the post-1980 independence and changes in national language policy), have meant that Bislama use has expanded, which is significantly impacting on the indigenous languages.