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Determinism in new-dialect formation and the genesis of New Zealand English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2000

PETER TRUDGILL
Affiliation:
University of Fribourg
ELIZABETH GORDON
Affiliation:
University of Canterbury
GILLIAN LEWIS
Affiliation:
University of Canterbury
MARGARET MACLAGAN
Affiliation:
University of Canterbury

Abstract

In this paper we use an extensive archive of early New Zealand speakers, together with comparisons with the other Southern Hemisphere varieties of English, to argue that dialect mixture and new-dialect formation are not haphazard processes. We demonstrate that, given sufficient linguistic information about the dialects which contribute to a mixture, and sufficient demographic information about the proportions of speakers of the different dialects, it is possible to make predictions about what the outcome of the mixture will be. We also argue that we have arrived at a probabilistic solution to the problem of randomness in the transmission of dialect features from one generation to another in such situations.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

This paper was written in connection with the Origins of New Zealand English project led by Elizabeth Gordon at the Linguistics Department of Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand. ONZE has been funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology; and by the University of Canterbury. Additional funding has also been made available by the British Council. We are very grateful to Laurie Bauer, Allan Bell, Jean Hannah, Derry Gordon and Janet Holmes for their comments and advice on this paper. And we are very grateful to Sandra Quick, David Maclagan, Leigh Nurkka, Diana Looser, Tim Brown and Michelle Dawe for their invaluable assistance with this research.

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