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Fellow (1 September 2005 - 30 June 2006)
My stay at the NIAS was primarily as a member of the theme group Restricted linguistic systems as windows on language genesis, coordinated by Professor Rudie Botha. In this context I have looked at how temporal notions may be expressed in pidgins. Pidgins - speech forms bridging the communication gap when people without a common languages come in contact with each other - are limited in grammatical machinery, and the way particular notions are expressed by means of lexical and pragmatic strategies sheds light on the emergence of a basic, pre-syntactic communication system. I investigated historical data of pidgins spoken in the Pacific area, and lexical items expressing temporality that are retained from English in the fully-fledged creole language Sranan, taking these as indicative for the pidgin-like stage out of which the creole language developed. The data were then compared with those for second language acquisition and home signs, as investigated by Benazzo, another member of the theme group. This kind of collaboration is certainly one of the valuable profits of a NIAS theme group.
Apart from the Windows project, I was involved in the NWO programme Variation and standardization: the influence of language contact on the emerging Dutch standard language (1400-1700), which re-evaluates the linguistic impact of immigrants in Holland from the north-eastern areas versus those from Flanders and Brabant, traditionally held responsible for particular features of the Dutch standard language.
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