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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Akademie Verlag 2012

Sprachliche Kontakte in den Missionen auf Deutsch-Neuguinea und die Entstehung eines Pidgin-Deutsch*

Peter Mühlhäusler
Ich möchte Herrn Professor Auer und Kollegen für die freundliche Aufnahme bei FRIAS (Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies) im August und September 2010 danken, wo dieser Aufsatz entstanden ist.


This paper is concerned with the language policies and practices of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries in former German New Guinea. In the absence of clear government language policies in the initial years of the colony, different denominations and orders had to devise their own policies. The SVD missionaries, who operated in the coastal areas of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland and a number of small nearby islands, distinguished themselves from other groups by implementing a consistent German language education policy.

Because of the short duration of German colonization and scarcity of resources and funds the SVD did not achieve its objective of establishing standard German. Instead, a pidginized form of German grew up, whose currency was restricted to a number of small mission stations. Recordings from two stations, Ali Island and Alexishafen are analysed and compared to other pidgins. Extensive text samples are given in the appendix. These are transcripts of the only recordings made with first generation speakers of a Pidgin German in any former German colony.