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Friday, August 17, 2007

Pardon My Norfuk

The language spoken by the descendants of Bounty mutineers on Norfolk Island has been recognized by UNESCO as both unique and endangered. The language derives from "Pitkern," itself based on the 18th-century English spoken by Bounty crewmen and the Tahitian spoken by their island brides.

To outsiders the creole, known as Norfuk, is almost incomprehensible, although pronouncing words slowly helps untangle their meaning. "Daad'wieh" means "that's the way" and "daaset" is "that's it".

Other words are from archaic English: "food" translates as "wattles", derived from "victuals". The word "children" has morphed into "sillen".
Alice Buffett, a seventh generation islander who has written a Norfuk text book and dictionary, said the pupils were enjoying learning phrases such as "Whataway yorle?" ("How are you?") and "El duu f'mada" ("They'll do for dumplings"). [Link]
If you don't like the dumplings, say "Car do far dorg et." Check out this site to hear the language spoken.

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