Tok Pisin cour­ses start in Aus­tralia

Paradise - - In Paradise Contents -

Aus­tralian Na­tional Uni­ver­sity in Can­berra is to of­fer a se­ries of on­line lan­guage cour­ses in Pa­pua New Guinea’s of­fi­cial lan­guage, Tok Pisin. Tok Pisin lan­guage course de­vel­oper Jenny Homerang, from the ANU’s Col­lege of Asia & the Pa­cific, de­scribes the cour­ses as ground­break­ing.

“For a very long time, Tok Pisin was seen as a lan­guage that was not a real lan­guage; some con­sider it as bro­ken English. I feel glad that ANU has ac­tu­ally taken up the chal­lenge to run the course,” she told Par­adise.

She says it will raise the pro­file of less com­monly used lan­guages.

“A lot of lan­guages taught at the ter­tiary level are modern lan­guages and the most pop­u­lar ones are from Europe. So it is very im­por­tant to un­der­stand that the less

taught lan­guages have the same value as the modern lan­guages.”

More than four mil­lion Pa­pua New Guineans speak Tok Pisin, a cre­ole that de­vel­oped 120 years ago when Pa­pua New Guineans, Solomon Is­lan­ders, New Cale­do­nians and ni-Van­u­atu were kid­napped to work in Queens­land on sugar and cot­ton plan­ta­tions. From Queens­land, some Pa­pua New Guineans went to Samoa and they brought back their brand of Tok Pisin to the Ger­man- owned plan­ta­tions in the is­lands and coastal ar­eas of PNG, says Homerang.

“It will be in­valu­able to govern­ment of­fi­cials work­ing in PNG, non-govern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion staff, re­searchers, busi­ness peo­ple, in­ter­ested in go­ing to PNG to work, and those who are in­ter­ested in PNG and the Pa­cific,” she says.

“It will also al­low peo­ple to keep up-to-date with Tok Pisin, which is al­ways evolv­ing.”

The first of four cour­ses starts next year and will in­clude on­line face-to-face ses­sions ev­ery week. ■

– KEVIN McQUIL­LAN

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