English Today

Original Article

Pitkern and Norfolk revisited

Andrei A. Avram a1
a1 ANDREI A. AVRAM was born and educated in Bucharest, Romania. He studied English and Arabic at the University of Bucharest, where he has taught English linguistics since 1995 and is currently a Reader. In 2001, he was a visiting professor at Christian Albrecht University, in Kiel, Germany.


The English creole now known as ‘Pitkern-Norfolk’ is spoken as a community language only on the widely separated Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Scholars divide the pidgins and creoles of English into two broad types: Atlantic and Pacific. Logically, the creole that arose as a consequence of the mutiny on the Royal Navy's H.M.S Bounty in 1789 should straightforwardly belong in the Pacific group, but internal evidence indicates, paradoxically, that it is an Atlantic rather than a Pacific Creole.