Light Warlpiri


Light Warlpiri

Light Warlpiri is a mixed language of Australia, with indigenous Warlpiri (Ngarrkic), Kriol/Aboriginal Australian English (AAE), and Standard Australian English (SAE) as its source languages. It is spoken in the Lajamanu community by adults under the age of approximately 35 and by children as their first language (although all children eventually also gain fluency in Warlpiri and English).

Like other mixed languages Michif and Mednyj Aleut, Light Warlpiri takes its nominal and verbal systems from different source languages. Most nouns are from Warlpiri or SAE, and take Warlpiri case-marking, however most verbs and the verbal inflection/auxiliary structure is both borrowed and significantly reanalyzed from Kriol/AAE.

Light Warlpiri appears to have originated in the 1980s as a codification and expansion of the Warlpiri/English codeswitching patterns seen in members of the community over age 35. Within the community, it is perceived as a form of Warlpiri, although it is not always comprehensible to older speakers. Light Warlpiri was first systematically described by linguist Carmel O'Shannessy in 2005. Her research into codeswitching and Light Warlpiri is ongoing.

References

*O'Shannessy, C. (2005). "Light Warlpiri: a new language." "Australian Journal of Linguistics", 25:1.


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