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Torres Strait English: Wikis


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Torres Strait English (better termed T.I. English) is a dialect of the English language spoken by the Islanders of various backgrounds (indigneous Torres Strait, Malay, Filipino, European, Japanese, etc.) born and raised on Thursday Island in Torres Strait, North Queensland, Australia. It is distinct from Torres Strait Creole, though quite a few locals can speak both the creole and English. Quite a few locals are also speakers of General Australia English.

Its main phonological characteristic is the retention of English i: and u: where Australian English has əi and əu (for example, wheel /wi:l/ vs /wəil/, fool /fu:l/ vs /fəul/), while where grammar and the like are concerned, Torres Strait English shows a certain amount of post-Creole characteristics, such as the phrase You for [adjective] (e.g. You for style!) for the English You look/are really [adjective] (You are a real show-off!, alt. You are real cool!), and the almost mandatory use of second personal pronouns in the imperative. Other characteristics of T.I. English follow general non-standard dialects of English such as the use of done for did, run for ran, come for came (i.e. a four-way verb system of present-past-infinitive--ing-form for all verbs). This a non-rhotic accent, like Australian and New Zealand dialects.

T.I. English is not a post-creole form, but rather an independent development from the English of the early European settlers, most of whom were from various parts of the world. Relatively few were native-born White Australians. The input dialects were British of various types, Irish, US, Jamaican, and others. Substratum languages include Malay, Japanese, Chinese (Cantonese?), Jamaican Creole, Samoan, and so on.



  • Shnukal, Anna (2001). "Torres Strait English". in David Blair and Peter Collins (eds.). English in Australia. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp. pp. 181–199. ISBN 90 272 4884 2 (Eur.) / ISBN 1 55619 729 2 (US).  

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