Monday, August 21, 2006

This would make a great movie...

Call me crazy, but I'd bet more people would choose a life of sexual excess* versus a life aboard an 18th century ship captained by a foul-tempered Brit. Case in point: Fletcher Christian and friends. After taking a liking to the local women, Fletch et al. mutinied against their captain, William Bligh, and took control of the ship, HMAV Bounty. After sailing around the South Pacific for a spell, marooning crew here, marrying natives there, the remaining nine mutineers, six Tahitian men, and eleven Tahitian women settled on Pitcairn.

Linguistically, a strange thing happens when you geographically isolate nine parts 18th century English with seventeen parts 18th century Tahitian--namely, Pitkern, a Creole language that today has fewer than 100 speakers worldwide. As Wikipedia notes:
Many expressions no longer current in English carry on in Pitkern. It includes words from British maritime culture in the age of sailing ships, for example. The influence of Seventh-day Adventist Church missionaries and the King James Version of the Bible are also notable.
*Unfortunately, the desire for sexual excess did not diminish over the course of generations as witnessed by the 2004 case brought against many of the mutineers' descendants by the British government.

Pitkern Phrase Book [Lareau Web Parlor]


:: posted by David, 4:53 PM


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