Interlanguage, Simplified English and Two-Word Structures

Kevin Ford


English is widely used as a Second Language. Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 1990s (during my residence) had a population of approximately 4 million people who used slightly more than 800 languages. Many PNG people, through exogamy, have both a mother and a father language; they use Tok Pisin (a major dialect of Neo-Melanesian Creole English) for everyday communication outside their neighbourhood group; and they use English officially and for schooling. They are expert multilinguals. India is a vast, multilingual country with 427 languages, with English used officially and for education, and it is geographically remote from PNG. Both peoples were found to simplify English in similar ways, as an aid to learning the language, specifically by these means:

- rule-generalization (disregarding exceptions)

- giving a regular semantic basis to the prepositions (in, into, for, on, etc.),

which have a basis in regularity with reference to location, direction and time,

 but are, overall, highly irregular in Standard English (SE)

- reducing the system of article determiners (the, a, zero) to the zero option

- exploiting the use of two-word verb+preposition and verb+noun combinations like play up, play down, and do banking, do repairs, make_progress.

This congruence implies systematic processes and a universal basis, suggesting that other learners could profit from this approach, with the further implication that this type of English is a true interlanguage.

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