10 Lexical Appropriation in a Wider (Post-)Colonial Context: Findings from Maori and Canadian First Nations Drama in:

Katja Lenz

Lexical Appropriation in Australian Aboriginal Literature, page 339 - 360

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-3964-9, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6743-7,

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
339 10 Lexical Appropriation in a Wider (Post-)Colonial Context: Findings from M ori and Canadian First Nations Drama In the preceding chapters, we have tried to discover which motives exist for Indigenous Australian authors to attempt an appropriation of the standard dialect in their works. While a large part of the lexical items discussed above confirm the hypothesis that the lexicon of AborE is characterised by the need to express concepts of one’s own in a language that lacks the necessary terminology to do so (e.g. kin terms such as cousin brother or appropriations that relate to the domain of cultural knowledge or practices or express Aboriginal peoples’ worldviews and ways of conceptualising experience), others are inspired by the desire to promote in-group solidarity (e.g. other kin terms such as brother, sister), achieve linguistic, social, and emotional proximity, and distinguish speakers of AborE from the mainstream society (e.g. words for body parts and for concepts associated with the contact experience). Others again show how the lexicon of AborE is influenced by pidgins, creoles, or earlier varieties of English spoken by the colonisers. All of these motives for lexical appropriation can be understood as a direct result of the Australian colonisation process, in the course of which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were forced to engage in contact with the British colonisers and were under pressure to trade their traditional languages for English. The newly formed colonial society demanded the coexistence of the original population and the British new arrivals, bringing together entirely different values, outlooks on and understandings of the world. Elsewhere, British colonisation has yielded very similar socio-cultural and psychological outcomes, and the introduction of the English language brought about comparable linguistic results. Thus, there existed and still exist numerous contexts that have produced a form of ‘culture clash’ and created an environment in which the ‘colonised’ feel the necessity to expand and adapt the colonial language to suit their own purposes, resulting in their taking possession of the colonisers’ language and turning it into a distinct new code. These developments are not restricted to former ‘settler colonies’ where the native population was displaced by the new colonial society and has become an ethnic minority, but may also apply to what Gilbert & Tompkins (1996: 6) term “‘occupation’ colonies”, i.e. to countries such as India, where the ongoing presence of a European colonial power, too, culminated in a shift in the existing social structures and power balances and the demotion of the local culture and language(s). Hence, we may expect to find that similar processes of linguistic appropriation are at work in other pieces of the body of literature commonly labelled ‘post-colonial’, drafted by writers who have to cope with the limits of a standard language which may not be sufficiently equipped to meet their re- 340 quirements. To provide tentative evidence for the assumption that lexical appropriation is an inevitable outcome of the clash of cultures and languages in contact settings, we shall investigate two more drama texts from the canon of English post-colonial literatures: Purapurawhet by New Zealand playwright Briar Grace-Smith and The Rez Sisters by the Canadian First Nations author Tomson Highway. The two complementing text analyses will give us the opportunity to explore whether also drama texts from other parts of the world reveal features that are comparable in their function to those outlined above and whether the conceptual categories established to account for lexical appropriation in the Australian context have wider applicability. Further, we will be able to determine which lexical tools are used to express culturally bound concepts in M ori English and First Nations English texts and compare them to the different types of appropriation that prevail in Aboriginal drama. The course of action will correspond to that previously taken, and the lexical analyses will once again be embedded in a brief description of the New Zealand and Canadian colonial history, the countries’ indigenous population, and the language situation. Still, we will refrain from a discussion as detailed as that in the above chapters: after a short introduction of the authors and their plays, the most important points gleaned from the lexical analyses will be specified, with a focus on the types of lexical appropriation strategy applied and the items’ underlying conceptual categories. 10.1Lexical Appropriation in M ori Drama Let us now turn our focus to New Zealand, a country which is not only geographically close to Australia but also shares an extended history with its north-western neighbour. 10.1.1 A Brief Colonial History of New Zealand There is still some debate about the time of the first human settlement in New Zealand but most evidence suggests that East Polynesian peoples, the ancestors of today’s M ori population, arrived on the islands around 1250-1300 AD. Here, they established permanent settlements and developed elaborate techniques of agriculture and storing food which would ensure their survival (Mein Smith 2005: 6f, 19). Pre-colonial M ori society was divided into iwi (tribal groups), made up of several hap (clans or descent groups) that comprised up to several hundred members. The hap were in turn made up of one or more wh nau (extended families). The two larger units, iwi and hap , often carried a reference to their founding ancestor in their name; other means of self-identification were references to the affiliation with a marae (an open 341 space or courtyard where people gather), maunga (a mountain), awa (a river), or waka (the ancestral canoe) (Taonui 2013). The term m ori, meaning ‘ordinary’ and describing the local people, was not used before the arrival of Europeans and only entered general use in the 1860s (Mein Smith 2005: 16). Four centuries passed until the next visitors came to the islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean: the first confirmed European sighting of New Zealand was on 13 December 1642 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman laid eyes on the hitherto unknown territory while he sailed the South Pacific in search of a vast southern continent which was believed to exist in the area. After a violent confrontation with M ori in Golden Bay, Tasman decided against going ashore, and it took more than 120 years for the next European ship to call at Aotearoa. On 8 October 1769, James Cook landed at Poverty Bay (Wilson 2014). Other visitors of these early years were whalers and sealers and New Zealand became connected with a Pacific-wide trade system (Wilson 2015). After the arrival of the British, M ori society underwent changes as the colonisers began to drive the M ori people off their land, and inter-tribal conflicts accelerated through the trading of goods for muskets (Wilson 2015). M ori people suffered from introduced diseases, malnutrition, and poverty, and the population of about 100,000 estimated for the late 18th century had been more than halved to 42,000 by 1896. Like Aboriginal people in Australia, M ori people were expected to die out eventually before their numbers began to increase again in the early 20th century. From the mid-20th century, M ori tribal structures were further weakened by migration to the cities (Pool me Kukutai 2014). This movement to the urban areas boosted inter-cultural contact between M ori and P keh (non- Indigenous New Zealanders) while at the same time, M ori people from different groups and geographical regions formed a new urban M ori community (Mein Smith 2005: 186). The increase in the city-dwelling M ori population (77 per cent in 1976) further triggered a changed race relations policy and assimilation efforts were replaced by integration (Mein Smith 2005: 186). In the last decades of the 20th century, New Zealand experienced a M ori renaissance, resulting in new definitions of M oridom and M ori identity, a heightened desire to obtain more political control, as well as in attempts to strengthen the M ori language (Taonui 2014) In the 2013 Census, 598,602 people or 14.9 percent of New Zealanders identified as M ori (Statistics New Zealand 2013a). 10.1.2 Te Reo M ori and M ori English Contrary to the diverse linguistic situation in Australia, New Zealand has a single Indigenous language, and although te reo M ori – the M ori language – 342 shows some degree of regional variation, speakers from different parts of the country have no difficulty in understanding each other (Harlow 2005: 61). Three major dialects of M ori can be distinguished, viz. eastern North Island, western North Island, and South Island (Higgins & Keane 2015). The description of M ori, which is closely related to the languages of Eastern Polynesia (Benton 1996: 167) and probably the best researched Polynesian language, started early with wordlists compiled by explorers and missionaries. First scholarly analyses appeared in the 1960s (Harlow 2005: 60). Early colonists and missionaries made an attempt to learn M ori, but the continuing increase in the colonial population and resulting power shift made it necessary for the local people to adopt the colonisers’ language in order to participate in the New Zealand society (Boyce 2005: 88). Compulsory schooling for M ori children began in the 1890s, accelerating the transition to English. The most massive shift to English, however, took place when M ori men went overseas to fight in the 20th century wars and many M ori people migrated to cities and towns where the government’s ‘pepper-potting’ policy prevented the development of exclusively M ori neighbourhoods (Benton 1996: 167). In the second half of the 20th century, however, students became increasingly aware of issues such as land rights and language maintenance, and universities began to teach M ori studies courses. In the 1970s, the first New Zealand high schools included te reo M ori in their curriculum. One decade later, so-called ‘language-learning nests’, k hanga reo, began to operate and M ori-language schools were established. In addition to incentives such as M ori-language immersion teaching, the M ori Language Commission Te Taura Whiri i te Reo was founded in 1987, and a national network of M ori radio stations and M ori Television was established in 2004 (Higgins & Keane 2015). Te reo M ori has left an unmistakable imprint on the lexicon of New Zealand English (hereafter also ‘NZE’) which has extensively borrowed from it. The colonisers’ language has thus become a site of lexical survival as M ori vocabulary is incorporated into an English matrix. As Bellet (1995: 74) argues, the lexical items which P keh New Zealanders are familiar with today are not restricted to single emblematic tokens but make up a “lexicon that reflects a much deeper understanding and acceptance of M ori society”. While most of the borrowings found in NZE denote concepts particular to M ori culture, some items, such as whare ‘hut’, mana ‘reputation’, ‘prestige’, kai ‘food’, puku ‘stomach’ are also used in European contexts (Deverson 1991: 19). An even greater portion of te reo survives in the English spoken by M ori people, many of whom incorporate a considerable amount of their traditional language in their variety of English. Today, 21.3 percent or 125,352 of those who identify as M ori are also speakers of te reo, but most speakers are 65 years or older (Statistics New Zealand 2013b). While the M ori language must thus be seen as 343 endangered, it enjoys a high status as a symbol of M ori culture and identity. This pride in and concern for the language is also reflected in the tendency of many speakers to embed M ori words into English discourse (Harlow 2005: 61f). For a long time, researchers have been unable to find conclusive proof for the existence of a distinct M ori dialect of NZE, despite widely held beliefs that some M ori people speak a variety of NZE which is distinguishable from that of other New Zealanders. In the 1990s, these assumptions were confirmed when studies comparing the speech of M ori and P keh New Zealanders finally provided evidence that the English of the two groups differed in systematic ways (Bell 2000: 221f). Still, while many of the features which have been identified as markers of ME are more common in the speech of M ori people, it is not possible to draw a clear-cut line between M ori and P keh varieties of NZE. Rather, “differences between varieties tend to be relative rather than absolute” (Bell 2000: 222). In fact, many features of M ori English (henceforth also ‘ME’) are also shared with the variety of New Zealand English spoken by P keh people, but occur in higher frequencies in the former (Maclagan et al. 2008: 660). Also, it needs to be acknowledged that not all M ori speakers use ME, while at the same time many ME features may also be found in the speech of P keh New Zealanders, especially those who maintain close relationships with M ori people. Some characteristics formerly perceived as typical of ME have now spread into mainstream NZE. Generally, the degree to which ME features are employed may depend on factors such as the speech situation, the participants, and the need to signal ethnic identity (Stubbe & Holmes 2000: 260). In other contexts, the features may be used as a tool to signal solidarity (Maclagan et al. 2008: 661) or to create a feeling of unity and family relationship (King 1999). Stubbe & Holmes (2000: 251) suggest that most of the distinguishing characteristics of ME go back to transfer from te reo M ori or reflect cultural differences in discourse norms. They can be found in various domains of the language, the most obvious features, however, are found on the level of the lexicon. Speakers of ME tend to use a much greater number of M ori words than P keh New Zealanders and do so more frequently (Stubbe & Holmes 2000: 251). In addition, English lexemes may exhibit meanings not found in NZE, e.g. the use of Nanny to refer to any older person, male or female. Not unlike AborE kin terms for older people, Nanny conveys respect and affection for the person designated (Holmes & Bell 1996: 179). Other English-derived lexical features of ME include address forms such as yous as well as the use of nicknames, pet names, and kin terms such as mate, bro, sis, cuz, aunty, uncle (Stubbe & Holmes 2000: 256). Some speakers of ME may make use of more extended code-switching to emphasise a shared ethnic background and signal their pride in the ancestral language (Stubbe & Holmes 2000: 255). 344 It appears that ME is gradually achieving greater prominence in the linguistic landscape of New Zealand. Maclagan et al. (2008: 658) go so far as to suggest that it is “the fastest growing of the main varieties of New Zealand English” which is now also frequently heard in mainstream media (Maclagan et al. 2008: 661). Some commentators have in fact pointed out the media’s role in the maintenance and diffusion of the M ori language as early as 1991: This new importation of Maori is seen in particular in the media, in articles and reports and statements on Maori issues; and also in the rapidly growing field of New Zealand literature by Maori authors (Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace are among the better known). In Maori fiction the potential for nonce-borrowing is limitless, and many texts take on a mixed, bilingual character as not merely words but phrases and whole sentences of Maori are incorporated in the writing. Here it becomes difficult to say how much counts as English and how much remains Maori (Deverson 1991: 20). The validity of Deverson’s statement is confirmed by Gilbert & Tompkins (1996: 170) who assert that the increasing use of traditional language is one of the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary M ori drama and go on to explain that te reo functions on New Zealand stages as part of a cultural heritage and, simultaneously, as a living language, a medium through which contemporary indigenous characters express solidarity, reclaim the past, and establish a linguistic location that is closed to non-speakers (Gilbert & Tompkins 1996: 171). In the following, we shall investigate how features of te reo M ori and ME are used in the work of New Zealand playwright Briar Grace-Smith. 10.1.3 Briar Grace-Smith: Purapurawhet (1997/1999) First M ori voices in New Zealand drama were heard in the 1950s and 1960s, but it was not until the late 1980s that a more substantial body of plays by M ori playwrights began to develop (Maufort 2003: 205). According to New Zealand playwright Hone Kouka, M ori theatre reached its zenith in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Kouka 2007: 237), and one of the emerging writers who brought M ori theatre to the fore in the last decade of the 20th century is Briar Grace-Smith, born in 1966 of Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai and Scottish descent (O’Donnell 2007: 269). In 1997, Grace-Smith’s play Purapurawhet , seen by Kouka as “probably the best M ori play ever written” (Kouka 2007: 245), won the Chapman Tripp Award for Outstanding New Play (O’Donnell and Grace- Smith 2007: 269). In the preface to the written text, the author explains that the idea for her play came up while she was helping to prepare tukutuku panels, i.e. ornamental lattice work, for the opening of a meeting house. She began to think about the stories that are interwoven in the tukutuku’s patterns and set out to write the play Purapurawhet (O’Donnell and Grace-Smith 2007: 276). The play’s 345 title refers to a weaving pattern that is based on stellar constellations believed to represent the spirits of the ancestors. Once again, we are dealing with a play in which storytelling is a major element: in Purapurawhet , the narration revolves around the story told by the weaving pattern and an old woman’s h k , a revelation that she needs to make before her death in order to find peace. The weaver of the panel is a young man named Tyler, who came into the small coastal community of Te Kupenga as an adopted child. Despite not being a blood relation to anyone in the community, he is chosen to preserve the history of his hap (i.e. his community, his ‘tribe’) by creating the tukutuku. Tyler has established an intimate friendship with Koro [‘grandfather’, K.L.] Hohepa, the hap ’s leader, who used to be a skilled weaver in his time. Haunted by inner demons, the old man appears to have lost his mind and his power-hungry but incompetent son Matawera is more than willing to become the new rangatira. While working on the tukutuku, Tyler makes the acquaintance of the old blind woman Kui who later on is revealed to be Hohepa’s estranged wife Aggie Rose. Kui has come to Te Kupenga to disclose the secret which has turned the formerly thriving village into a sad and lonely place and destroyed the proud Hohepa. The text does not include a separate glossary and while longer stretches of code-switching in the form of longer phrases and sentences are translated in footnotes, single-word insertions and shorter multi-word insertions remain unglossed. Rarely, cushioning serves to provide an explanation of the meaning of a lexical item: TYLER: In the direction of the urup . RAMARI: Urup ? TYLER: Cemetery! RAMARI: Urup cemetery. Urup cemetery. (Grace-Smith 1999: 30.) Elsewhere, the context helps readers to interpret the meaning of the M ori words inserted in the dialogue: RAMARI: In fifty years time, my mokopuna [‘grandchildren’, K.L.] could be sitting in the wharenui [‘meeting house’, K.L.] underneath this panel. They’ll be admiring it and touching it and saying things like, ‘Our kuia [here, ‘grandmother’, K.L.], Ramari, made this panel. See how stunning her stitches are? She was extremely talented.’ (Grace-Smith 1999: 30.) Still, the larger part of the lexical appropriations included in the text are unaccompanied by any tools that aid comprehension. While more than half of the single-word insertions found in the text are also listed in the online edition of the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary, underlining their role as integral parts of the NZE lexicon, the meanings of the terms remain opaque for those unacquainted with the M ori language, especially for readers or audiences from outside New Zealand. None of the M ori language is set in italics or stands out from the remainder of the text in any other way. 346 Considering the number and nature of the lexical appropriations that occur in the text, Grace-Smith’s play is best compared to Jack Davis’ The Dreamers. All in all, there are more than 150 elements which can fairly certainly be considered as lexical features of ME and were thus counted as lexical appropriations. Like Davis’ texts, Purapurawhet contains a vast amount of non- English vocabulary and also includes numerous instances of multi-word insertion, some of which have considerable length. In an interview, Grace-Smith explained that she developed the M ori parts with her father in law who learned M ori as his first language (O’Donnell and Grace-Smith 2007: 278). In addition to the multi-word insertions, the text comprises numerous single M ori terms and a few hybrid elements. English words which show a meaning or usage that differ from StE (thus qualifying them as instances of lexical appropriation) are rare, but we find a few kinship terms such as auntie(s) and uncle which are used as respectful modes of address to older persons. The item cuz once again occurs as an address term for a person of the same generation. An interesting result of the analysis of Grace-Smith’s play is that it also features several M ori words which describe kinship relations, such as koroua ‘elderly man’, ‘elder’, ‘grandfather’, ‘granduncle’, wh nau ‘extended family’, ‘family group’, whanaunga ‘relative’, ‘relation’, ‘kin’, ‘blood relation’, wh ngai ‘foster child’, ‘adopted child’, i.e. concepts exclusively expressed by means of English lexemes in the Australian texts. Other English terms that have an obvious non-standard meaning are black, here used in the sense of ‘M ori’, and born again, a term which is used for a person who has recently ‘(re)-discovered’ his or her M ori heritage which he or she may not have acknowledged in more prejudiced times (Taonui 2013). In addition, we can observe the repeated use of eh as a rhetoric device inviting the addressee’s consent. Political developments current at the time of writing the play are touched upon by making reference to the New Zealand First party and its former MP, Tau Henare. The only two allusions to M ori culture expressed through English words are (meeting) house, which is used interchangeably with the M ori term wharenui, and cleansing, describing the process of sprinkling water to achieve a form of spiritual cleaning. The strong focus on M ori culture which prevails in Grace-Smith’s text is enforced by the many single-word insertions which relate to this conceptual field. Unless indicated otherwise, all following definitions and glosses are taken from the Te Aka Online M ori Dictionary (Moorfield 2003-2015); some are rendered in abbreviated form. Examples of lexical appropriations relating to M ori culture include • the names of buildings or other features of the p ‘village’, such as k uta ‘cooking shed, kitchen, cookhouse’, wharekai ‘dining hall’, wharenui ‘meeting house’, urup ‘burial ground, cemetery, graveyard’, 347 • features of social organisation, e.g. iwi ‘extended kinship group, tribe, nation’, Ng ti T ora, name of a tribal group, rangatira ‘chief (male or female)’, • concepts related to ceremonial proceedings, e.g. karanga ‘ceremonial call of welcome to visitors onto a marae [i.e. the open area in front of the meeting house, where formal greetings and discussions take place, K.L.], or equivalent venue, at the start of a p whiri’, paepae ‘orator's bench’, waiata ‘song, ‘chant, psalm’, Whaik rero ‘oratory, oration, formal speech-making, address, speech – formal speeches usually made by men during a p whiri and other gatherings’, • M ori heritage and genealogy, e.g. t puna ‘ancestors’, ‘grandparents’, whakapapa ‘genealogy’, ‘lineage’, ‘descent’, • M ori material culture, e.g. kete ‘basket’, ‘kit’, pounamu ‘greenstone’, ‘nephrite’, ‘jade’, tekoteko ‘carved figure on the gable of a meeting house’, ‘figurehead (of a canoe)’, tokotoko ‘walking stick’, ‘pole’, ‘staff’, ‘cane’, ‘crutch’, tukutuku ‘ornamental lattice-work – used particularly between carvings around the walls of meeting houses’, • various references to immaterial culture and cultural practices, e.g. hongi ‘(to) press noses in greeting’, kai tangata ‘man-eater’, mana ‘prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object’, mauri ‘life principle, vital essence, special nature, a material symbol of a life principle, source of emotions – the essential quality and vitality of a being or entity’, h k ‘dying speech, parting wish, last words, deathbed speech’, oriori ‘lullaby, song composed on the birth of a chiefly child about his/her ancestry and tribal history’, taonga ‘treasure, anything prized – applied to anything considered to be of value including socially or culturally valuable objects, resources, phenomena, ideas and techniques’, utu ‘revenge, cost, price, reciprocity’, wairua ‘spirit, soul – spirit of a person which exists beyond death’. Apart from the items listed above, we find frequent references to the names of atuas, ancestors with continuing influence over particular domains, and to the names of stars or other celestial bodies. Several M ori words denote forms of human relationships. As in the Australian drama texts, we find terms of address for older people, such as Koro ‘elderly man’, ‘grandfather’, ‘grandad, grandpa’ and Kui ‘grandma’, ‘old woman, elderly woman’. Grace-Smith’s characters also employ more general modes of greeting, e.g. kia ora and t na koe ‘hello’, as well as the particle e which is used before address terms, as in the combinations e hine, wherein hine can be glossed as ‘girl, daughter – term of address to a girl or younger woman’, or e p , the latter being a term of address to an older male or superior. Another point to note is that the text also includes English personal names 348 which have entered te reo M ori as loans, e.g. Hohepa ‘Joseph’ and Hamiora ‘Samuel’. Further similarities to the Australian plays can be detected in the use of lexical items which describe • local flora and fauna, e.g. kauri ‘kauri, Agathis australis’, a large forest tree, kawau ‘cormorant’, ‘shag’, m nuka ‘tea-tree’, p ua ‘abalone, sea ear’, t tara ‘Podocarpus totara, Podocarpus cunninghamii, large forest trees with prickly, olive-green leaves’, wheke ‘octopus’, ‘squid’, • body parts or intimate aspects of life, e.g. hap ‘pregnant’, nono(s) ‘anus’, ‘backside’, ‘bum’, ‘butt’, puku ‘stomach’, ‘abdomen’, ‘centre’, ‘belly’, ‘tummy’, • feelings, states of being, and forms of behaviour, e.g. p rangi ‘be insane, mad, crazy, mentally ill, deranged, beside oneself’, t hae ‘thief’, ‘cheat’, ‘robber’, ‘crook’, teka ‘falsehood’, ‘lie’, ‘bullshit’, whakah h ‘(to) be vain, conceited, arrogant, smug’. We further find the interjections au ‘oh dear!’ and (e) hika ‘good heavens!’, • the domain of the contact experience, e.g. kai ‘food’, ‘meal’, M ori ‘Indigenous person’, ‘native’, ‘normal’, ‘usual’, ‘natural’, ‘common’, P keh ‘New Zealander of European descent’, Tarar ‘Dalmatian’. Lastly, a number of single-word insertions should be seen as examples of language maintenance, since, bluntly speaking, they do not fit into any of the conceptual categories established. Among them are interjections such as e ‘yes’, taihoa ‘wait’, ‘don't ... yet’, nouns for every day concepts such as whare ‘house’, ‘building’, ‘residence’, ‘dwelling’, ‘shed’, ‘hut’, ‘habitation’, but also the place name Te Kupenga which translates as ‘The Net’. Most hybrid elements occurring in the text involve M ori elements that are also found in the form of single-word insertions, e.g. puku down ‘belly down’ and puku up ‘belly up’, terms describing a weaving technique, and tukutuku panel. Like marae meeting and marae opening, they reflect the strong presence of the conceptual field of M ori culture in the play. The domain of nature and environment is reinforced by terms such as p ua fritters, rata flower, and karaka tree. Other hybrid compounds again call to mind the coexistence of the M ori and settler community within New Zealand society, e.g. P keh fulla, used in a way comparable to that of whitefella in the Australian texts, and M ori Queen. The expression M ori time ‘late’, commonly used by P keh in a derogative manner, once more shows how indigenous people attempt to deride racist mainstream discourse through irony. Another humorous usage of a lexical appropriation is the designation of Matawera as the comic book style villain Super Teko, from tekoteko ‘carved figure on the gable of a meeting house’. 349 Almost a quarter of the lexical appropriations recorded in Purapurawhet are instances of multi-word insertion of varying length, ranging from short phrases such as Ko wai ia? ‘Who is he?’ or Ka kite e Kui, a form of farewell, to short monologues spanning several lines. While the monologues are exclusively uttered by Hohepa, all characters include longer stretches of M ori in their speech. Most of Hohepa’s monologues are directed at or speak of atuas, stars, planets, or other celestial bodies, e.g. Tama Nui te R , personification and sacred name of the sun: Au Tama Nui te R . Aroha mai ki ahau. Tukua iho u ihi kaha kia mutu ai te mamae o t ku ng kau. Whakamahanatia t ku tinana. Kei te m katikati ku kamo. Whakamutua! Kia kitea ai te mea e kimihia nei. Homai te kaha, te m ia hoki, kia taea i e au. Au Tama Nui te R . Take pity on me. Let your warmth fill me, your rays take this pain from my heart. Take the salt sting from my eyes and let me see clearly what I search for. Give me the strength and the courage to complete what I need to do. (Grace-Smith 1999: 44f, translation provided in footnote to the text.) They involve a spiritual element and can therefore be seen as expressions of cultural continuity; one is an oriori, a lullaby. Another two multiword insertions are exclamations of distress and expressions of the speaker’s feelings; the remaining longer passages of M ori could not be assigned to a particular conceptual category. While translations are provided for longer passages of M ori in the text, this does not necessarily mean that all of the elements are translated into English, e.g. the sentence E hine, kaua koe e mahara is rendered as E hine, don't you worry in the glossary. This indicates that the author either could not provide an adequate translation of the element e (because a direct transfer into English is not possible or would mean that part of the meaning is lost) or that she expects readers to be familiar with the term. Since more than half of the singleword insertions included in the text are listed as part of the NZE lexicon in the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary, we can assume that a much higher portion of the M ori language elements have at least some degree of currency in NZE than Aboriginal language words have in AusE. 10.2Lexical Appropriation in Canadian First Nations Drama Our second analysis of a text written by a non-Australian playwright takes us to the American continent, more precisely, to present-day Canada. Despite the large geographic distance and even though we can detect a number of differences to the Pacific situation, many aspects of Canadian colonial history reflect that of Australia and New Zealand. 350 10.2.1 A Brief Colonial History of Canada Once again, the great time depth makes it difficult to determine with certainty when North America was first settled. Dickason (2006: 1) says: “From physical and linguistic evidence, we know that humans were present in the Americas at least by 17,000 BP (‘before present’)51 and perhaps by 50,000 BP or even earlier”. At the same time, Francis et al. (2010: 4) state: “By the ‘conservative’ criteria, there are four Canadian sites [...] that confirm the presence of humans in Canada at least 10 000 years ago”. At the time of first known contact between the Indigenous population of North America52 and Europeans, more precisely, between the people of the eastern Arctic and the Norse, the inhabitants of what was later to become Canada mainly depended on hunting and collecting food for sustenance, gradually developing techniques of food cultivation (Dickason 2006: 1ff, 21f). At that time, the Indigenous population of North America lived in six different culture areas, viz. Northwest Coast, Plateau, Plains, Subarctic, Arctic, and Northeastern Woodlands, none of which was confined to the territory of modern Canada (McMillan & Yellowhorn 2009: 9). Today, Canada’s Indigenous peoples comprise First Nations, the Inuit of the Arctic regions as well as the Métis, descendants of Europeans and First Nations people. After a period of casual contacts between Native Peoples and European explorers, whalers, and fishermen and a few short-lived attempts at settlement (Dickason 2006: 21ff), the French were the first to establish permanent colonies on Canadian soil in the early years of the 17th century (Dickason 2006: 40). At around the same time, England founded its first North American colonies and in the late 1680s, the interests of the two colonial powers inevitably clashed when English colonisation, exploration, and trading activities pushed forward. North America became the site of a series of conflicts between New France and the English colonies (Francis et al. 2010: 75) in which the latter were to finally win the upper hand. From the beginning, First Nations became involved in the struggles as French and English attempted to form alliances with individual groups. Yet, these were not their only battle grounds: with the arrival of the colonisers and their new weapons, inter-tribal wars increased in 51 The scientific calendar based on radicarbon dating uses the year 1950 as the pivotal point (Dickason 2006: xii). 52 Canada’s Indigenous peoples comprise First Nations, the Inuit of the Arctic regions as well as the Métis, descendants of Europeans and First Nations people. In the relevant literature, these three groups are often referred to as ‘Aboriginal’ Canadians. To avoid confusion with the Aboriginal population of Australia, we shall resort to the terms ‘Indigenous’ and ‘Native’ to denote First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. This section generally focuses on the history of contact between Europeans and First Nations people. However, unless otherwise indicated, the terms ‘Indigenous’ and ‘Native’ include all three groups. 351 gravity and the intrusion into First Nations land caused conflicts between colonisers and Indigenous inhabitants (Dickason 2006: 47ff, 80ff). For the purpose of this chapter, suffice it to say that the developments of the next one and a half centuries follow the well-known pattern of colonisation, that is, the Indigenous population of Canada had to face a rising influx of colonists and the increased economic exploitation of the country’s resources. The rising demand for land was satisfied by gradually driving First Nations off their traditional territories and establishing Indian Reserves (Dickason 2006: 103ff). As elsewhere in the history of European colonisation, the loss of land and resources, the spread of introduced substances such as alcohol, and introduced diseases reduced the Native Peoples of the settled areas dramatically (Dickason 2006: 49), and the Native population of Canada, severely reduced in number by the early 19th century, was assumed to die out as a distinct people. Those who would not disappear were to be assimilated into the mainstream society (Dickason 2006: 136). Education, especially in the shape of residential schools, became a major tool for assimilation and the destruction of Indigenous languages and culture (Dickason 2006: 211f, 227). During the entire colonisation process, Aboriginal Canadians had time and again voiced their resentment against British attempts to displace them from their land as well as against the treatment they received from the part of the colonisers. However, the first significant steps towards a change in intercultural relationships in Canada did not occur until the middle of the 20th century when the civil rights and Indigenous rights movements in the U.S. and in other former colonies also encouraged the rise of political activism in Canada. First Nations demands for civil rights, political recognition, and moderation of governmental control were supported by an increasingly sympathetic Canadian public (Francis et al. 2010: 494ff). Political debates of the 1980s and 1990s centred on Indigenous rights and self-government (Francis et al. 2010: 497ff). In 1982, the Métis finally achieved official recognition as an Indigenous people (Francis et al. 2010: 507) and 1999 saw the creation of the territory of Nunavut, a self-governing territory administered in cooperation with the Inuit (Dickason 2006: 255f). In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 1,400,685 Canadians, that is 4.3% of the total Canadian population, reported an Indigenous identity. The majority of Indigenous Canadians are First Nations persons: 851,560 people, that is, 60.8% of the total Indigenous population and 2.6% of the total Canadian population, identified as First Nations while 451,795 persons or 32.3% of the total Aboriginal population identified as Métis. Another 59,445 people identified as Inuit; this number corresponds to 4.2% of the Indigenous population of Canada. In 2011, the majority of Native Canadians lived in Ontario and the western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Colum- 352 bia); in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, Indigenous people actually outnumbered the non-Indigenous population (Statistics Canada 2014a) 10.2.2 The Language Situation in Canada The Canadian situation resembles the Australian context in so far as prior to colonisation, the country was inhabited by different Indigenous groups who spoke a variety of languages and dialects pertaining to different language families. The colonists, too, were speakers of different languages, viz. English and French, and the influence of the latter has given rise to Michif, spoken by the descendants of French Canadian fur traders and Cree people in the Métis communities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Bakker 1997: 3). Apart from Michif, around 50 Indigenous languages are still in use in Canada today. These belong to eleven different language families or are linguistic isolates. Algonquin, Athapaskan, and Inuktitut are the largest language families, and in the early 21st century, 93% of the languages that continue to be transmitted as first languages belonged to one of these families. The greatest linguistic variety is found in British Columbia where approximately half of the Indigenous languages of Canada are spoken. Most of these, though, only have a small number of usually older speakers and thus need to be considered endangered (Ball & Bernhardt 2008: 571). In the 2011 National Household Survey, 240,815 people, that is, 17.2% of those who identified as Native Canadians claimed that they were able to hold a conversation in an Indigenous language (Statistics Canada 2014b). In the 2011 Census, the majority of those who reported to speak an Indigenous mother tongue (a total of 213,490 persons) were speakers of Cree, Inuktitut, or Ojibway. Other languages reported as mother-tongue by more than 10,000 people were Dene, Innu/Montagnais, and Oji-Cree (Statistics Canada 2014c). Of those who self-identified as First Nations person, 22.4% responded that they could converse in an Indigenous language. The majority languages, English or French, were spoken by 99.2% of the Indigenous population (Statistics Canada 2014b) As in other (post-) colonial varieties of English, First Nations and Inuit languages of Canada have left traces in the lexicon of Canadian English (henceforth also ‘CanE’). Again, we find that terms for flora and fauna as well as words from related domains prevail. Still, these apparently only have restricted currency in the lexicon of CanE. Boberg (2010: 113f) maintains: While the Aboriginal component of CanE is highly distinctive, […] most words of Aboriginal origin other than place names denote objects or concepts explicitly connected with the natural world or with Aboriginal culture and are not therefore part of the daily vocabulary of most Canadians. 353 Apart from the lexical influence of Canadian languages on the mainstream dialect, we find tentative evidence for the existence of Aboriginal varieties of CanE, though little work has been conducted in this area and only a few years ago, Ball & Bernhardt (2008: 571) argued that “to date there has been virtually no research on First Nations English dialects in Canada”. A few individual scholars and educators have set out to investigate the characteristics of different First Nations English dialects, especially in the speech of children. Unluckily, the studies do not provide any information about the lexicon of First Nations dialects of English. 10.2.3 Tomson Highway: The Rez Sisters (1986/1988) Contemporary Native Canadian theatre is commonly described as having begun in earnest in the 1970s, with a few forerunners in earlier decades. Still, the work of the 1970s and early 1980s did not receive much attention, and Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters (1986/1988) and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (1989) were the first plays by an Indigenous playwright that attracted a larger audience and sparked a heightened interest in Native drama in Canada (Schäfer 2013: 24). While its short flourishing phase ended in the mid- 1990s, Native Canadian theatre continues to develop until today (Schäfer 2013: 19). Tomson Highway was born in 1951 in Maria Lake, northern Manitoba, as the 11th of twelve children of Cree champion dogsled racer Joe Highway and his wife Pelage Philomene Highway. Like his siblings, Highway learned Cree as his first language as he spent his early years with his family, moving around along his father’s trap lines. The author did not come into contact with English until he was sent to a Catholic boarding school at the age of six (Highway 1988: vi-vii). The Rez Sisters, partly modelled after Tremblay’s Les Belles-Soeurs (1968) (Gilbert 2001: 391), narrates the story of seven women who live on the fictional Wasaychiagan Hill Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. They all maintain close family connections: six of the women are sisters, half-sisters, or sisters-in-law; the seventh female character is the adopted daughter of one of the women. The women’s daily routine is depicted in a grim manner; their lives are defined by alcoholism, spousal abuse, and disputes over men. Despite their permanent quarrels and the tense relationships between individual characters, the group of seven decides to raise money to attend THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD (always spelt in capital letters in the text) in Toronto together. During their preparations and eventual journey to Toronto, they reveal their dreams, fears, and secrets. The only other character in the play, and also the only male one, is the Nanabush, a shape-shifting trickster figure who variously appears as a seagull, a nighthawk, and the Bingo Master. The 354 narration has a cyclical character: the bingo does not merit the desired large win and at the end of the play, most characters find themselves in the same situation they were in at the beginning of the story; only the death of the cancer-ridden Marie-Adele has changed things on the reserve. The First Nations languages used in the text are Cree and the closely related Ojibway, reflecting the mix of Cree and Ojibway residents at Wasaychigan Hill (Highway 1988: xi). Both languages belong to the Algonquian language family and comprise a chain of dialects spoken over a vast area which stretches from Quebec to northern Alberta (Frawley 2003: 66f). In the text, the Cree and Ojibway passages are translated in footnotes at the end of which the source language is specified. The only exception is neee ‘oh you’, which remains unglossed when standing on its own. The lack of information on the lexicon of First Nations dialects of English makes it difficult to determine which elements except for the obvious, that is, single-word insertions or longer passages of Cree or Ojibway, constitute salient characteristics of the dialect portrayed by Highway and can therefore be seen as instances of lexical appropriation. Thus, as in the analysis of Purapurawhet , we shall limit our attention to those English lexical elements which show a meaning or usage that differs from StE or make reference to First Nations people, language, and culture, as well as to political and social organisation and related domains, that is, to concepts which parallel the lexical appropriations discussed in the previous analyses. The Rez Sisters is somewhat exceptional in its language use when compared to our Australian corpus: while it only contains a moderate amount of traditional language – we find 16 instances of lexical appropriation involving Cree/Ojibway elements – the larger part of these are actually multi-word insertions. Of the seven single-word insertions featuring in the text, two make reference to First Nations culture by evoking the Nanabush and the Windigo. The use of the word Nishnawbs, glossed as ‘Indians’, once more exemplifies how Indigenous people distinguish themselves from the mainstream society by means of a traditional language word. The term is used alongside the English Indians, which occurs in nominal and adjectival application. English terms also occur in other contexts in which a First Nations person is described, viz. in order to designate a member of the First Nations group Yellowknife and to disapprove of the Apple Indian Annie who dreams of a live with the white singer Fritz the Katz. For the remaining single-word insertions, none of the previously established conceptual categories seem to apply, but a symbolic meaning is inherent in the use of the reservation’s name Wasaychigan which translates as ‘window’, an opening that allows spectators to get a glimpse of the life on a Rez. The personal name Zhaboonigan ‘needle’, too, is heavy with symbolism, given to a mentally challenged girl who was raped with a screwdriver by two white boys. The family name Dictionary, a corruption of the 355 original Dadzinanare, is as colourful as many of the other personal names occurring in Highway’s text, e.g. June Bug McLeod, Little Girl Manitowabi, Marie- Adele Starblanket, Pelajia Patchnose, and Philomena Moosetail. Familiar features are once again found in the interjections eh and innit and in references to the old language and the old stories. First Nation communities’ political organisation is alluded to by the terms Band Council and chief, both of which, however, are CanE terms. In one scene, Emily Dictionary addresses Zhaboonanigan, one of the two only characters with whom she does not maintain blood relations, as sister. This lexical symbol of female solidarity is also mirrored in the play’s title The Rez Sisters which is ambiguous in its scope of referents. While most of the female characters are actually sisters, half-sisters, or sisters-in-law and they all share the same cultural and ethnic background, The Rez Sisters was also the name of Emily Dictionary’s allfemale, all-Indian biker gang in San Francisco. None of the multi-word insertions in Highway’s text relate directly to First Nations culture. Instead, several show how the use of Cree or Ojibway serves the articulation of emotionally loaded content, as in the examples Adele, ki-sa-gee-ee-tin oo-ma ‘Adele, I love you’ and Pelajia, een-pay-seek-see-yan ‘Pelajia, I'm scared to death’, or to express reprimands, as in Shkanah, Zhaboonigan, sbama-bah… ‘Shush, Zhaboonigan, don't say that’. Two multi-word insertions, both of which occur in conversations between Marie-Adele and the Nanabush, have considerable length. They further exhibit code-switching to English and back which provides English-speaking audiences with just enough information to grasp the crucial points of the utterance: U-wi-nuk u-wa? U-wi-nuk u-wa? Eugene? Neee. U-wi-nuk ma-a oo-ma keetha? Ka. Kee-tha i-chi-goo-ma so that's who you are … at rest upon the rock … the master of the game … the game … nee-tha … me … come … come … don't be afraid … as-tum … come … to … me … ever soft wings … beautiful soft … soft ... dark wings ... here ... take me ... as-tum ... as-tum ... pee-na-sin ... wings here ... take me ... take ... me ... with ... pee-na-sin. Who are you? Who are you? Eugene? Neee. Then who are you really? Oh. It's you, so that's who you are…at rest upon the rock … the master of the game … the game … it's me … me … come … come … don't be afraid … come … come … to … me … ever soft wings … beautiful soft … soft ... dark wings ... here ... take me ... come ... come ... come and get me ... wings here ... take me ... take ... me ... with ... come and get me. (Highway 1988: 104) Note that, even in the gloss, the element neee ‘oh you’ remains untranslated, so that only those familiar with the item can appreciate its meaning. On one occasion, Highway uses cushioning to explain the symbolism of the name Zhaboonigan: Everybody calls me Zhaboonigan. Why? It means needle. Zhaboonigan. Going-through-thing. Needle Peterson. Going-through-thing Peterson. That’s me. 356 (Highway 1988: 48) Only one of traditional language elements found in the play, viz. Windigo, is also listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. This and the occurrence of multi-word insertions suggest that even Canadian audiences have little chance of understanding the non-English parts without a glossary. 10.3Lexical Appropriation in M ori and First Nations Drama While an analysis of a mere two additional texts is by no means sufficient to make any generalisations about the nature of lexical appropriation in Indigenous drama as a whole, the salient lexical features established for the M ori and First Nations plays will nevertheless help us to outline some tentative trends. Summarising the most important points of the results detailed above shall help to answer the questions that have been laid out in the introduction to the present chapter, viz. • whether parallels and differences can be detected between the M ori and First Nations plays on the one hand and the findings from our Australian corpus on the other, • which lexical tools are employed to express culturally bound concepts, and • whether the conceptual categories established to account for the lexical appropriations found in our Australian corpus also apply in a wider context. The analyses of the M ori and First Nations plays have yielded interesting and, most of all, quite diverse results. As the above discussion already suggested, Briar Grace-Smith’s Purapurawhet demonstrates a lot of similarities to our Australian text The Dreamers, both in respect to the high amount of insertions from the traditional language (the number of lexical appropriations involving M ori actually exceeds that of Nyoongah elements established for Davis’ play) and in relation to the conceptual categories that are represented by the lexical appropriations found in the text. These similarities are in part due to the play’s thematic outline and its emphasis on M ori culture. Of course, Australian Aboriginal and M ori material and non-material cultures are unique and therefore incomparable, a fact that is also reflected in the concepts expressed by individual appropriations. For example, Purapurawhet includes several terms for buildings, such as k uta ‘cooking shed, kitchen, cookhouse’, wharekai ‘dining hall’, and wharenui ‘meeting house’, where AborE has less specific terms for temporary shelters. References to M ori social organisation include terms such as iwi ‘extended kinship group, tribe, nation’ 357 and rangatira ‘chief (male or female)’. Other lexical appropriations relate to ceremonial proceedings, aspects of M ori religion, and cultural practice. Indeed, the large number of appropriations relating to M ori culture underlines the value of this conceptual category for the expression of a distinct Indigenous identity and emphasises that also outside the Australian context, cultural tradition is one of the main domains which demand for appropriation of the standard language in order to be satisfactorily represented. The results from the analysis of The Rez Sisters appear to support this claim: while only few of the lexical appropriations found in Highway’s text directly relate to any of the established conceptual domains, most of those that can be associated with a particular conceptual category relate to First Nations culture. Examples are the terms Nanabush and Windigo as well as allusions to First Nations languages and stories. Another significant fact is that the longest and thus most outstanding passages in traditional language are exchanges between Marie-Adele and the Nanabush who represents the most tangible connection to First Nations culture in the play. References to or representations of the contact experience are largely restricted to descriptions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the New Zealand and Canadian plays. Examples are Indian guy/white guy (The Rez Sisters) or M ori/P keh (Purapurawhet ). The New Zealand text also employs the term black for M ori people, so that we once more find a distinction between colonisers and colonised which involves the opposites black/Indigenous vs. white/European. Colour is also the decisive element in the lexical item Apple Indian, which criticises First Nations people who are thought to deny their heritage and like coconut insinuates a ‘black’ (or rather, a ‘red’) outside appearance but a ‘white’ attitude. The ME term born again, on the other hand, reflects the low image of those who have only lately recognised their cultural background. The colonisers’ impact on the lives of First Nations people and their relegation to a life in a confined and regulated environment is alluded to by Rez, a term which reminds of the Australian mission. Apart from that, neither text includes any references to the police or government authorities, nor to introduced substances and items including alcohol, tobacco, or money. In addition, The Rez Sisters does not make any allusions to domains such as body parts or private issues, modes of behaviour, forms of social interaction, the connection between Aboriginal people and the land, or to the local nature and environment. While none of these conceptual categories was exceptionally prominent in Purapurawhet , they were nevertheless represented in Grace-Smith’s text. Further similarities between the Australian texts on the one hand and the M ori and First Nations plays on the other are once more found in the ways that English kinship terms are employed: while Purapurawhet makes frequent use of M ori terms in order to describe family relations, the text also features 358 the English items auntie(s), uncle, and cuz. Thus, the pattern found in the Australian texts is repeated in so far as we encounter both respectful modes of address to an older man or woman as well as terms that denote a person of the same generation, acknowledging this person as a peer and member of the same social group. The Rez Sisters only includes a single kinship term, viz. sister(s), which serves the double function of underlining female solidarity while also accentuating the women’s shared status as residents of an Indian Reservation and their general position as Aboriginal Canadians. Finally, the occurrence of rhetoric devices such as eh and innit that invite the addressee’s consent in both plays manifests that these are common features of many Indigenous varieties of English. A novel feature observed in both plays is the occurrence of personal names which are not based on Indigenous language terms but still deviate from mainstream naming practices: in Purapurawhet , we find Hohepa ‘Joseph’ and Hamiora ‘Samuel’, renditions of English names which have entered te reo as loanwords and have therefore been adapted to the sound system of M ori. A reverse process shows in The Rez Sisters where the characters’ names are either anglicised forms of a non-English name, as in Dictionary which is derived from the original Dazinanare, or show how Cree and Ojibway naming patterns have been transferred into the colonial language English, as in the family names Moosetail or Starblanket. English is also the language of choice to designate a member of the First Nations group Yellowknife. Purapurawhet further makes frequent use of terms of welcome and farewell, such as t na koe ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ or kia ora ‘hello’, ‘cheers’, ‘good luck’, best wishes’, which constitute a notable and distinct type of appropriation that was not encountered in any of the other plays. In addition, the text includes a number of passages which exemplify modes of address in ME, e.g. e hine, particle + ‘girl, daughter’, as in E hine, kaua koe e mahara ‘E hine, don't you worry’. Generally, The Rez Sisters contains a much smaller amount of lexical appropriation than Grace-Smith’s text. Still, Cree and Ojibway are a discernible element of Highway’s text due to the prevalence of multi-word insertions that achieve greater prominence because of their sheer length. In fact, the share of multi-word insertion in both plays is remarkable, but it also has implications for the texts’ comprehensibility: readers and audiences are likely to understand single items presented in a context that supports their interpretation, yet, large numbers of longer passages in traditional language are prone to have an alienating effect. In addition, while more than half of the M ori singleword insertions in Purapurawhet are also listed in the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary, supporting statements that M ori loanwords have become an integral part of the NZE lexicon and that many New Zealanders are familiar with a range of words and expressions relating to M ori culture, only a single one 359 of the First Nations language words employed in The Rez Sisters has an entry in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Another characteristic shared by both texts is that while traditional language elements serve as apparent indicators of lexical and conceptual distinctiveness in the texts, only a small number of English terms reveal obvious traces of semantic modification or usages deviant from StE. In the absence of more comprehensive information on the lexicon of ME and First Nations English(es), only few English items could be identified that qualify as instances of lexical appropriation. This sets Purapurawhet and The Rez Sisters clearly apart from the Australian plays in which English and English-derived lexemes dominate as appropriation types. One of the most interesting results of the analysis of Purapurawhet is that it features several M ori terms which describe kinship relations, such as wh nau ‘extended family’, ‘family group’ or whanaunga ‘relative’, ‘relation’, ‘kin’, ‘blood relation’, i.e. concepts which in the Australian texts are exclusively expressed through English terms. Also elsewhere, Grace-Smith’s play shows bias for M ori terms in contexts where AborE employs English words, either exclusively or besides Indigenous language words. Possible reasons for this preference to use the ancestral language may include the higher degree of M ori language maintenance in New Zealand as well as the more marked influence of te Reo on the lexicon of NZE, resulting in a greater familiarity with M ori words on the part of P keh New Zealanders. In addition, while New Zealand has one Indigenous language, the substrate influences on AborE are numerous and vary depending on the locality. Hence, it is not surprising that in AborE, many widely used concepts tend to be expressed by means of English terms that have a wider, pan-Australian applicability, whereas in ME, the need for such comprehensive Englishderived labels does not arise. First Nations dialects of English, on the other hand, also have a range of substrate influences. As such, we might assume that in the Canadian context, too, semantic modification of existing Standard English words or processes of word formation are preferred as tools to express widely used concepts. Still, neither the scarce literature on First Nations dialects of English nor the language use in The Rez Sisters provide any evidence for this assumption. Further text analyses would be necessary to make any statements on whether the small amount of English-derived lexical appropriations is a general feature of First Nations drama or particular to the work of Tomson Highway. It has become apparent that while the conceptual domains established in 8.3.3 are largely sufficient for the categorisation of the types of lexical appropriation found in Purapurawhet , many of the Cree and Ojibway elements and passages in The Rez Sisters do not neatly fit into the categories that have served so well for the Australian corpus. It already transpired in our analysis of Jack Davis’ The Dreamers that longer passages of traditional language challenge our 360 conceptual classification since, contrary to most single-word insertions, they are not concerned with filling a lexical gap and expressing culturally-bound meanings. Most of the multi-word insertions in Highway’s text (and even some of the single-word insertions) are best described as examples of codeswitching which allow speakers to react to the situation or express their feelings rather than as indexation of a different worldview or the expression of culture-specific concepts. This, too, may be at least partly due to the play’s thematic outline which shows little emphasis on the loss of First Nations culture and related topics which would allow for (or even demand) a greater use of lexemes that actually fill a lexical gap. Still, many of the Cree/Ojibway insertions do in fact fulfil a function that was found to be closely connected to lexical appropriation: expressing highly emotive content, utterances such as Pelajia, een-pay-seek-see-yan ‘Pelajia, I'm scared to death’ are crucial for the creation of intimacy as the code employed is only accessible to few interlocutors. In other scenes, Marie-Adele code-switches to Cree when talking to the Nanabush who announces her approaching death. Here, the traditional language not only underlines the emotive significance of the scene, it also establishes an association between the presence of the legendary trickster figure and the use of traditional language. An interesting aspect of these scenes is that the Nanabush presents itself in the shape of a bird which calls to mind the ‘messenger bird’ in the Australian plays. Nevertheless, the general impression remains that while the language employed in The Rez Sisters certainly possesses the frequently discussed ‘exotic flavour’ which marks the characters’ cultural and ethnic background, the lexical appropriations encountered do not entirely follow the detected pattern of emphasising the different conceptual frameworks inherent in mainstream and ethnic dialects of English.

Chapter Preview



Today, virtually all Aboriginal people in Australia use English in their daily interactions. This is not surprising: in a situation in which many Aboriginal languages are lost beyond retrieval, English, as the official language of education, administration, law, and generally the language of the Australian mainstream society, has become the major medium of communication for the Australian Aboriginal community. Still, Aboriginal English, the variety most commonly spoken by Aboriginal people, often differs in many aspects from what is the accepted linguistic standard in Australia. Adapted to their communicative needs, it allows its speakers to express values, beliefs, and attitudes which are strongly influenced by their socio-cultural background.

Katja Lenz investigates how the lexico-semantics of Aboriginal English provide the means needed to express concepts not shared with speakers of Australian English. Approaching these questions from both the angle of Cultural Linguistics and that of Post-colonial Studies, she further shows how these tools are employed by Australian Aboriginal playwrights, who exploit the lexical resources of AborE for the linguistic construction and assertion of their own and their characters’ Aboriginality.