ADELAIDE - It is pretty clear that those of us who 50 years ago learned what now must be called archaic Pidgin are now hopelessly out of date.
Words like “bilong" have long since been contracted into "blo" and, so it seems, "narapela" has been contracted into "nala".
David Kitchnoge's reference to the changing meanings of "mipela" (now "mipla") and "yumi" simply underline the point.
I carried his little book around with me for a long time, constantly referring to it as I worked on increasing my command of the language.
I was, in truth, never very fluent in Pidgin because I was almost always working with coastal Papuans who spoke either Motu or, more often than not, pretty reasonable English.
I guess it is no surprise that Papua New Guineans are busily moulding Pidgin to suit modern needs.
We even have the previously silent "w" in words like known and shown showing an entirely unexpected resurgence in use, thus "no-wen" and "sho-wen" are replacing the venerable "no-n" (known) and "sho-n" (shown).
Incredibly, even the silent "k" in words like knight and knoll is making a comeback, thus "k-nite" and "k-noll" are sneaking back into the lexicon.
Quite why this all happens has lexographers stumped - it just does happen and no amount of bleating about it by purists makes any difference.
Quite what our great-great-grandchildren will make of our use of language is anybody's guess.
But I think that William Shakespeare, perhaps the English language's greatest inventor of new words and expressions, would be delighted.