Palmerston English

PE is spoken by just over 50 people on a remote atoll of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. In 1863, the Englishman William Ma(r)sters settled on Palmerston with several Polynesian women from the Northern Group of the Cook Islands. Marsters ruled the island in an autocratic style: only English was allowed to be spoken and it is recorded that the children from his various wives spoke English with a strong British accent. The perpetuation of the speech was more difficult for the women than for the men because they did not have a direct female example from Britain to imitate. The three branches of the family are now in their 8th generation and their offspring live mainly in Rarotonga, Aitutaki, New Zealand and Australia (several thousand people, with a varying degree of competence in the language, depending on the contact retained with Palmerston).

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