“Those who wish to develop literature in Papua New Guinea need to address the key question, should PNG literature be written in English or Tok Pisin? Tok Pisin is more the language of the common man and English is more the language of the elite. When PNG finds its Chaucer, I believe he will be writing in Tok Pisin” – Cygil, in a PNG Attitude comment
THIS IS SOMETHING that Keith and I debated in a roundabout way when we kicked off the Crocodile Prize.
It is a very pertinent question and one that is difficult to answer.
I especially like poetry written in Tok Pisin.
It has a very distinct flavour all its own that you can't reproduce in an English translation.
However, Papua New Guinea now exists in a globalist world whose language of choice is English.
If a writer wants to reach out beyond PNG shores then it is wise to do it in English.
If you think of all the African and Asian writers that you might have read you will have done so in English, simply because you don't understand their native language.
I'm very sympathetic to a literature in Tok Pisin, and even Motu, which is a beautiful language, but I can't really see how it could be supported.
I'd be very interested in the views of other people on this matter.