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Licit and Illicit Lexicons: Indian Ocean Sailors as Agents of Cultural Contact

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: BF, 002


Based on linguistic research, this paper foregrounds the argot(s) of sailors, shipwrights, pirates and other “outcasts” of the Indian Ocean. The historical importance of these agents is rarely seen in due perspective, as most textual accounts in which they were mentioned came from the hands of those who romanticized, feared or loathed them. Through a focus on an extinct pidgin known as Laskari, a new light is cast on colonial-era hybridization and interethnic contact across the Indian Ocean.