Bonin English

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Bonin English
Ogasawara English
Native toJapan
RegionOgasawara Islands (also called Bonin islands)
Native speakers
Possibly 1,000–2,000[citation needed]
English Creole
  • Pacific
    • Bonin English
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Bonin English, or the Bonin Islands language, is an English-based creole of the Ogasawara Islands (informally called Bonin Islands) south of Japan with strong Japanese influence, to the extent that it has been called a mixture of English and Japanese (Long 2007).


The Colony of Peel Island was the first permanent settlement in the archipelago. Peel Island was settled in the early nineteenth century by speakers of eighteen European and Austronesian languages, including American English and Hawaiian. This resulted in a pidgin English that became a symbol of island identity. It creolized among second- and third-generation speakers as thousands of Japanese speakers settled the islands. The islanders became bilingual, and during the early twentieth century Bonin English incorporated elements of Japanese (Long 2007). Throughout the 20th century, most islanders used Bonin English at home. During the US occupation of 1946–68, the so-called "Navy Generation" learned American English at school. While Bonin English vocabulary skewed toward English during this period, a trend towards Japanese resumed after the occupation ended. Today younger residents tend to be monolingual in a variety of Japanese closely resembling the Tokyo standard, with some learning standard English due to globalization.[citation needed] A bilingual spoken dictionary was published in 2005.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bonin English Pidgin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Long, Daniel (2007). English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-6671-3.
  • Long, Daniel; Naoyuki Hashimoto (2005). Talking Dictionary of the Bonin Islands Language (with CD-ROM). Nanpo Shinsha. ISBN 978-4-86124-044-7.