SO WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
A unique atlas of languages* includes the definitive study of Palmerston English. One of the world's leading linquistics experts, Sabine Ehrrhart- Kneher visited the island in 1992 and noted: "The Palmerston people are proud to speak 'the most British English' of the Cook Islands and they try to limit the number of Maori words in everyday life, especially if there is an English equivalent....A great number of English origin are either historical or dialectal remnants of the first William's speech..."
She describes traditional Palmerston English as having "a very special chanting melody" with characteristics of the accent of Gloucestershire in England. But she also notes that it has evolved over the generations due to increased contacts with Rarotonga English, New Zealand English...and due to the videos that are watched almost every night in all the houses!
In 2015, linguistics expert Dr Rachel Hendery of Australia also noted changes over the preceding 20 years in the language because of outside influences and contact with New Zealand. Her analysis supports a view that Marsters came from the Midlands of England - "probably Leicestershire or Birmingham".**
* "Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas" volume II.I, Published by Walter de Gruyter, 1996 **Palmerston Island English: This research was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (Project number DP110103714)