, or pidgin language
, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several languages. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade
, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups). Linguists do not typically consider pidgins as full or complete languages.
Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language.
A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or body language from a multitude of languages as well as onomatopoeia
. As the lexicon
of any pidgin will be limited to core vocabulary, words with only a specific meaning in lexifier
language may acquire a completely new (or additional) meaning in the pidgin.
Pidgins have historically been considered a form of patois
, unsophisticated simplified versions of their lexifiers, and as such usually have low prestige
with respect to other languages.
However, not all simplified or "unsophisticated" forms of a language are pidgins. Each pidgin has its own norms of usage which must be learned for proficiency in the pidgin.
A pidgin differs from a creole
, which is the first language
of a speech community of native speakers
that at one point arose from a pidgin. Unlike pidgins, creoles have fully developed vocabulary and patterned grammar. Most linguists believe that a creole develops through a process of nativization
of a pidgin when children of acquired pidgin-speakers learn and use it as their native language.
derives from a Chinese
of the English word business
, and all attestations from the first half of the nineteenth century given in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary
mean 'business; an action, occupation, or affair' (the earliest being from 1807). The term pidgin English
("business English"), first attested in 1855, shows the term in transition to referring to language, and by the 1860s the term pidgin
alone could refer to Pidgin English. The term was coming to be used in the more general linguistic sense represented by this article by the 1870s.
The word pidgin
, formerly also spelled pigion
used to refer originally to Chinese Pidgin English
, but was later generalized to refer to any pidgin. Pidgin
may also be used as the specific name for local pidgins or creoles
, in places where they are spoken. For example, the name of the creole language Tok Pisin
derives from the English words talk pidgin
. Its speakers usually refer to it simply as "pidgin" when speaking English.
Likewise, Hawaiian Creole English
is commonly referred to by its speakers as "Pidgin".
The term jargon
has also been used to refer to pidgins, and is found in the names of some pidgins, such as Chinook Jargon
. In this context, linguists today use jargon
to denote a particularly rudimentary type of pidgin;
however, this usage is rather rare, and the term jargon
most often refers to the words particular to a given profession.
Pidgins may start out as or become trade languages, such as Tok Pisin
. Trade languages can eventually evolve into fully developed languages in their own right such as Swahili
, distinct from the languages they were originally influenced by. Trade languages and pidgins can also influence an established language's vernacular
, especially amongst people who are directly involved in a trade where that pidgin is commonly used, which can alternatively result in a regional dialect
Pidgins are usually less morphologically complex but more syntactically rigid than other languages, and usually have fewer morphosyntactic irregularities than other languages.
Characteristics shared by most pidgins:
- Typologically most closely resemble isolating languages
- Uncomplicated clausal structure (e.g., no embedded clauses, etc.)
- Reduction or elimination of syllable codas
- Reduction of consonant clusters or breaking them with epenthesis
- Elimination of aspiration or sound changes
- Monophthongization is common, employment of as few basic vowels as possible, such as [a, e, i, o, u]
- Lack of morphophonemic variation
- Lack of tones, such as those found in Niger-Congo, Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan language families and in various families of the indigenous languages of the Americas
- Lack of grammatical tense; use of separate words to indicate tense, usually preceding the verb
- Lack of conjugation or declension
- Lack of grammatical gender or number, commonly supplanted by reduplication to represent plurals and superlatives, and other parts of speech that represent the concept being increased and clear indication of the gender or animated objects.
- Lack of clear parts of speech or word categorization; common use and derivation of new vocabulary through conversion, e.g. nominalization, verbification, adjectivization etc.
The initial development of a pidgin usually requires:
- prolonged, regular contact between the different language communities
- a need to communicate between them
- an absence of (or absence of widespread proficiency in) a widespread, accessible interlanguage
Keith Whinnom (in Hymes (1971)
) suggests that pidgins need three languages to form, with one (the superstrate) being clearly dominant over the others.
Other scholars, such as Salikoko Mufwene
, argue that pidgins and creoles arise independently under different circumstances, and that a pidgin need not always precede a creole nor a creole evolve from a pidgin. Pidgins, according to Mufwene, emerged among trade colonies among "users who preserved their native vernaculars for their day-to-day interactions". Creoles, meanwhile, developed in settlement colonies in which speakers of a European language, often indentured servants
whose language would be far from the standard in the first place, interacted extensively with non-European slaves
, absorbing certain words and features from the slaves' non-European native languages, resulting in a heavily basilectalized
version of the original language. These servants and slaves would come to use the creole as an everyday vernacular, rather than merely in situations in which contact with a speaker of the superstrate was necessary.
The following pidgins have Wikipedia articles or sections in articles. Many of these languages are commonly referred to by their speakers as "Pidgin".
- ^ Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (2008). "The study of pidgin and creole languages" (PDF). In Arends, Jacques; Muijsken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (eds.). Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction. John Benjamins. pp. 3–14.
- ^ Özüorçun, Fatma (2014). "Language varieties: Pidgins and creoles" (PDF).
- ^ Bickerton, Derek (1976). "Pidgin and creole studies". Annual Review of Anthropology. 5: 169–93. doi:10.1146/annurev.an.05.100176.001125. JSTOR 2949309.
- ^ See Todd (1990:3)
- ^ See Thomason & Kaufman (1988:169)
- ^ Bakker (1994:27)
- ^ Bakker (1994:26)
- ^ "Pinyin: pí qīn yǔ" Chinese English Pinyin Dictionary, Yabla, https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-english-pinyin-dictionary.php?define=%E7%9A%AE%E9%92%A6%E8%AF%AD
- ^ a b "pidgin, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, January 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/143533. Accessed 23 January 2018.
- ^ a b Online Etymology Dictionary
- ^ Crystal, David (1997), "Pidgin", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press
- ^ Bakker (1994:25)
- ^ Smith, Geoff P. Growing Up with Tok Pisin: Contact, creolization, and change in Papua New Guinea's national language. London: Battlebridge. 2002. p. 4.
- ^ Thus the published court reports of Papua New Guinea refer to Tok Pisin as "Pidgin": see for example Schubert v The State  PNGLR 66.
- ^ Bakker (1994:25–26)
- ^ For example: Campbell, John Howland; Schopf, J. William, eds. (1994). Creative Evolution. Life Science Series. Contributor: University of California, Los Angeles. IGPP Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 81. ISBN 9780867209617. Retrieved 2014-04-20. [...] the children of pidgin-speaking parents face a big problem, because pidgins are so rudimentary and inexpressive, poorly capable of expressing the nuances of a full range of human emotions and life situations. The first generation of such children spontaneously develops a pidgin into a more complex language termed a creole. [...] [T]he evolution of a pidgin into a creole is unconscious and spontaneous.
- ^ "Salikoko Mufwene: "Pidgin and Creole Languages"". Humanities.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- Bakker, Peter (1994), "Pidgins", in Arends, Jacques; Muijsken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (eds.), Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction, John Benjamins, pp. 26–39
- Hymes, Dell (1971), Pidginization and Creolization of Languages, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-07833-4
- McWhorter, John (2002), The Power of Babel: The Natural History of Language, Random House Group, ISBN 0-06-052085-X
- Sebba, Mark (1997), Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles, MacMillan, ISBN 0-333-63024-6
- Thomason, Sarah G.; Kaufman, Terrence (1988), Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-07893-4
- Todd, Loreto (1990), Pidgins and Creoles, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-05311-0
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 06:05
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