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Pidgin and Creole Languages

Originally thought of as incomplete, broken, corrupt, not worthy of serious attention. Pidgins still are marginal: in origin (makeshift, reduced in structure), in attitudes toward them (low prestige); in our knowledge of them. Some quick definitions: 1. Pidgin language (origin in Engl. word `business'?) is nobody's native language; may arise when two speakers of different languages with no common language try to have a makeshift conversation. Lexicon usually comes from one language, structure often from the other. Because of colonialism, slavery etc. the prestige of Pidgin languages is very low. Many pidgins are `contact vernaculars', may only exist for one speech event. 2. Creole (orig. person of European descent born and raised in a tropical colony) is a language that was originally a pidgin but has become nativized, i.e. a community of speakers claims it as their first language. Next used to designate the language(s) of people of Caribbean and African descent in colonial and excolonial countries (Jamaica, Haiti, Mauritius, Réunion, Hawaii, Pitcairn, etc.) 3. Relexification The process of substituting new vocabulary for old. Pidgins may get relexified with new English vocabulary to replace the previous Portuguese vocabulary, etc.

INTRODUCTION Can you guess what language this is? These lines are taken from a famous comic strip in Papua New Guinea: "Sapos yu kaikai planti pinat, bai yu kamap strong olsem phantom." "Fantom, yu pren tru bilong mi. Inap yu ken helpim mi nau?" "Fantom, em i go we?"

'If you eat plenty of peanuts, you will come up strong like the phantom.' 'Phantom, you are a true friend of mine. Are you able to help me now?'

The other minority languages that contribute to the pidgin are called the substrate languages. Tok Pisin. Can you guess what major language (the superstrate) contributed to the vocabulary in each of these Creoles? This table is taken from Janet Holmes. it is then called a Creole. Portuguese. and with their bosses. there is a very well known Creole. Reasons for the development of Pidgins In the nineteenth century. they needed to form a language in which they could communicate. The superstrate language from the Papua New Guinea Creole example above is English. they were separated from the people of their community and mixed with people of various other communities. they usually die out. Spanish. It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area. Since they serve a single simplistic purpose. Pidgins also arose because of colonization. it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabulary. de bin alde luk dat big tri c. and Dutch were the languages of the coloni zers. mo pe aste sa banan b. therefore they were unable to communicate with each other. The strategy behind this was so they couldn't come up with a plot to escape back to their land. However. Prominent languages such as French. They traveled.1Where did he go?' A simplified language derived from two or more languages is called a pidgin. which has become a National language. this is called the superstrate language. Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers ( the children learn the pidgin as their first language). Therefore. when slaves from Africa were brought over to North America to work on the plantations. English. " An Introduction to Sociolinguistics": a. a waka go a wosu I am buying the banana they always looked for a big tree he walked home . An example of this is the Creole above from Papua New Guinea. which is derived from French and African Languages. if the pidgin is used long enough. There is always a dominant language which contributes most of the vocabulary of the pidgin. It is used in a limited way and the structure is very simplistic. You most likely have heard of "Cajun" which is a developed dialect of this Creole. Louisiana Creole. and set up ports in coastal towns where shipping and trading routes were accessible. In the United States. in order to finally communicate with their peers on the plantations.

By its definition a pidgin language is native to none of its speakers. olmaan i kas-im chek e.2 Creole languages When a pidgin is used in a community and the next generation learns this pidgin as a native language a process called creolization begins. But in contrast to normal natural languages a pidgin language shows only a very poor grammar and a sharply curtailed vocabulary. What is typical for pidgin languages is that their use is highly variable and due to the small vocabulary many concepts are expressed in whole sentences. The language with the strongest influence on the pidgin is called the superstrate language and all other contributing languages are called the substrate languages. li pote sa bay mo f. The vocabulary is mainly drawn from the superstrate language whereas the grammar is a compound product of all involved languages. For example the slaves brought to America did not necessarily speak the same language but had to communicate with each other. The mayor ingredients of a pidgin language come from the native languages of the pidgin speakers. This is done by the children who receive the . dis smol swain i bin go fo maket the old man is cashing a check he brought that for me Yes at first we remained this little pig went to market 2.d. A pidgin language develops among people and becomes a means of communication among people who speak different native languages. Slavery and colonization were a major force for the formation of pidgin languages. ja fruher wir bleiben g. 2. To accomplish this they invented a pidgin language with English as superstrate language.1 Pidgin languages A pidgin language is a language which is based on another language or to be precise on several other languages.

3. When this Creole adopts more and more features of the superstrate language it becomes a variety of the standard of this superstrate language. Also a striking feature of the pidgin languages is that they7 show a highly variable use of grammar. This newly developed language has a complex grammar and an extended vocabulary. This is remarkable as most of these languages developed totally independent of each other with little or no contact at all. This suggests that the poor grammatical structure of Pidgin languages is mainly due to the fact . the children do not learn this easy and poor language but they tremendously extend it and transform it into a real natural language with full complexity and a uniform use among its speakers. Maybe the same biological reasons which account for the critical period hypothesis? I will discuss this idea in the later part of this paper. Linguists have noted similarities in grammatical structure among all Creole languages around the world. Pidgin languages are generally learned by adults therefore. exactly what has been found in the error patterns of late learners in the studies by Newport (1990) presented by us. Upon further analysis one can discover that their grammar und usage resembles very much the language used by Genie or Chelsea and that the errors performed by late language learners also seem to be a present feature of pidgin languages. this process is called decreolization. It is no big surprise that the adults who “ invent” the pidgin invent it by incorporating the errors that late first and second language learners usually make. If the Creole language develops to completely new language this process is called hypercreolization.0 The critical period hypothesis and Pidgin and Creole languages The form and structure of pidgin languages are very simple. This feature of Creole languages suggests that there are biological reasons for this similarity among these languages. Here a remarkable thing happens.pidgin language as their only input and basis for language acquisition.

If you encounter a German in France who learned French very poorly and late in life the structure of his sentences should resemble a Pidgin with French as superstrate and German as substrate language.that the “ learners” of the pidgin are adults who are beyond their critical period for language acquisition. In this sense a pidgin has a very high similarity to a learned second language spoken by some poorly performing adult. as much French vocabulary as .