Sociolinguistics

What is a pidgin language/origin/diff. with creole/formation

Pidgin

A Pidgin language is a linguistic variety that arises from two or more languages ​​for an immediate and practical purpose. It usually arises in such diverse circumstances of contact between speakers such as commerce or slavery – where at least two groups have to communicate with each other, without having a common language. What is a pidgin language?

What is a Pidgin language?

Although there is not much consensus as to the origin of the word pidgin, it is said that it could come from pidian, a term that refers to the Indians who lived on the border between Brazil and Guyana in the early seventeenth century. It is also said to be a variant of the word business, spoken by Anglo-Chinese Pidgin speakers who developed in Canton in the 17th century.

It is in contexts of social disorder – such as that created by colonization, the exploitation of labor in mines or plantations, and trade or merchandise trafficking – when contact between polyglots and social imbalances occurs, when they arise. the pidgins. That is why the languages ​​that serve as the basis for many of them are those of the colonialist countries, especially those that had a slave trade: Spanish, French, English, Dutch and Portuguese. What is a pidgin language?

A pidgin arises very unstably from contact between two varieties of unequal prestige or social regard and gradually stabilizes on the basis of the grammar and phonology of the less prestigious language and the lexicon of the dominant language. When the contact is prolonged and the Pidgin develops, enriches, expands functionally and begins to be spoken as the mother tongue of a community, it becomes what is called a Creole language. The term Creole shares its root with the verb to raise, and it originated from slaves born and raised in the homes of their masters and later meant “son of European parents born in the colony.” The term was applied to the languages ​​used in the Caribbean and West Africa and later to all similar ones. What is a pidgin language?

The slave traders of the colonial period contributed greatly, albeit unconsciously, to the creation of a large number of Pidgin-based languages ​​by loading slave ships with speakers of different languages ​​with the ultimate goal of preventing them from organizing and mutiny. on the high seas or when arriving in the new world.

Are Pidgin languages ​​developing in the huge influx of people fleeing hunger and misery in Africa aboard uncomfortable ships bound for Europe?

Where does the word come from? What is a pidgin language?

The origin of the term is obscure, but most linguists agree that the word pidgin is a product of a Chinese deformation of the English word business, and its origins date back to the 19th century. Chinese and English speakers made contact in Canton, China, during the seventeenth century, forming a language that was a mixture of both languages ​​and that was called ‘pidgin’, since its function was to allow business between English and Asians . What is a pidgin language?

Over time, the word Pidgin, which originally referred to this half-Chinese and half-English language, came to mean any mixture of two or more languages ​​in a simplified and uncomplicated way.

How are these languages ​​formed?

Typically, for a pidgin to form, certain conditions must be met. The main one is that people of different language groups stay in contact for a long period of time.

The second condition is that the two or more linguistic groups have the need to communicate, either for business or some kind of power relationship.

Finally, the third necessary condition for the formation of a pidgin is that the linguistic groups do not have a language that serves as a link between them, or that the languages ​​of the two communities have a relatively low level of mutual understanding.

Although most philologists agree that these three conditions must be met, there are those who say, as in the case of Keith Whinnom, that it takes at least three languages ​​for a pidgin to form, with two languages ​​being spoken by the two ethnic groups plus a third dominant language that would serve as a superstratum.

What the speakers do in these cases is learn, in very general terms, the dominant language. Since it is not their mother tongue and they do not have the means to learn it properly, people only memorize the words and expressions that will serve them in a certain context, such as terms related to business or the situation in which the dominant language is dominant. Useful. What is a pidgin language?

For this reason, Pidgin are not considered complete languages, because they are actually very simplified versions of a natural language. Phonetics is simplified, especially since it is not intended to speak like a native of the dominant language. The grammar is not overly complex and the vocabulary is rarely useful in a narrow range of situations.

If the pidgin has arisen from three languages ​​(the two mother tongues of the language are grouped together with the dominant language), the vocabulary is usually taken from the dominant language, while the phonetics and grammar are taken from the mother tongues.

What differentiates them from Creole languages?

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Pidgin languages ​​is that they are not the mother tongue of anyone, but are the second language of those who have developed it. It is the result of two or more linguistic groups having established contact with each other and they need to communicate in order to have some kind of interaction.

But sometimes, especially when these ethnic groups are rooted in the same territory after many decades of living together, the new generations who were born and raised there begin to speak these Pidgin naturally and as their mother tongue.

Thus, the Pidgin begin to have their first native speakers, who will not use the language only for business interactions or for those situations in which it was originally invented. Like any natural language, Pidgin speakers will use it for various situations: at home, at school, with friends, with those at work … with people who will be of the same generation and who will also speak the same Pidgin.

It is then that the pidgin has acquired a greater degree of complexity, because its own speakers have looked for ways to fill the gaps in vocabulary and grammar that the pidgin language showed at the beginning.

Thus, the main difference between Pidgin and Creole is that Pidgin has a higher degree of complexity, can be used in a wide range of situations, and is the mother tongue of a linguistic community, resulting from contact between two or more languages. What is a pidgin language?

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