What is a Pidgin Language?

A pidgin language arises when two or more communities that do not share a common language adopt a simplified communication method. A pidgin language typically has a mix of simplified languages ​​or on the other hand a simplified primary language composed of elements of other languages. A pidgin language is adopted as a secondary language by the groups involved to enable them to engage with one another.


The history of the term pidgin can be traced back to 1850 when it came to printing. One theory states that the word was pronounced by the Chinese to mean business. Another etymology links the word to the English word pigeon which denotes a bird used to carry messages before the advent of modern communication.


The term initially referred to the English Pidgin Chinese until it was generalized to classify any Pidgin. In some areas, Pidgin is the particular name for local Creoles or pidgins. The speakers of Hawaiian Creole English, as well as those of Tok Pisin commonly, call their respective languages ​​Pidgin. The term jargon is sometimes used to refer to Pidgin and has been included in the names of several pidgins including Chinook Jargon. The development of a pidgin language can be intended to simplify trade as in the case of Tok Pisin. These languages ​​can subsequently develop as a complete language other than those they initially developed. An example of such language is Swahili. It has been shown that pidgins and languages ​​of commerce influence the vernacular of an established language.

Development of Pidgin

The development of a pidgin is facilitated by constant and constant interactions between societies with an unrelated language. There should also be a need that requires communities to communicate like commerce. A popular and accessible interlanguage should also be missing for a pidgin to develop. Linguists like Keith Whinnom have proposed that a pidgin require three languages ​​to develop where the rest dominate. A pidgin can grow into a Creole complete with a developed grammar and a vocabulary. A generation of children in pidgin-speaking communities can adopt pidgin as their first language and in so doing creole their mother tongue. Such situations have been observed in the case of the Krio spoken in Sierra Leone and the Tok Pisin dominant in Papua New Guinea. A pidgin does not always develop in a Creole because some become extinct. A section of scholars has suggested that pidgin and Creole develop independently of one another.

Pidgins share some similarities to each other like the inclusion of basic vowels. Languages ​​have no tones and there is a noticeable absence of morphophonemic variation. The languages ​​also include a simplified enclosure structure and separate words to indicate time. Pidgins reduce consonant groups and syllables and use doubling in representing superlatives and plurals and any other part of speech that indicates the concept of being added.

Examples of Pidgin

Hawaiian English Pidgin has a 600,000 speaker community based in Hawaii and the United States. The language developed from several pidgins used as common languages ​​by the ethnic groups of Hawaii. The language is commonly used in everyday life by the inhabitants of Hawaii. The Fanagalo language is recognized as a pidgin influenced by the Zulu and English and to a lesser extent by the Afrikaans. The language is unique because it developed from a native language rather than from the language of a colonizer.


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