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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:
- 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.
- 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 ex-colonial countries (Jamaica, Haiti, Mauritius,
Réunion, Hawaii, Pitcairn, etc.)
- Relexification The process of substituting new vocabulary for
old. Pidgins may get relexified with new English vocabulary to replace the
previous Portuguese vocabulary, etc.
Tue Mar 25 08:54:40 EST 1997