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Lecture 6

LING 115gw Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Savant Syndrome, Noam Chomsky, Tok Pisin

Course Code
LING 115gw
Simpson Andrew

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Unit 6: Pidgins and Creoles – the birth and creation of new languages!
Pidgins & Creoles = languages which are created in multi-lingual environments by the need of
speakers of mutually unintelligible languages to communicate with each other !
Most commonly speakers of 3 or more languages !
Usually one linguistic group will be dominant and a simple language that is a mixture of all of
the languages spoken in a social environment will be created -- known as a pidgin
Over a period of time, these languages are increase in complexity and gain native
speakers, transforming the original pidgin form into a creole
Basic Properties!
Pidgin has no native speakers and is a contact language created when speakers of 2
languages need to communicate with each other!
(1) Slaves (from Africa) / their owners (English-speakers) in the American south and
the Caribbean in the 19th century !
(2) Trade languages along coastal areas mostly in the tropics (esp. West Africa/SE
(3) Between North American Indian tribes, pidgin "Chinook Jargon" was formed!
(4) Pineapple plantations in Hawaii used "Hawaiian Pidgin English" among immigrant
workers !
(5) Developed during wars!
Usually thought of as a simplified version of the dominant linguistic group amongst the
languages needing to be mixed for communication purposes!
Horizontal Interaction (or Horizontal Relations) - contact between two groups with a lack of
power, might also result in a pidgin involving the dominant language as well b/c these
subordinate groups usually also have contact with the dominant group !
i.e. two slave groups interacting with each other !
Vertical Interaction (or Vertical Relations) - contact between one subordinate group with a
higher-power, more dominant group!
Pidgins generally begin to communicate referential information (factual info + instructions),
NOT for social convos --> once they begin to develop more grammar, etc. they are used for
aective interactions!
Attitudes towards Pidgins/Creoles
People often think of them as "reduced" forms of "regular" languages --> might result in
speakers of being seen as cognitively deficient in a certain way !
Reasons for negative impressions:!
(1) Pidgins are not standardized in grammars/dictionaries!
(2) No historicity!
(3) Lack autonomy - not seen to be distinct, are often seen to be "reduced" forms of other
Pidgin --> Creole Cycle!
Creoles are pidgins that have become the first language of a generation of speakers!
Pidgins are always spoken by people as a second/third/fourth language!
Pidginisation: creation of a pidgin, involves the simplification of some language !
Reduction in morphology and syntax, reduction in number of functional domains!
Creolisation: creation of a creole, involves the expansion of the morphology and syntax of a
pidgin, and an increase in the number of domains the language is used!
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