Pieter Muysken and Margot van den Berg

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
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Languages in contact can result in the emergence of several new languages, ranging from pidgins and Creoles to intertwined or mixed languages and world Englishes. This article focuses primarily on Creoles and only marginally on pidgins. Pidgins are languages used in contacts between members of different language groups who have no language in common. They are often reduced in their structure and vocabulary and are primarily used as an intergroup means of communication in a particular domain, for example, trade. Creoles, which are often (but not always) derived from pidgins, are full-fledged languages with native speakers that can (but might not) be used in all aspects of life. Despite their ordinariness, Creoles may be considered a class apart, because they did not develop gradually like other languages but rather at a specific period and hence rather suddenly. Pidgin and Creole studies have become a diverse and lively subdiscipline within linguistics, with links to contact linguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language acquisition, and linguistic theory and typology. The main question in this area of study is whether the specific origin of pidgins and Creoles is reflected in their grammatical properties and, if so, how. However, a number of other questions are also debated in the field, including variability in the Creoles, their relation to the (often European) colonial languages, and their place in education.

Article.  11059 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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