Pidgins and Creoles

Jeff Siegel

in The Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics

Second edition

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195384253
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Pidgins and Creoles


Pidgins and creoles are the focus of this article. Pidgins and creoles are new languages that develop in language contact situations because of a need for communication among people who do not share a common language. A pidgin continues to be used primarily as a second language for intergroup communication, whereas a creole has become the mother tongue of a particular group of speakers. The lexicon of a pidgin or creole is derived from the various languages originally in contact, with the majority usually coming from one particular language, called the lexifier. However, the grammar of a pidgin or creole is different from that of the lexifier or any of the other contributing languages. Most scholars in this field would agree on these characterizations. This article outlines them briefly here. Then it presents some sociolinguistic background information on speakers, status, and attitudes. Finally, it discusses some areas of applied linguistics that concern pidgins and creoles.

Keywords: pidgin; creole; communication; lexifer; common language; applied linguistics

Article.  7699 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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