A Pidgin Language

Substandard English

Standard English is often opposed to KOINE and TO SOCIAL AND TERRITORIAL DIALECTS.

KOINE (from Greek = common language) occupies an intermediate position in the language system. Koine may be considered as a form of vernacular, but at the same time it is also seen as a standardized variant of English.

A koine is a simplified form of a language characterized by the incorporation of features from several regional varieties of a certain language. Koine is a variety used as a common language between speakers from different regions and social backgrounds.

The typical example of koine is Cockney English. It can be regarded as a variety of Modified Standard speech. The word cockney means a fine fellow with plenty of assurance as distinct from country people. In the 17th century, the word cockney was applied exclusively to the inhabitants of London.


Pidgin can be defined as a common language which has developed through the use of a mixed and greatly simplified form of speech based on two or more different languages.

It may be called LINGUA FRANCA. This term refers to any language used to communicate across linguistic territories. Lingua franca is a language which is used by people whose mother tongues are different in order to facilitate communication among them. Lingua francas can be natural, pidginized or planned.


A contact situation involving two or more different languages appears to be the most fundamental precondition for pidginization to occur. Pidginization may be tentatively defined as the rapid structural modification of a language in certain contact situations in which it serves both the target of broken language and the source of foreign talk. In other words, pidginization is a process that accepts normal languages and produces a reduced, hybridized variety.

Pidgins are created for very practical and immediate purposes of communication between people who otherwise would have no common language. A pidgin may be what is called a trade language, but not all pidgins are restricted to trade language.

Pidgin combines the lexical stock of one language with the grammatical structure of another.

e.g. ,


Chinese Pidgin English is one of the oldest English-based pidgins. Originally it emerged in Southern China as a language of business. Its English vocabulary is twisted phonetically and semantically. E.g. nusi pepa a letter, mary a woman, chin-chin to greet. Today it almost disappeared, as it lost prestige being associated with the servants of foreigners.

Here is the example from another variety of English-based pidgin, New Guinea Pidgin:

E.g. You no kam asde? Yes.

Didnt you come yesterday? Yes, I did.

It might be helpful to sum up some characteristics of pidgins which distinguish them from other varieties:

1. A pidgin itself is a variety, with a community of speakers who pass it on from one generation to the next.

2. A pidgin is not simply a result of heavy borrowing from one variety to another.

3. A pidgin, unlike ordinary language, has no native speakers, which is a consequence of the fact that it is used only for communication among members of different linguistic communities.

4. A pidgin disappears when it is no longer needed for communication (e.g. postcolonial countries).



  3. Language and extralinguistic world
  4. Language as a means of communication
  5. Language Function
  6. Lexical differences between languages
  7. North Germanic Languages
  8. Old and Modern Germanic Languages
  9. Planning languages
  10. Scenarios for language evolution
  11. Subject and aims of the course A History of the English Language.

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