Definition of pidgin in English:

pidgin

noun

  • 1often as modifier A grammatically simplified form of a language, typically English, Dutch, or Portuguese, some elements of which are taken from local languages, used for communication between people not sharing a common language.

    • ‘Pidgins, especially early in their development, rely primarily on nouns and verbs.’
    • ‘Only at a later stage in its development does the pidgin develop productive internal resources for expanding its lexicon.’
    • ‘In diverse, stratified Hawaii, we all designate each other by race, using references that evolved from sugar plantation pidgin dating back to the late 1870 s.’
    • ‘This varies from use as a first language through use as a second language, as a foreign language, as a component in a Creole or pidgin, right down to its use in fractured messages in airline terminals.’
    • ‘This theory asserts a common origin for all European-based pidgins.’
    • ‘At present, therefore, no single theory can adequately explain the origin of pidgin language.’
    • ‘So far, none of the gang appeared to speak any English, but now he uttered a few words in a broken pidgin.’
    • ‘Pinker and Jackendoff argue that modern language may have emerged from an ancient pidgin through evolutionary fine-tuning.’
    • ‘A creole is a nativized pidgin, expanded in form and function to meet the communicative needs of a community of native speakers.’
    • ‘On German plantations and wherever individuals speaking different languages met, a pidgin language referred to as Neo-Melanesian or Melanesian Pidgin developed.’
    • ‘There is, however, some disagreement among scholars over the number of languages in sufficient contact to produce a pidgin.’
    • ‘Although the plantation setting was crucial for the emergence of pidgins in both areas, in the Pacific laborers were recruited and indentured rather than slaves.’
    • ‘Other investigators argue that only in cases where more than two languages are in contact do true pidgins spring up.’
    • ‘The names given to pidgin languages by linguists refer to their location and their principal lexifier or base language: that is, the language from which they draw most of their vocabulary.’
    • ‘One characteristic of pidgins is the lack of inflectional morphology.’
    • ‘Some linguists classify the Gullah language, spoken in the North Carolina islands, as a pidgin that is based on West African syntax.’
    • ‘The choir were the most involved group in the church as well as some school children from a local school - they had to learn Pidgin.’
    • ‘Lexical items in pidgin languages tend to cover a wider semantic domain than in the base language.’
    • ‘Such a language will be rootless and will evolve within decades into some kind of Pidgin.’
    • ‘He could speak a smattering of Maori, or pidgin Maori, where the language is broken down and simplified, so he was given the job of interpreter.’
    • ‘The ability of Pidgin to approach/approximate the intimate lives of Edgar and Katrina in the world of the novel is not privileged in school and is in fact penalized.’
    • ‘They will create a new pidgin language that has a Spanish syntax, just as English is based on an Anglo-Saxon syntax.’
    • ‘As we all know, our pidgin dialect lacks the elegance and grace of the Queen's English.’
    • ‘Kriol is also a pidgin, but has evolved into a separate language with its own structures and methods of orthography.’
    • ‘Another characteristic of pidgins is lexical impoverishment.’
    • ‘The author's brief and unhelpful comments make it sound like a pidgin.’
    • ‘On a discursive level, writers who utilize Taglish and Pidgin validate these languages as literary mediums of cultural expression.’
    • ‘His academic specialty is language change and language contact, with a concentration on pidgin and Creole languages.’
    • ‘For them, a pidgin is a marginal language which arises to fulfil certain restricted communicative functions among groups with no common language.’
    • ‘The translation often arrives back in a kind of pidgin language, but people still understand.’
    • ‘Creolization can take place at any point during the pidgin's life cycle, ranging from a jargon to an expanded pidgin.’
    • ‘Pidgin, a mix of African languages and English, also is common throughout southern Nigeria.’
    • ‘A pidgin adopts the vocabulary of the dominant language in the area, which is then grafted onto a local grammar.’
    • ‘At times it almost sounds as though they're speaking some bizarre pidgin.’
    • ‘We mess up the English language with ebonics, Spanglish, Yiddish, Tagalog, and pidgin.’
    • ‘New hybrid languages, such as Creoles and pidgins, have been formed as a result of the modifications in languages that have been in contact.’
    language, dialect, patois, vernacular, mother tongue, native tongue, jargon, argot, cant, creole, lingua franca
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for Tok Pisin
      • ‘Melpa has over 60,000 speakers, and a portion of that population speaks Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language) as a second language.’
      • ‘Now known as Tok Pisin(" talk pidgin "), Melanesian Pidgin is spoken throughout Papua New Guinea.’
      • ‘Unlike many ethnographers of Papua New Guinea societies who worked in Pidgin, Margaret worked in the vernacular.’
      • ‘Brenner also supported the use of pidgin in the classroom.’
      • ‘Iatmul children and many adults are also fluent in Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language), one of the national languages of Papua New Guinea.’
      • ‘Some Motu also speak Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language) and English.’
      • ‘In Taiwan, it's Chinese; in Papua New Guinea, it's pidgin.’
      • ‘Now known as Tok Pisin, Melanesian Pidgin is spoken throughout Papua New Guinea.’
    2. 1.2as modifier Denoting a simplified form of a language, especially as used by a non-native speaker.
      ‘we exchanged greetings, communicating in pidgin Spanish’
      • ‘I am worried that I will end up speaking a variant of pidgin English, because so few people at work understand proper English.’
      • ‘He also admits that his pidgin English was a serious handicap.’
      • ‘Hollywood westerns regularly compel Native American characters to stammer their thoughts in pidgin English, even when conversing among themselves.’
      • ‘It was comical, I have managed with my pidgin English and Polish keep both parties happy.’
      • ‘With hundreds of traditional languages, literacy levels are low, including in the third official language, Bislama, a form of pidgin English.’
      • ‘After a meal of chicken and fries, I asked the waiter, in my pidgin Arabic, "Where is the disco?"’
      • ‘It is as sophisticated as pidgin English can be.’
      • ‘The staff was very friendly - went to a great deal of effort to understand our pidgin Japanese!’
      • ‘Monica Ali tells Hasina's part of the story through her letters to her sister in pidgin Bengali, rendered into pidgin English.’
      • ‘Many residents understand and/or speak a pidgin English, which has become a lingua franca in the west-central Pacific.’
      • ‘Yiddish is considered a combination of Hebrew and German - a sort of pidgin language.’
      • ‘Why do we spend six years learning French in schools to emerge in adulthood with pidgin Franglais?’
      • ‘They would sit around the table at night playing cards, nattering away in Italian and Anglo-Italian " pidgin ".’
      • ‘A few of the authors transliterated carelessly, even incorrectly, into a sort of pidgin German.’
      • ‘They will speak pidgin science much as they now speak pidgin French.’
      • ‘Her ridiculous pidgin English dialogue made her seem like a complete fool.’
      • ‘The peddler approaches the narrator adopting a pidgin English.’
      • ‘No matter that Pa's knowledge of Japanese was confined to mostly pidgin from the Occupation a little over a decade earlier.’
      • ‘However, the masses of the people prefer pidgin (popular) French, called Dioula.’
      • ‘I have heard well-meaning Bengalis complain that Vilayat Khan only spoke pidgin Bengali despite having spent a good part of his life in Kolkata.’

Origin

Late 19th century: Chinese alteration of English business.

Pronunciation

pidgin

/ˈpɪdʒɪn/