Definition of pidgin in English:

pidgin

noun

  • 1often as modifier A grammatically simplified form of a language, used for communication between people not sharing a common language. Pidgins have a limited vocabulary, some elements of which are taken from local languages, and are not native languages, but arise out of language contact between speakers of other languages.

    Compare with Creole (sense 2 of the noun)
    • ‘Another characteristic of pidgins is lexical impoverishment.’
    • ‘A creole is a nativized pidgin, expanded in form and function to meet the communicative needs of a community of native speakers.’
    • ‘Creolization can take place at any point during the pidgin's life cycle, ranging from a jargon to an expanded pidgin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lexical items in pidgin languages tend to cover a wider semantic domain than in the base language.’
    • ‘A pidgin adopts the vocabulary of the dominant language in the area, which is then grafted onto a local grammar.’
    • ‘Pidgins, especially early in their development, rely primarily on nouns and verbs.’
    • ‘This theory asserts a common origin for all European-based pidgins.’
    • ‘They will create a new pidgin language that has a Spanish syntax, just as English is based on an Anglo-Saxon syntax.’
    • ‘On a discursive level, writers who utilize Taglish and Pidgin validate these languages as literary mediums of cultural expression.’
    • ‘At present, therefore, no single theory can adequately explain the origin of pidgin language.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we all know, our pidgin dialect lacks the elegance and grace of the Queen's English.’
    • ‘We mess up the English language with ebonics, Spanglish, Yiddish, Tagalog, and pidgin.’
    • ‘Kriol is also a pidgin, but has evolved into a separate language with its own structures and methods of orthography.’
    • ‘At times it almost sounds as though they're speaking some bizarre pidgin.’
    • ‘His academic specialty is language change and language contact, with a concentration on pidgin and Creole languages.’
    • ‘Such a language will be rootless and will evolve within decades into some kind of 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.’
    • ‘For them, a pidgin is a marginal language which arises to fulfil certain restricted communicative functions among groups with no common language.’
    • ‘Only at a later stage in its development does the pidgin develop productive internal resources for expanding its lexicon.’
    • ‘The author's brief and unhelpful comments make it sound like a pidgin.’
    • ‘There is, however, some disagreement among scholars over the number of languages in sufficient contact to produce a pidgin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pidgin, a mix of African languages and English, also is common throughout southern Nigeria.’
    • ‘The translation often arrives back in a kind of pidgin language, but people still understand.’
    • ‘On German plantations and wherever individuals speaking different languages met, a pidgin language referred to as Neo-Melanesian or Melanesian Pidgin developed.’
    • ‘Some linguists classify the Gullah language, spoken in the North Carolina islands, as a pidgin that is based on West African syntax.’
    • ‘Pinker and Jackendoff argue that modern language may have emerged from an ancient pidgin through evolutionary fine-tuning.’
    • ‘One characteristic of pidgins is the lack of inflectional morphology.’
    • ‘So far, none of the gang appeared to speak any English, but now he uttered a few words in a broken pidgin.’
    • ‘Other investigators argue that only in cases where more than two languages are in contact do true pidgins spring up.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    language, dialect, patois, vernacular, mother tongue, native tongue, jargon, argot, cant, creole, lingua franca
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for Tok Pisin
      • ‘In Taiwan, it's Chinese; in Papua New Guinea, it's pidgin.’
      • ‘Melpa has over 60,000 speakers, and a portion of that population speaks Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language) as a second language.’
      • ‘Some Motu also speak Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language) and English.’
      • ‘Now known as Tok Pisin(" talk pidgin "), Melanesian Pidgin is spoken throughout Papua New Guinea.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Brenner also supported the use of pidgin in the classroom.’
      • ‘Unlike many ethnographers of Papua New Guinea societies who worked in Pidgin, Margaret worked in the vernacular.’
      • ‘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 nonnative speaker.
      ‘we exchanged greetings, communicating in pidgin Spanish’
      • ‘He also admits that his pidgin English was a serious handicap.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘No matter that Pa's knowledge of Japanese was confined to mostly pidgin from the Occupation a little over a decade earlier.’
      • ‘It was comical, I have managed with my pidgin English and Polish keep both parties happy.’
      • ‘Yiddish is considered a combination of Hebrew and German - a sort of pidgin language.’
      • ‘With hundreds of traditional languages, literacy levels are low, including in the third official language, Bislama, a form of pidgin English.’
      • ‘Why do we spend six years learning French in schools to emerge in adulthood with pidgin Franglais?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a meal of chicken and fries, I asked the waiter, in my pidgin Arabic, "Where is the disco?"’
      • ‘They will speak pidgin science much as they now speak pidgin French.’
      • ‘However, the masses of the people prefer pidgin (popular) French, called Dioula.’
      • ‘The peddler approaches the narrator adopting a pidgin English.’
      • ‘A few of the authors transliterated carelessly, even incorrectly, into a sort of pidgin German.’
      • ‘I am worried that I will end up speaking a variant of pidgin English, because so few people at work understand proper English.’
      • ‘Monica Ali tells Hasina's part of the story through her letters to her sister in pidgin Bengali, rendered into pidgin English.’
      • ‘Hollywood westerns regularly compel Native American characters to stammer their thoughts in pidgin English, even when conversing among themselves.’
      • ‘Many residents understand and/or speak a pidgin English, which has become a lingua franca in the west-central Pacific.’
      • ‘Her ridiculous pidgin English dialogue made her seem like a complete fool.’
      • ‘They would sit around the table at night playing cards, nattering away in Italian and Anglo-Italian " pidgin ".’

Origin

Late 19th century: Chinese alteration of English business.

Pronunciation

pidgin

/ˈpijən//ˈpɪdʒən/