Pidgin Languages Essay

1772 words - 7 pages

Pidgin languages -Nigerian pidgin -Naijá"Language is so tightly woven into human experience that it is scarcely possible to imagine life without it." (Pinker, 1994).Communication is an essential part of human life. It accompanies us in our personal, social and professional life. Language is undoubtedly a fundamental means of communication between people. Some linguists estimate that at present there are about 6000 or more languages all over the world, thus what happens when two different cultures with different languages come into contact with each other?What is pidgin language?Colonization, trade between countries and even imprisonment in concentration camps caused that people felt the need to bridge the communication gap. Because they had no common language they started use limited or a simplified forms of the language that is called a pidgin. This type of language omitted complicated grammar, used fewer words of areas of common interest. Although, it is a language with its own linguistic system, there must be said that nobody speaks a pidgin as their first language. Pidgin language is a blend of the vocabulary of one major language with the grammar with one or more other languages. The major language is usually language of the major colonial power, such as French, English or Portuguese. The large number of slaves from different language backgrounds, who came from West Africa, gave rise to a number of pidgins based on English, French and Portuguese. However, there are pidgins that are not based on languages of the colonial power, for example those that are spoken in parts of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Because of the limited function of pidgin languages they have usually short duration, rarely more than several decades. They disappear when the purpose for which they were created extinguishes. Andreas states that: The degree of development and sophistication attained by such a pidgin depends on the type and intensity of communicative interaction among its users. ( Arends, 1995, p.3) For example, Pidgin Russian spoken in Manchuria between Russian and Chinese, disappeared when Russian settlers left China after World War II. ( Arends, 1995, p.6)If a pidgin survives, and becomes the main language of any community, the next generation of speakers learns it as their first language. This type of language is called a creole language and as opposed to pidgin it expresses culture of the nation.Nigerian Pidgin -NaijáNigeria, also known as "the Giant of Africa", is the most populous country in Africa. It has a population of more than 168 million people, thus the country is a combination of ethnically diverse groups of people speaking over 500 different languages. There is not a single language in Nigeria. It significantly varies according to the different areas. On the south-west, Lagos and neighboring states is influenced by Joruba language on southeast by Ibo language and by Hausa language on the north. Nigerians commonly can...

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