creole language

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creole language

(krēōl`), any language that began as a pidginpidgin
, a lingua franca that is not the mother tongue of anyone using it and that has a simplified grammar and a restricted, often polyglot vocabulary. The earliest documented pidgin is the Lingua Franca (or Sabir) that developed among merchants and traders in the Mediterranean
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 but was later adopted as the mother tongue by a people in place of the original mother tongue or tongues. Examples are the GullahGullah
, a creole language formerly spoken by the Gullah, an African-American community of the Sea Islands and the Middle Atlantic coast of the United States. The word is probably a corruption of the African Gola or Gora,
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 of South Carolina and Georgia (based on English), the creole of Haiti (based on French), and the Papiamento of the Netherlands possessions in the West Indies (developed from pidgin Spanish and Portuguese). Similarities among creoles worldwide have led some linguists to speculate that they share a common origin, probably Sabir (see lingua francalingua franca
, an auxiliary language, generally of a hybrid and partially developed nature, that is employed over an extensive area by people speaking different and mutually unintelligible tongues in order to communicate with one another.
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); others attribute the similarities to universal laws governing human language.

Bibliography

See D. Hymes, ed., Pidginization and Creolization of Languages (1971); J. Holm, Pidgins and Creoles (2 vol., 1988–89) and An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles (2000); S. Romaine, Pidgin and Creole Languages (1988).