Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to pidgin: Pidgin English


(pĭj`ən), a 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.
..... Click the link for more information.
 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 in the Middle Ages; it remained in use through the 19th cent. Other known pidgins have been employed in different regions since the 17th cent. An example is the variety of pidgin English that resulted from contacts between English traders and the Chinese in Chinese ports. In fact, the word pidgin supposedly is a Chinese (Cantonese) corruption of the English word business. Another well-known form of pidgin English is the Beach-la-Mar (or Bêche-de-Mer) of the South Seas. The different kinds of pidgin English have preserved the basic grammatical features of English, at the same time incorporating a number of non-English syntactical characteristics. The great majority of words in pidgin English are of English origin, but there are also Malay, Chinese, and Portuguese elements. As a result of European settlers bringing to the Caribbean area large numbers of slaves from West Africa who spoke different languages, other pidgins evolved in that region that were based on English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Spanish. Examples of pidgins based on non-European languages are Chinook, once used by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, and Lingua Gêral, based on a Native American language and used in Brazil. The Krio language of Sierra Leone and Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea are examples of creoles, pidgins that have acquired native speakers. See also creole languagecreole language
, any language that began as a pidgin but was later adopted as the mother tongue by a people in place of the original mother tongue or tongues. Examples are the Gullah of South Carolina and Georgia (based on English), the creole of Haiti (based on French), and
..... Click the link for more information.


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).

References in periodicals archive ?
Nigerian Pidgin or 'broken English' is a linguistic bridge that unites the tribes.
This interethnic and interactional function of the Nigerian Pidgin particularly becomes more important in the Nigerian context, where the choice of one of the so called "major" languages often generates unhealthy rivalry and suspicion among speakers of other languages.
First, like Pidgin, my Davao-speak is never inferior to any language, and I am proud I speak it.
Charles referred to his Pidgin name "ambawan pikinini bilong misis kwin" - the number one child belonging to Mrs Queen - to cheers and applause.
Camacho Souza (1982: 14), describing the language situation for these first generation immigrants and their children, states: "The first generation spoke Spanish, then Pidgin English and some Hawaiian.
Temitayo Amao, in the fourth article examines the place of Nigerian Pidgin among a section of Nigerian undergraduates with a view to drawing some generalizable conclusions regarding the use of pidgin among Nigerian university students.
Like calling each other 'daddy', and affectionately texting in pidgin French as if they were in the cast of 'Allo 'Allo.
Christina Higgins describes the efforts of Da Pidgin Coup, an advocacy group for Hawai'i Creole, locally known as Pidgin.
Thought the English was all pidgin! Whilst Barnacles and Canadas just wanted black and white.
"The president persuaded me to try in pidgin Italian.