In Chapter 1 we saw that pidgins were one possible outcome of language contact, while in Chapter 2 we saw that pidgins typically have simple grammars in comparison with the native languages of their speakers, and have a reduced vocabulary. We saw that these features make pidgins more accessible to language learners, but we did not have any explanation of how these features actually came to characterise a particular pidgin language. In this chapter we will look for an explanation of the typical characteristics of pidgins in terms of their origins. We know that pidgins come into being under somewhat unusual circumstances, which necessarily involve language contact. Are simplification of the grammar, and vocabulary reduction, always a result of a particular kind of language contact? What exactly are the conditions which give rise to languages with the kind of structure we have seen?
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