9. Pidginisation and creolisation

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A simplified variety of a language may come about as an “emergency language” for communicative functions in multilingual settings where speakers with different linguistic backgrounds meet. These so-called pidginised forms emerge essentially between second-language learners for whom the input from the contact jargon is insufficient to become fluent speakers. Moreover, such contact media typically are learned by adults, usually in contexts of broader communication. Pidginisation thus results from incomplete acquisition of a grammar and lexicon, i.e. the learning of a language “in chunks”. This chapter discusses the social conditions under which such processes take place, and it also analyses the linguistic outcome of this contact phenomenon, including the development of pidginised language forms into fully-fledged (“creolised”) grammatical systems.


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