Butler English is the conventional name for a reduced and simplified variety of Indian English which has been characterized as a "minimal pidgin." This paper analyzes in detail the speech of 7 speakers (aged between 17 and 65) with a view to finding out, first, the salient features of this variety of English, second, the relationship between 19th and 20th century Butler English, and third, the source of the shared features. The texts revealed a dynamic mix of universal features of pidginization, folk beliefs about English, and incipient independent constructions. This mix indicates that Butler English is neither a "minimal pidgin" nor mere "broken language." It sheds interesting light on the origins of pidgins, but shows that attempts to "pidgin-hole" pidgin-like systems are doomed to failure.