The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview
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Gastarbeiterdeutsch, "Foreign Workers' German": An Industrial Pidgin
GLENN G. GILBER AND PAVLOS PAVLOUThe linguistic make-up of pidgin languages reflects the social forces which brought such languages into being and the discourse functions in which they were used. As far as we know, it was the Australian sociolinguist Michael Clyne who first proposed that Gastarbeiterdeutsch (GAD) could be considered a pidgin language (Clyne, 1968). In order to understand how what we call "industrial pidgins," like GAD, are related to other languages that are more traditionally thought of as pidgins, we offer the following typology of social relationships that distinguish at least six categories of pidgins:
1. slave pidgins, as, for example, Guinea Coast and New World African Pidgin English (NWAPE), the precursor of the "Atlantic Creoles";
2. indentured labor plantation and mining pidgins, such as Hawaiian Pidgin English, Town Bemba (Zambia), Fanagalo ( South Africa);
3. industrial labor pidgins, for instance, Gastarbeiterdeutsch (GAD), Foreign Workers' Dutch, Foreign Workers' French;
4. military pidgins, such as Juba Arabic Pidgin ( Sudan), Bamboo English ( Japan; Korea);
5. trading pidgins, such as Chinese Pidgin English ( South China Sea), Russenorsk (attic Norway and adjacent parts of Russia), Chinese Pidgin Russian (Kjachta, Manchuria);
6. full pidgins, for example, Tok Pisin ( Papua New Guinea), Weskos ( Cameroon Pidgin English), Chinook Jargon (Pacific Northwest: United States and Canada)

The first three -- slave, indentured, and industrial -- are distinguished by the nature of the power relationship between overseers and laborers. The masterslave condition involves the smallest degree of voluntarism and the most


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The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society
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