Introducing Sociolinguistics

By Rajend Mesthrie; Joan Swann et al. | Go to book overview

9
LANGUAGE CONTACT 2: PIDGINS,
CREOLES AND ‘NEW ENGLISHES’

9.1 INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, the theme of language contact is continued. We first present an extreme kind of contact which results in new languages. Under slavery especially, large numbers of people were able neither to maintain their ancestral languages nor to shift to the colonial language. Instead, they created new languages (pidgins and creoles) that were only partly based on the languages around them. We survey the circumstances in which such languages arise, with a special focus on the era of slavery. This chapter is also concerned with the structure of these languages and their similarities in different parts of the world. We examine the major explanations put forward by sociolinguists for such similarities. The kind of contact, under slavery especially, that gave rise to pidgins and creoles is contrasted with the acquisition and spread of languages of power and prestige under colonialism, especially varieties that have come to be called ‘New Englishes’.


9.2 PIDGINS AND CREOLES

This small swine he been go for market

This small swine he been stay for house

This small swine he been chop soup withi fufu

This small swine he no been chop no nothing

And this small swine he been go wee, wee sotei for house.1

(Glosses: chop ‘to eat or drink’
fufu ‘boiled balls of cassava, yams and plantain’
sotei ‘until’)

This version of ‘This Little Piggy’ recited by a speaker in Cameroon may seem highly unusual from the viewpoint of the conventions of ordinary written English. Yet sociolinguists, some of whom spend their working lives studying such forms of speech, conclude that they are systems in their

-271-

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Introducing Sociolinguistics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables, Maps and Figures x
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Note to Readers xxiv
  • 1 - Clearing the Ground- Basic Issues, Concepts and Approaches 1
  • 2 - Regional Dialectology 42
  • 3 - Social Dialectology 74
  • 4 - Language Variation and Change 109
  • 5 - Language Choice and Code-Switching 146
  • 6 - Language in Interaction 183
  • 7 - Gender and Language Use 213
  • 8 - Language Contact 1- Maintenance, Shift and Death 242
  • 9 - Language Contact 2- Pidgins, Creoles and ‘New Englishes’ 271
  • 10 - Critical Sociolinguistics- Approaches to Language and Power 309
  • 11 - Sociolinguistics and Education 344
  • 12 - Language Planning and Policy 371
  • 13 - The Sociolinguistics of Sign Language 407
  • Epilogue 440
  • Further Reading 445
  • Next Steps 449
  • Bibliography 450
  • Glossary 488
  • Index 491
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