Pidgins and creoles arise when groups with different linguistic backgrounds are thrown together develop a simplified language so they can communicate with each other. Often these languages graft words and grammar from each native language in the mix, while simplifying phonology and grammatical structure. A pidgin may be a rudimentary "Me Tarzan, you Jane" system, the kind of thing that may be used among traders who only need the bare bones to communicate. However if a community using a pidgin continues to grow, which children learning it as a first language, it inevitably gains rules and structures and becomes a creole. Creoles have arisen throughout the world, often as a result of colonization and slavery. Creoles were ignored by linguists for many decades, but creoles have come to be recognized as rich and valid languages in their own right. Many have developed grammatical structures which were not features of any parent language, indicating the innovativeness of natural human language. Some creoles have even become the official language of nations, such as Tok Pisin in New Guinea. Unlike the other comparison pages on this site, this page does not show languages which have some genetic relationship, for creoles have arisen out of many language combinations. Rather this page is intended to gather together the fruits of this remarkable kind of language origin. I would love to add more creoles to this site, such as Bislama, Krio, Papiamento, and Singlish.


Orthography and transcription

Tok Pisin:

Mi no inap toktok tok pisin, tasol em i wanpela gutpela toktok.