of different kinds
of Language Varieties:
A pidgin is a new language
which develops in situations where speakers of different
languages need to communicate but don't share a common
language. The vocabulary of a pidgin comes mainly from
one particular language (called the 'lexifier'). An early
'pre-pidgin' is quite restricted in use and variable in
structure. But the later 'stable pidgin' develops its own
grammatical rules which are quite different from those of
Once a stable pidgin has
emerged, it is generally learned as a second language and
used for communication among people who speak different
languages. Examples are Nigerian Pidgin and Bislama
(spoken in Vanuatu).
When children start learning a
pidgin as their first language and it becomes the mother
tongue of a community, it is called a creole. Like a
pidgin, a creole is a distinct language which has taken
most of its vocabulary from another language, the
lexifier, but has its own unique grammatical rules.
Unlike a pidgin, however, a creole is not restricted in
use, and is like any other language in its full range of
functions. Examples are Gullah, Jamaican Creole and
Hawai`i Creole English.
Note that the words 'pidgin'
and 'creole' are technical terms used by linguists, and
not necessarily by speakers of the language. For example,
speakers of Jamaican Creole call their language 'Patwa'
(from patois) and speakers of Hawai`i Creole English call
A regional dialect is not a
distinct language but a variety of a language spoken in a
particular area of a country. Some regional dialects have
been given traditional names which mark them out as being
significantly different from standard varieties spoken in
the same place. Some examples are 'Hillbilly English'
(from the Appalachians in the USA) and 'Geordie' (from
Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK).
Sometimes members of a
particular minority ethnic group have their own variety
which they use as a marker of identity, usually alongside
a standard variety. This is called a minority dialect.
Examples are African American Vernacular English in the
USA, London Jamaican in Britain, and Aboriginal English
Indigenized varieties are
spoken mainly as second languages in ex-colonies with
multilingual populations. The differences from the
standard variety may be linked to English proficiency, or
may be part of a range of varieties used to express
identity. For example, 'Singlish' (spoken in Singapore)
is a variety very different from standard English, and
there are many other varieties of English used in