Thursday, 5 November 2009

Vernacular, pidgin, and creole languages in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has more languages than any other country on earth; of the 6909 languages listed at, 841 are in this relatively small country with only six million people. The overwhelming majority are vernacular languages, that is, the indigenous languages of the aboriginal people, usually called "tok ples" in Papua New Guinea. A few are introduced languages, such as English.

The rest are pidgin and creole languages, including two of the three national languages, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu. Pidgin languages arise when people of different languages come together for work or trade who have no common language. They often come about as a result of colonisation. Sometimes these languages become the mother tongue of young children, in which case they are called creole languages these creole languagess must be develop into full languages as the children grow and express themselves in the creole

In later posts I'll talk about the two Papua New Guinean pidgin and creole languages I've worked with, Unserdeutsch (Rabaul Creole German) and Tok Pisin (New Guinea Pidgin English).

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