A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common, in situations such as trade. Pidgins are not the native language of any speech community, but are instead learned as second languages. Pidgins usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.


The creation of a pidgin usually requires:

  • Prolonged, regular contact between the different language communities
  • A need to communicate between them
  • An absence of (or absence of widespread proficiency in) a widespread, accessible interlanguage

It is often posited that pidgins become creole languages when a generation whose parents speak pidgin to each other teach it to their children as their first language. Creoles can then replace the existing mix of languages to become the native language of a community (such as Krio in Sierra Leone and Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea). However, not all pidgins become creole languages; a pidgin may die out before this phase would occur.

The verb

Since a Pidgin strives to be a simple and effective form of communication, the grammar, phonology, etc, are as simple as possible. In regard to verbs this means:

  • No tones, such as those found in West African and Asian languages
  • Use of separate words to indicate tense, usually preceding the verb
  • A lack of morphophonemic variation


Pidgin languages in WikiVerb

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