chapter  4
30 Pages

Pidgins and creoles

Much has been written about the social role of pidgin languages of individual territories and we have numerous comments on the close association between pidgins and imperialist policies. However, the standard view has remained more or less that of Reinecke (1937a: 537), of a ‘supplementary tongue for special forms of intercourse’, that is, pidgins are languages supplementary to existing languages. Their main function is seen as being to enable communication between insiders and outsiders (for instance ‘visiting’ Europeans and indigenous populations) or between indigenous groups brought into closer contact by a colonial administration, contact described as the result of ‘pax germanica, pax britannica’ and so forth.