A pidgin (pronounced /ˈpɪdʒɪn/) language is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups). Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language. A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or body language from multiple other languages and cultures. Pidgins usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.
Not all simplified or "broken" forms of a language (patois) are pidgins. Each pidgin has its own norms of usage which must be learned for proficiency in the pidgin.
The origin of the word pidgin is uncertain. The first time pidgin appeared in print was in 1850 and there are many sources from which the word may be derived. For example:
The word pidgin, formerly also spelled pigion, originally used to describe Chinese Pidgin English, was later generalized to refer to any pidgin. Pidgin may also be used as the specific name for local pidgins or creoles, in places where they are spoken. For example, the name of Tok Pisin derives from the English words talk pidgin. Its speakers usually refer to it simply as "pidgin" when speaking English.
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