What are Creoles and Pidgins? And What`s the Difference?

What are Creoles and Pidgins? And What`s the Difference?

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the LangFocus channel,
and my name is Paul. Today we are going to talk about
the language of pigeons. Not funny, bro. Sorry, I know that joke isn’t very good,
but that’s all I’ve got. Today, I’m going to talk about some special kind
of languages, called Pidgins and Creoles. You’ve probably heard thoses terms before. Maybe in the names of certain languages,
like Pidgin English or Haitian Creole, but please note, there is not just a single
pidgin language or a single creole language. They are actually refering to categories of languages. There are many pidgins
and many creoles around the world. First, what do they have in common? Well, Pidgins and Creoles
are new languages that developped when speakers of different languages come into contact
with each other and have a need to communicate. Many Pidgins and Creoles have arisen when
colonial powers came into contact with local people, as they spread around the world. So, what is the difference between Pidgins and Creoles? Well, Pidgins are non native lingua francas
while Creoles have native speakers. But let me get into both types of languages. Okay First of all, pidgin languages. As I just mentioned,
pidgin languages have no native speakers. They are languages
that arise very suddenly, very quickly, when there is a need of communication
in a certain situation. For example, for trade or for labour. The Pidgin language is a sort of compromise between
two different languages or between multiple languages. Pidgins usually arise when one group of people is
dominant over another group of people, and the less dominant group needs to learn
to communicate with the more dominant group. But, without any formal education
in the language of that dominant group, they adopt a sort of simplified language based on the
most basic vocabulary of that dominant group’s language and based on the most basic grammar
of their own native language. This happens most commonly in situations
of trade, slavery or colonial contact. And in a situation like that, the dominant group is usually
the colonial power or the most influential trading partner. Imagine this situation: an English-speaking
colonial power has a sugar plantation and they bring over labourers from various
different countries to that sugar plantation and those people speak different languages. But, in order to work together,
they need to have a common language. So they try to adopt English, but since they do this quickly,
and they just adopt the basics, the resulting language is a very simplified language,
just using the basic vocabulary of English and a very non English grammar.
That is a Pidgin language. Got it! When Pidgins first developped,
they are typically restricted in use. Meaning that they are only used for a certain purpose.
For example, on the job or for trade. But some Pidgins become expanded Pidgins, meaning
that they begin to be used for all facettes of life including social life, family life, things like that,
and they become languages in their own rights. Even though they are not native languages,
they are passed down from generation to generation as lingua francas among people
who speak different native languages Now about Creole languages. So, Pidgins have no native speakers. They arise because the need for a lingua franca, but if that language survives and becomes
the native language of the next generation, then it is now a Creole language. For example, slaves from several different countries
are working closely together on a plantation, but they have no common language. So, they develop their Pidgin
and it quickly becomes their expanded Pidgin, the language they use for all everyday purposes. Their children grow up in that environment with
that Pidgin language and it becomes their native language. That is now a Creole language. In the days when African slaves
were brought to the Americas, they were often separated from people
who spoke the same native language. That was to prevent them from rebelling
or from making plans together, that kind of things. So, in those kinds of situations,
the Pidgin languages became expanded very quickly and, within one generation,
sometimes became Creoles. Some Creoles are based on English.
For example, Jamaican Creole. Some Creoles are based on French, Including Haitian Creole,
which has 12 million native speakers. And the smaller number of Creole languages
are based on Spanish, including Chavacano, in the Philippines. Now, how different are these Creole languages
from their parent languages? Well, it depends of the particular language;
but let’s look at an example. This example is from Bislamá, which is
an English-based Creole spoken in Vanuatu. The first sentence is “This is my house” In Bislamá: “Hem ya haos blong mi”. Or in more Standard English phonology :
“Him here house belong me” Another example sentence:
“I have already been to town” In Bislamá: “Mi bin long taon finis”. Or in Standard English phonology :
“Me been long town finish” So look at each word : “Mi” is like “I”,
“bin”, that’s self-explanatory. “long” is used as a preposition here instead
of an adjective. So “long” means “towards” or “to” And then, we have “taon”, that is like “town” and “finis”. “finis” is used instead of “already”
to show that something has been accomplished. So, again you can see that the words are from English but they are used and arranged in a very different way, and this is what makes it a different language
than the parent language. Pidgins and Creoles are fascinating because they are
proof that languages are living entities, that are constantly changing and adapting
to the needs of their speakers. Sometimes, two or more languages can even join forces
and take on a life of their own as a new language. Thank you for watching. Be sure to leave your comments down below. And have a nice day.

100 thoughts on “What are Creoles and Pidgins? And What`s the Difference?

  • Bhashini Bandara Post author

    It was an useful programme ..thankyou sir

  • Rania Mimoune Post author

    You helped me a lot understanding my linguistic lesson about pidgins ana creoles

  • ana djazayri Post author

    You are a great man. I am a French-Arabic native speaker. I'll be glad if I can help somehow.

  • Kate Apted Post author

    Hey Paul, I wonder if there are pockets of expats who make their own current Creole etc of languages such as Mandarin, Indonesian? I find the Balinese get a puzzled look over my Indonesian, yet the Sasak of Lombok get my meaning, yet it is the same language. I find most english speaking expats use and understand Indonesian in much the same grammatical structure. If I speak to Malays, they just ignore me and revert to English. 😂

  • Darshini Post author

    Awesome video!

  • Nothy Saint Post author

    I am from Solomon Islands and pidjin is my second language. As long as you know English, then you can speak pidjin easily. For example the English sentence " where are you going?" in pidjin is written as " You go lo wea?……lo means " to" in English. Pidjin is just simplified English. It is a spoken language not a written language. We don't learn pidjin like English. Pidjin is widely spoken by the Melanesian countrys in the South Pacific.

  • Elizabeth Maxwell Post author

    wow! it has helped alot

  • Jade Post author

    thank you so much

  • Prabha Chaturvedi Post author

    Thanks a lot for pigeon and creo le
    You made it very easy.

  • Dad Post author

    Urdu is a creole.

  • Karim Blix Post author

    So Urdu is a Creole?

  • Ghost Askren's Post author

    Language is fascinating.

  • C DS Post author

    This is so fascinating, I would like to see you make a language on sociolect, thank you! Your videos really inspired me to take up linguistic in my University.

  • Esthelle Walimu Post author

    Is Tok boi a creole or pidgin ?

  • Pixel Bytes Post author

    So Chinglish is like a light creole?

  • Amel Megeullati Post author

    thanks a lot for the simplifications and the effort

  • Полина Бродская Post author

    Languages are amazing! Thanks for this video, Paul!

  • Dyivu Lee Post author

    Mi wach dis finis!! 😄😄😄

  • Vicki Bee Post author

    Having been half-German I always thought it was pronounced Pid' gin with a hard G. German doesn't have a soft G unless the word is foreign. but even 'gymnasium,' in German, is pronounced with a hard G. They can't say the soft G, or my fully German (and raised in Germany) boyfriend can't. He also can't say words with 'th' in them the way English people do. He pronounced 'thigh' as tie. It's even more difficult if there's an r following the h: like in three, through, threat, throw, etc.

  • UniversalPowers Post author

    Tankiu tumas brata mi laikem video blong yu. Yu mekem mi jes antastanem difrens bitwin creole mo pidgin. So bislama emi wan creole language rait? Tuff tumas!

  • Ghadeer Adel Post author

    what are the changes a pidgin language undergoes when it develops to a creole?

  • David G Sasmita Post author

    Awsome video

  • Aisha Alsaeedi Post author

    Wow, I really didn't understand it that well from my professor but when I watched your video I got what do pidgins and creoles mean, thnx.

  • Firdawsiya Saly Post author

    Well explained. Thanks

  • Imo and Izzy Vlogs Post author

    Very interesting indeed. Thanks from our little homeschool!

  • Ali Cem Post author

    i like your jokes asdggdhgds

  • Alesso Post author

    Hi, Paul. I have some questions. How long does it take for these pidgins to arise? Are they considered constructed languages? Does somebody what if you put together a group of Russians and Mexicans, how would they create a pidgin Cool videos

  • l l Post author

    Can you explain what the universal grammar is that all creoles use?

  • Oliver Estrada Post author


  • Aparna Sagar Post author

    You've made things so simple.. Easy to catch. Thanks :))))

  • abhinav dubey Post author

    Awesome ..crisp n clear…thanks a lot dude.!!

  • Leszek Sikora Post author

    Yiddish, Knaanic, Yevanic and Ladino

  • Phranger Post author

    The aim of the Party is to control everything. By creating a language like Newspeak, they can control the people. They can eliminate words like ‘rebellion’ and in time the meaning would be forgotten. Similarly they could remove or change the meanings of different words to assist the power invested in Big Brother. Newspeak will remove the ability to develop any negative thoughts. If the language is taken away from the people, they will not be able to form ideas to challenge the Party.

  • Sarah Vincent Post author

    Great job

  • Andrea Cristina Post author

    Grazie! So useful! Tomorrow I'll show this video to my students!
    Very well explained!

  • faiza malik Post author

    So easy.. Thank you

  • Eirini Vasileiadou Post author

    That was a great explanation. Thank you!!!

  • Fati Meknouni Post author

    Thank you so much .

  • Shafayat Ullah Post author

    Really good one

  • Shivoz Post author

    What an explanation hatya off 🎩

  • Shayma Gardi Post author

    Thank you!

  • John Golan Post author

    Hi Paul,

    In case you had never seen it, there are a number of studies – first put forward by linguist Derek Bickerton in the 1980s – which utilized creole languages to study how languages evolve, and as evidence that the human brain is programmed from birth to anticipate and expect a language.

    The underlying argument is that creole languages share certain grammatical features with each other, that points to a pre-programmed origin.

    There’s a short article on the subject on Wikipedia, but the original scholarly studies are much more detailed and interesting.

  • Sneha D Post author


  • Savitha Dayananda Post author

    Thank you

  • Katherine Lou Post author

    I liked your Pidgin joke, Paul


    Thank you Sir.. your explanation is very good..

  • Oratio G Post author

    Always interesting.

  • Romeo Daniels Post author

    So sranan tongo (Surinamese or Dutch Creole) was a pidgin language which is now the lingua franca after Dutch in the country. Recently this dialect has evolved from one language to more due to different cultures integrating within the country such as Portuguese(Brazil), Spanish(Colombia, Venezuela, Dominica, Dominican Republic) French , Hakka & Mandarin(Chinese), adopted forms of bahasa and hindi. There are a lot more but too much to even begin. Dutch is the main language followed closely by Sranan tongo while the other languages are either second or main languages to their respective people. But even now it’s considered creole but also pidgin because that’s the first language foreigners or immigrants learn or communicate in.

  • William Thompson Post author

    Fascinating, how did I go 40 years not knowing this.

  • Lynn Mokua Post author

    thank you so much

  • Rinchen Dolma Post author

    Thankyou !!

  • Caribbean Empress Post author

    Great video… You explained this perfectly. This supplemented my reading nicely.

  • Corrado Campisano Post author

    @0:52 look: an army and a navy carried in the new language…

  • Corrado Campisano Post author

    @1:24 like Esperanto?
    it didn't get much traction….

  • Corrado Campisano Post author

    @1:43 so a pidgin language has:
    – simplified "imperial" vocabulary
    – simplified "victis" grammar

    BTW: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vae_victis

  • Corrado Campisano Post author

    @3:15 so creole is 2nd generation, with expanded-use, pidgin…

    I expected some symmetry and there's not, right?

    I mean, imagine language born with:
    – simplified "imperial" grammar
    – simplified "victis" vocabulary
    there had been any of those?

  • Corrado Campisano Post author

    @5:18 maybe it's both (software):
    and (hardware):

    BTW: that may apply to the other comment where I mentioned the latter only…

  • Paknga kena123 Post author

    I never been heard this language before thanks for lecturing

  • Rhythm Ahluwalia Post author

    Amazing 👏very helpful video

  • nidhi Kagra Post author

    Very helpful 😍

  • Azam Mohammed Post author

    I am a native English Creole speaker (Ai duz tork creeyol). It's hard to write it properly.

  • TheRedfox909 Post author

    They should learn the language before coming to the land we live on pigon makes no sence in english and the other ones

  • Giovanni Spagnoli Post author

    So good, very clear

  • RORO Post author

    Sierra Leone Krio

  • J P Post author


  • MC King Post author

    Ya taak dees e entresting. Dees chanel e good.

  • Romisha Chakraborty Post author

    maeeenn..ih love you…i love d way you explained d whole thing😍

  • Ghidaa Abu Ahmad Post author

    You make it clearer now, thanks a lot.

  • solidus784 Post author

    If anyone here is high and fancies a giggle check out BBC pidgin.

  • Honey Bautista Post author


  • Yeol Mae Post author

    Thank you for a very informative video

  • Green Snail Post author

    To the best of my knowledge, there ARE two more widely known Creole Languages: Yiddish (made via the meeting between West Slavic – possibly Sorbian? – local speakers and German eastward-expanding speakers) and Swahili (East-African Languages meeting Arabic).

  • Laura Fragoso Post author

    You explain things so well! Thank you

  • Laura Fragoso Post author

    You’re a great teacher!

  • JPPureCandy Post author

    I laughed at the pigeon joke.

  • Ralf Siegesmund Post author

    Dear Paul, you are awesome, thank you for sharing your knowledge about your passion.

  • Cornel Paraschiv Post author

    Mixed languages is one of the most interesting process. This kind of languages are a proof of two population who cooperate very well first all, and they are ready to exchange values, the positive ones.

  • underdog raby Post author

    Speaking in creole and not speaking in Cape Verde its a fault

  • Liebe Jesus Post author

    Singlish ?

  • Liebe Jesus Post author

    Africaans ?

  • Basit Saliu Post author

    Nigerian Pidgin>>>every other Pidgins

  • Ken Gillespie Post author

    Hey @Langfocus, are there any pidgins or creoles that are a combination of 3 or more languages?

  • Maka Ayan Post author

    I'm from the English part of Cameroon. Most of us speak what we call pidgin English from birth. From what you say, it is hence a creole. We speak almost thesame language as in Nigeria and parts of Ghana. But our pidgin very closely resembles English. For example: I commot for play football. I'm just coming from a football match.
    We never call this a creole though. We just call it pidgin English

  • Cee Jay Post author

    What doesn't this guy no?

  • Anton Marek Post author

    Thank you indeed. You have explained something that I kept thinking about for too long and couldn't find a proper word to call. In the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, USE… etc) millions of workers from many different countries with different languages (Tagalog, Bahasa, Urdu, Pashto, Indian, Persian, Amharic …. etc) needed to communicate, so they came up with a deformed type of Arabic. Thank you again Paul. 👍👍

  • allyourcode Post author

    Whether there are native speakers seems like an arbitrary distinction. What makes that difference so important that there are two separate terms? What are the consequences of having native speakers vs. not (besides that we call them differently)?

  • Mousa Hazazi Post author

    I’m from Saudi Arabia but I studied English in the school but in street I talk creole language

  • Gemala Cempaka Hapsari Post author

    Hi Paul, I'm just curious.. You're using the era of slavery for explaining pidgin language.. What about today? Is there any new pidgin language? Is there any surviving pidgin language that stays pidgin and not becoming creole?? Thanks for your videos (they are always awesome to watch).

  • Malik Hasan Post author

    Could you say Urdu-Hindi is essentially a creole language?

  • RJ3220 Post author

    My wife speaks Creole from the French Island of Reunion

  • belony forsaint Post author

    mwen se yon ayisyen mwen byen kontan travay ou a

  • Life is pain Post author

    The best creole is Belter Creole

  • Melissa Robateau Post author

    I'm Belizean, our creole is easier to understand.

  • Vladimir Mesidor Post author

    Mwen fyè deske'm se haitian m'pale creole 🇭🇹🇭🇹

  • Vera Jandt Post author

    In the Tagalog-English example it seems to me that the speakers use english mostly for superficial idioms that you say without a lot of thinking. In the tag switching example, yes to draw attention, but also to think of what to say exactly and to already occupy 'talking space' while doing this thinking. In the whole sentences they also use common sayings, not personally crafted seentences. To me this seems they intend to sound more distanced and cool.
    So in both situations, the english parts does not seem more emotional but less emontional and personal than the tagalog parts.

  • Timothy Rice Post author

    Hey Paul, I've been a big fan of the channel for a long while and just wanted you to know that we had to watch this video in a college class I'm taking now. It's about teaching second languages and it has a mix of seniors and grad students. Keep up the scholarly-good work!

  • Ishika hamilton Post author

    informative and straight forward 👍👍👍

  • urwa cheema Post author


  • Jose Sagredo Post author

    I just read an article on BBC Pidgim. I laughed at first as it is weird that google recomended an article like that. I genuinely thought it was bad grammar now I know what it is. It is still hilarious though.

  • Ryan Nugraha Post author

    thankyou so much so helpful for my assignment.

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