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The history of pidgin begins in the early 19th century in the South China city of Guangzhou. Chinese merchants interacting with English speakers on the docks in this port adopted and modified the word business in a way that, by century's end, had become pidgin. The word itself then became the descriptor of the unique communication used by people who speak different languages. Pidgins generally consist of small vocabularies (Chinese Pidgin English has only 700 words), but some have grown to become a group's native language. Examples include Sea Island Creole (spoken in
Origin and Etymology of pidgin
First Known Use: 1869
PIDGIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pidgin for English Language Learners
: a language that is formed from a mixture of several languages when speakers of different languages need to talk to each other
Learn More about pidgin
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pidgin
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