[b-hebrew] Fw: Aramaic to them?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Mar 9 18:29:50 EST 2004

On 09/03/2004 13:59, Karl Randolph wrote:

>English has a history that makes it difficult 
>to compare with other languages: already the 
>English as used by Chaucer was a pidgin 
>language, a combination of French and Old 
>English. As I understand the process, pidgin 
>languages always involve simplification. And 
>now modern English is becoming the pidgin for 
>the world, combined with the fact that the 
>government schools, particularly here in the 
>U.S.A. are doing a terrible job of teaching 
>English, with the result of a tremendous 
>pressure to simplify the language further.
Karl, I don't want to continue this indefinitely. I just want to point 
out that here you are using a rather oversimplified definition of a 
pidgin language. Pidgins are not simplifications, they are separate 
languages formed by using the vocabulary of one language with the 
grammar of another. But if a pidgin becomes the mother tongue of a 
community, it is called instead a creole. Now arguably Middle English 
started as some kind of pidgin of mostly Old English vocabulary and 
mostly Norman French grammar. But by Chaucer's time it was certainly not 
a pidgin, although possibly a creole. As for modern world English, it is 
certainly not a pidgin, although in some senses it is a simplification. 
The changes are more akin to those from classical Greek to Koine.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list