This work is to be seen in the connection of two seminars, which had the following titles: "on the necessity of grammatical
categories" and "language contact and language development by the example of the English language history", both
seminars took place in the summer semester 1997 under the direction of H. Franke M.A.
The first mentioned seminar had the subject to examine the different grammatical categories and their presence or developments
in different languages of all families. It should be analyzed in what respect a linguistic implementation of different categories
is at all necessary, in order to ensure smooth and at the same time economic communication free of ambiguities. The other
seminar was the first part of a series dealing with English language history, which focused around the special features of
the development of a language in contact with other languages.
I would like to use the questions and results of both seminars in this work, in order to examine on the basis the language
Tok Pisin, whether grammatical categories from the parent languages were taken over, which are mandatory and which are optionally
expressed, with which grammatical means this occurs, and whether the principles of language economics reached into the emergence
of Tok Pisin.
In addition it appears essential me to deal with the history of Tok Pisin and to identify selected grammatical characteristics
of this language in the grammars of the so-called parent languages.
Furthermore, I would like to clear the prejudice, Tok Pisin or any other Pidgin or Creole continue to be anything but a
corrupted and highly simplified variety of "our" high-level languages.
2. On the language Tok Pisin
2.1 The name Tok Pisin
In this work, the language designation Tok Pisin will be used. On the one hand it is the endonym, on the other hand
this prevents some misunderstandings. The common labels Pidgin English, Neuguinea Pidgin or Melanesian Pidgin
declare Tok Pisin to be a Pidgin. This is perhaps still acceptable from language historical view, since Tok Pisin was originally
an arbeiterpidgin in New Guinea and North Australia. In the meantime, however, it developed further from this status
to a creole, which is far more than only a traffic language. (Concerning the terminology cf. chapter 2.4). Pidgin English
is problematic because one can hardly say, it is a Pidgin of English, since thereby on the one hand is implied, Pidgins were
no independent languages (cf. also chapter 2.4), on the other hand the fact is neglected that apart from English still a series
of further languages was involved in the emergence of Tok Pisin.
The Exonym Melanesian Pidgin implies a spreading in the entire Melanesian linguistic area, and, beyond that, Tok
Pisin were the only Pidgin of the region. Both implications are false. After VERHAAR, Melanesian Pidgin should be used
rather as header of the Pidgins and Creoles of the region, e.g. Bislama on Vanuatu, Pijin of the Solomon Islands,
etc. (cf. VERHAAR, p. 1f).
2.2 history of the language contact in the region
Tok Pisin is, as the name indicates, the product of a pidginisation. It developed in the plantations of Queensland and
Samoa, to which the English colonists transferred hundreds of thousands of workers from New Guinea and the neighboring islands.
These workers and their foremen used a simplified and adapted English as traffic language, in order to bridge the variety
of several hundred languages of the region.
Already in pre-colonial time contacts must have developed, some which persisted until today, like Hiri Motu (cf. chapter
2.3). Beside the pidginisation within the Papua languages naturally also relations with neighboring languages and language
families occurred, e.g. to the Australian languages and to the Malay languages. In what respect occasional parallels suggest
language contact or rather genetic relation, is being discussed controversially in the literature, but it plays, however,
no important role for the emergence of Tok Pisin. (WURM, p. 53-68 and NILE/CLERK p. 255ff, reflect this discussion).
Since the 16th century the region has been exposed to the influences from the European languages, which advanced the emergence
of Pidgins in larger scale. The peoples of new Guinea remained however spared from colnialisation until the annexation by
Great Britain and the German Reich 1884, so that the becoming of Tok Pisin begins only by this date.
Apart from the undeniable English influence, also influences of the German on Tok Pisin can be detected, even if the time
of the German influencing was only relatively short (1884-1914), if one leaves aside some still existing institutions of the
Protestant Mission, which have only local importance.
Furthermore, there were language contacts with Malay in form of the
Bahasa Indonesia as state language, as well as regional Malay languages in Irian Jaya and the surrounding islands. Portuguese
and Dutch, both important colonial languages of the region, left no reflexes in Tok Pisin.
2.3 situation and spreading today
Concerning the status of the language Tok Pisin there are very strongly diverging specifications in the literature. Both
"FISCHERs Weltalmanach" and "HARENBERG Länderlexikon" assume English as official language and have Pidgin, or Melanesian Pidgin
as colloquial language besides "about 740 Papua Languages" (cf. FISCHER, p. 563; HARENBERG p. 331). In "Philip's World Handbook"
Motu and English are the official languages (Philip's, p. 170). For Blanz/Wendt Tok Pisin is a type Creole, which disintegrates
into different "clear regional peculiarities". (cf. Blanz/Wendt, p. 112) after VERHAAR Tok Pisin is nowadays one of the two
official state languages of Papua New Guinea, and in the entire national territory, even if in remote regions only to a small
extent, common (cf. VERHAAR, p. 2f). The second official language, Hiri Motu, is particularly common in the southern regions,
and also a Pidgin (cf. FOLEY, p. 32f). Both languages were assumed as state languages with independence in 1975.
Large agreement prevails in the literature examined by me over the fact that English still is common as office and school
language, and Tok Pisin functions "as country-wide lingua franca" (cf. SEIB, p. 3). As to language variety and the linguistic-cultural
connections write NILE/CLERK:
”The Pacific islands, particularly those of Melanesia, are still rich in languages. Sharing language is
an important part of a sense of common identity [...]. Nevertheless, throughout the region local languages and dialects are
tending to become eroded or replaced by those that have wider currency. The need for communication within the linguistically
diverse countries of Melanesia has led to the adoption of pidgins. [...] Though containing differences, they are sufficiently
alike to have contributed to the shared sense of Melanesian identity [...]. Elsewhere, despite their colonial connotations,
English or French are used as the lingua franca in education and for official communications.” (NILE/CLERK, p. 207)
number of speakers can hardly be determined. No concrete numbers are stated in the abovementioned literature, however is not
to be assumed that more than 50% of the approximately 4 million inhabitants of Papua New Guinea speak Tok Pisin.
2.4 language status of Tok Pisin
Before we now proceed to the question which status Tok Pisin has, we should first clarify the terms Pidgin and Creole,
since they can be very differently interpreted. In this work the definitions of HOLM are to be applied, which are given in
the introduction to his work "Pidgins and Creoles”, whereby I for the sake of simplicity omit those sections, which
he revises in later sections, here.
"A pidgin is a reduced language that results from extended contact between groups of people with no language in
common; it evolves when they need some means of verbal communication [...] but no group learns the native language of any
other group for social reasons [...]. They co-operate with the other groups to create a make-shift language to serve their
needs, simplifying by dropping unnecessary complications such as inflections [...] and reducing the number of different words
they use, but compensating by extending their meanings or using circumlocutions. By definition, the resulting pidgin is restricted
to a very little domain, such as trade, and it is no one's native language.” (HOLM, p. 4f)
In agreement with MUEHLHAEUSLER he points out, however, that the Pidgin develops itself further from a simpler to a more
complex system, in order to meet more complex communicative needs. (cf. HOLM p. 5; cf. MUEHLHAEUSLER p. 5). From this however,
HOLM clearly separates the jargon, which is usually not group restricted but rather personbound, and which does not have fixed
rules (cf. ibid.) HOLM defines a Creole as follows:
"A creole has a jargon or pidgin in its ancestry; it is spoken by an entire speech community, often one whose
ancestors were displaced geographically so that their ties with their original language and sociocultural identity were partly
broken.” (cf. HOLM, p. 6)
The important differences that distinguish Pidgins and Creoles are that a Creole
is a native language and that it is subject to phonological processes (like assimilation), and that its vocabulary covers
all areas of life, not only a narrow range.
These definitions do not mention at all the fact that these languages are independent, natural, and thus not baby talk,
artificial languages, dialects, or corrupted versions of high-level languages.
As I would like to demonstrate in the following
section on the basis some grammatical phenomena, Tok Pisin is much more than a simplified English with a few Papua words interspersed:
it is an independent and fully functional language, which is partly very complex, even if some categories we know from our
European languages "are missing”.
3. Developments of selected grammatical categories
Whoever hears Tok Pisin for the first time, is irritated. English and Papua words, with almost pure German phonology, are
sequenced almost inflectionless. How is one to communicate in such a way? From our native languages and the surrounding languages
in Europe we are used to a certain extent of inflection and form variety, even if this varies from language to language. A
sentence in Tok Pisin however does not seem to express many of our familiar categories at all:
1) yu save draiva trak bilong em i arasait?
you know driver truck of him PM over there
you know the driver of the truck over there?
In this phrase, neither case nor gender nor number are marked.
Also the definiteness is not expressed. From this fact it should not be assumed, however, that there would be no grammatical
categories in Tok Pisin or no possibility of expressing the same circumstances just as differentiated as we can do it in German
or English. In this section, I would like to first state some examples how certain semantic and grammatical categories are
expressed in Tok Pisin, before I investigate the different reasons for their being so in the following section.
3.1 tense / aspect / modality
The first range of categories, which I would like to regard for this, is very complex and its sections are difficult to
separate, since they all modify the predicate. Their summary for Tok Pisin is from VERHAAR, who justifies it as follows:
"While expressions of tense, aspect, and modality add up to quite a few descriptive complications for any particular
language, the most prominent complication is in this: how, tense, aspect, and modality are intertwined - as they are in any
language. in English, for example, tense may be used for the irrealis modality (past tense in if he came, I would not deny
him entry); [...]." (VERHAAR, p. 311)
Following VERHAAR I would like to label this summary as t-a-m-system (cf. ibid.).
Time conditions are lexically expressed in Tok Pisin, whereby the present is unmarked. We first look at some example sentences:
2) pukpuk hia i gat bikpela tis.
crocodile here PM got big-AM teeth
has got big teeth.
3) ol i bin slip long haus bilong mi.
PPRON PM TM sleep PREP house POSS PPRON
were sleeping in(side) my house.
4) sapos yu kaikai planti pinat bai yu kamap strong olsem phantom.
if PPRON eat much peanut FUT
PPRON become strong like phantom
If you eat many peanuts, you will become strong like the phantom.
Anteriority can thus be marked through bin 'been', posteriority by bai (< baimbai < by and
by), whereby the exact time relation is indicated by the context. Bin can also express anteriority to a future
action, or the anteriority of a hypothetical past (Irrealis); similar rules apply also to bai (cf. VERHAAR p. 312-316)
In addition, apart from the time relation, another expression about the predicate can be made: whether an action is persisting
or final, whether it repeats or occurs habitually or whether a law of nature or the like is the its basis. For this some example
5) Mi go pinis de olgeta.
PPRON go TM day whole
I have been walking all day.
6) Tripela arapela pipol em ol i bin dai pinis, ol i bin painim ol sampela aua bihain aninit
long bikpela hap ol ais.
Three other-AM people PPRON all PM TM die TM PPRON PM PRÄT find-TR PPRON some-AM
hour later underneath PRÄP big-AM heap whole ice
Three more people had already died when they were found underneath
a big heap of snow.
7) Ol i kaikai i stap.
PPRON PM eat DUR
They are (currently) eating.
8) Hamas de pikinini i sik i stap?
how much day child PM (be) sick DUR
many days has/had the child been sick?
9) Na tupela i wok long tok pait long ai bilong king.
and two-AM PM DUR talk fight PREP
eye POSS King.
And the two continued fighting before the eye(s) of the king.
10) Em i wok long krai i stap.
PPRON(3) PM DUR cry DUR
crying. / He cried and cried.
11) Em i wok long gro i go i go.
PPRON(3) PM DUR grow DUR
12) Malaria em i namba wan sik i save bagarapim ol manmeri bilong dispela kantri.
PPRON(3) PM number one disease PM be able kill-TR all men-women POSS DPRON-AM land.
Malaria is disease number
one killing men and women of this country.
A final action (perfective aspect) is indicated by pinis 'terminated, to terminate', this action can be in past
or future. Different markers, whereby in Tok Pisin the forms of progressive or durative cannot be negated, since they can
only be connected with predicates in the realis, can indicate a continuous action. (VERHAAR p. 318 f.)
The markers for
the durative are: i stap, wok long and i go i go, also several markers can be used at the same time.
(cf. records 10 and 11)
A habitual action or a characteristic (habitual aspect) can be marked with save 'to be able'.
The different aspects are expressed lexically in Tok Pisin, however in a way similar to a morphologic principle, which
exists in many Papua languages. Here, one or more verbs are attached to the core verb, describing either the process of an
action or their persistence or their compartmentation. This cohering is so close that morphophonologic processes can extend
over the entire verb chain. (cf. FOLEY, p. 142-158)
In Tok Pisin this lining up of verbs is not as strong, but produces forms as in sentence 11. How similar these means are,
however, my be illustrated by the following example from Fore:
'he is coming'
(cf. FOLEY, p. 144)
A further aspect drops out of this system in the type of its formation: Intensive or several times repeated actions (intensive,
iterative) can be expressed by reduplication of the verb.
14) bai sampela ol i toktok i stap na ol i no harim gut tok bilong yu.
PPRON PM talk-talk DUR and PPRON PM NEG hear-TR well speech POSS PPRON
Some of them will be talking and not listen
well to your speech.
Reduplication is not found in FOLEY's and WURM's descriptions of the Papuan Languages. WURM mentions only that in one of
the branches reduplication is not uncommon with the adjective. (WURM, p. 62). Also, in the English grammar there are hardly
any reduplicated forms. After QUIRK/GREENBAUM they are to be found only in informal language and probably go back on the manner
of speaking towards children. (QUIRK/GREENBAUM, p. 448). The roots of this phenomenon are to be looked up thus in another
place, i.e. during the process of the Creolisation. Reduplication as means of word formation and for signaling of repeated
actions is here very common and productive in almost all Pidgins and Creoles (cf. HELLINGER, p. 117f.).
The modification of the verb is done in Tok Pisin, like in particular in many languages (cf. KATAMBA, p. 222), by adding
lexical units: inap, ken, laik, mas, and save express the ability, desire, obligation, intention, necessity, prohibition,
possibility etc. Their use is, as in English, bound to a set of rules, which partly overlap in their range. Altogether, the
situation in Tok Pisin presents itself in such a way as it is also in English, even if the English has a by far larger number
of modal particles (cf. QUIRK/GREENBAUM, p. 37 and VERHAAR p. 323).
For this some examples:
15) mi no inap pasim maus moa.
PPRON NEG-be able shut-TR mouth more
keep my mouth shut any more.
16) yu noken [= no + ken] stap hia.
PPRON not be able stay here
You can't stay here
17) yumi save tok pisin.
PPRON be able talk pidgin
We can speak Tok Pisin
18) mi laik baim sampela pis.
PPRON want buy-TR some-AM fish.
like to buy some fish.
19) mi mas i go long dokta.
PPRON must PM go PREP doctor.
I have to go to
Mode is not expressed by own forms in Tok Pisin; the distinction of Realis, Irrealis and Potentialis is mostly implicit,
while often signal words as sapos 'presupposed, if' are used.
20) sapos yumi wokabaut lek, dispela em i hevi.
if PPRON go foot/leg DPRON
PPRON PM heavy.
It would be hard if we go by foot.
21) mi ting i gutpela sapos mi no bin wokim ol.
PPRON think PM good if PPRON NEG
TM make-TR PPRON
I think it would have been better if I never made them.
3.1.4 Recapitulatory view of the T-A-M-system
Even if much that is marked in English remains unmarked in Tok Pisin, the parallels to English are nevertheless unmistakable.
There is an amalgamation of these three categories that does not permit a clear separation. (For the reasons of this close
connection see KATAMBA, p. 223f.)
If a category of this system is expressed at all, then lexically, apart from the reduplication
with the iterative as an exception.
3.2 transitivity / focus
A completely different picture is found with transitivity and the phenomena which are connected with them. With respect
to English, transitive and intransitive verbs are not formally differentiated. (QUIRK/GREENBAUM, p. 14). In Tok Pisin however,
transitive verbs are indicated by the marker -im (cf. VERHAAR, p. 334):
22) [...] na i gat mak tupela leta "e" krosim wanpela narapela bilong soim mak bilong despela niupela
moni "euro" [...].
and PM have sign two-AM letter "e" cross one-AM another-AM PREP show-TR sign POSS DPRON
new-AM currency "euro"
[...] and bears the sign of two letters "e" crossing one another to be the symbol of the
new currency "Euro" [...]
23) long europe ol i gat niupela moni [...], em ol i kolim long "euro".
PREP europe all
PM exist new-AM currency REL all PM call-TR PREP "euro"
In Europe, there is a new currency that is called "Euro".
24) strongpela raun-win, [...], i bin kamapim bikpela bagarap long guam.
PM TM come up-TR big-AM destruction PREP Guam.
A strong cyclone caused heavy destruction(s) in Guam.
25a) mi save rait.
PPRON be able write
I can write.
25b) mi save raitim pas.
PPRON be able write-TR letter.
I can write a letter.
As can be seen from the above-mentioned examples, the transitivity of a verb is only marked, if it is actually used transitively.
(see records 25 a and b). also reflexive (reciprocal) verbs (record 22) and causative verbs (record 24) are marked by -im.
This type of marking does not exist in any of the donor languages of Tok Pisin, and it is one of its unmistakable features
(cf. HELLINGER, p. 121). A special feature is also the construction in record 23. In Tok Pisin, there is no passive to move
the object of an action into the foreground (cf. VERHAAR, p. 334), as in: "The dog has been beaten”.
Tok Pisin achieves this realignment of the so-called focus where the subject of the action moves into the background by
replacing it through ol, that is to be interpreted as an indefinite pronoun (cf. engl. 'one') here (cf. op.cit., p.
336). Why a shift of the object to the beginning of the sentence is not permitted for focus realignment, is being explained
in the next paragraph.
3.3 case / subject-object relationship
On the basis of sentence 1 we had already stated that the case of a noun is not marked in Tok Pisin. One thus cannot see
from the noun isolated from a Syntagma, which syntactic position it filled (cf. German.: dem Mann(e), which can only
be an object). At no place in the Tok Pisin sentence subject-object relations are marked morphologically, they are being expressed
only by the position(s) of the noun(s) in the sentence. Therefore, Tok Pisin has, like English, a very rigid syntax. Also,
most Papuan languages have a strict syntax (usually strictly SOV), although subject and object markers occur at nouns and
partly also verbs (cf. WURM p. 60-63). Tok Pisin in this case clearly follows the English scheme SVO.
In the light of
this rule it is obvious that a syntactic conversion would not cause a shift of the focus but rather completely different meanings.
From this, it is self-explanatory why another system developed in Tok Pisin.
Number is a further category, which we not found expressed in the example sentence 1. To examine the implementation of
number or "quantity" in Tok Pisin, we take further example sentences:
26) em i sindaun long wanpela ston.
PPRON PM sit down PREP one-AM stone
down at a stone.
27) kapa bilong pinga i waitpela.
lid,cap POSS finger PM white-AM
is white. / Fingernails are white.
28) insait dispela ples i gat dok i kaikai ol man na meri!
inside DPRON-AM place exist
dog PM eat all man and woman
In(side) this place there is a dog that bites all men and women.
(It would be more correct to say "... i kaikaiim ol man na meri"; cf. chapter 3.2)
29) sampela yangpela meri tu i kam.
some-AM young-AM woman too PM come
young women came, too.
30) mi dringim liklik hap wara.
PPRON drink-tr little bit water
I drink a little
The semantic categories "singular" and "plural" are differentiated, however there is no morphologic marking of the numbers.
Tok Pisin is thus a language, which is number-indifferent. "Number " can be expressed, as in record 26, by a numeral, which
is used as indefinite article, or by terms like ol 'all' or sampela 'some', whose meaning implies a non-singular.
In general predicates, such as record 27, a lexical marking of this kind does not have to be made.
A distinction between
computable and not-computable nouns is made as in English and German; and not-computable nouns must have so-called classifiers
placed before them (cf. record 30).
Accordingly, no number is expressed with the verb, it remains completely unchanged. Usually, the person and the number
are already expressed in other places in the sentence or in the context, so that clarity is given. If this is not the case,
as with the contextless example 31, there are several possible interpretations:
31) wokim bokis na pulimapim graun long em.
make-TR box and fill-TR ground PREP PPRON
you, we, you, they) make a box and fill it with soil.
(I, you, we, you, they) make one box and fill it with soil.
makes a box and fills it with soil.
Make a box and fill it with soil !
(I, you, we, you, they) make boxes and fill them
[...] to make boxes and (to) fill them with soil.
The question about the morphologic number becomes problematic with the pronoun. VERHAAR assumes here that Tok Pisin has
not only singular and plural, but also dual and trial, whereby developments of these categories can be found only with the
personal pronouns. (cf. VERHAAR, p. 354ff). Besides yumi and mipela (exclusive and inclusive 'we'), he
assumes also still the dual forms yumitupela or mitupela and the trial forms yumitripela or mitripela
respectively. Additionally, also constructions like mifopela 'we four EXCL.' are possible.
I regard this as a misinterpretation of VERHAAR. There is no plausible reason why there should be such an accumulation
of numbers just with the personal pronoun, which is not to be found in the system of Tok Pisin otherwise at all. There is,
according to FOLEY, a very differentiated system of personal pronouns in many Papuan languages, which differentiates inclusive
and exclusive forms in the 1.PL. and partially also knows dual forms, however trial and paucal is to be fond only very rarely
(cf. FOLEY p. 66-74).
He likewise states a dual for Tok Pisin pronouns, qualifies however at the same time:
"-pela is a marker of nonsingularity that occurs with most nonsingular nouns. the dual, indicating two
tokens of the referent, is expressed by the numeral tu 'two', occurring after the pronoun base and before -pela."
(FOLEY, p. 67)
Therefore it is - according to my opinion - not useful to speak of a dual there. This suggests the presence of a grammatical
category, which does not exist at all in such a way in Tok Pisin. In the Papuan languages, which are the basis for Tok Pisin,
there partly are these numbers: singular and plural are to be found in all subfamilies, the dual is relatively far common
in two of three sub-groups, the trial does occur rarely. If, however, dual or trial are available, then they are not solely
marked at the personal pronoun but also at the verb, and not with a numeral or a derivative of it, but with certain bound
morphemes. (cf. FOLEY, p. 130ff. and WURM p. 60)
The Papua speakers thus brought a semantic (!) distinction, which in some the native languages is markes morphologically
in several places into the developing Pidgin.
To assume for Tok Pisin a set of four numbers, which is marked at the personal
pronoun exclusively, only on the basis of these rarely occurring forms seems like exaggeration to me. Especially, since VERHAAR
points out himself that also formations with higher numerals as mifopela are allowed . Why does he not also assume
a tetral etc., then?
According to my judgement, the pronoun formations of the type mitripela are not representations of number, but rather an
open class of contracted compositions of pronoun plus numeral, which was established in Tok Pisin. That a category such as
number, which is not bound to one word-class, is formed exclusively in only one word class, but in this however with such
a multiplicity of forms, is nevertheless most improbable, particularly since in this concrete case it firstly was a Pidgin,
which (according to HOLMs definition, cf. chapter 2.4) directs at maximal language economy.
In my humble opinion, there is no grammatical category number in Tok Pisin, but rather a semantic category "quantity",
which can be expressed lexically, and which is expressed in places, at which it is also strongly marked (morphologically)
in some of the donor languages
4. Reasons for the grammatical status quo in Tok Pisin
As we already saw in the preceding section, the grammatical categories are expressed partly morphologically partly lexically,
and there is a series of factors, which influenced the development of the grammar of the Tok Pisin. The three main factors
- available categories in parent languages
- efforts towards language economy in the process of pidginization
- universal tendencies of language change in the process of creolization
It is an undisputed process in the emergence of Pidgins that besides the vocabulary also categories from the languages
involved are taken over. Tok Pisin is far more than a simplified English, because it possesses categories, which English does
not have (e.g. object focus; differentiation of inclusive and exclusive we). The developing Pidgin nevertheless does
not take over all categories from all parent languages, but is mostly limited to few, which are apparently regarded as the
most important (essential) by the speakers. The more accurate differentiation of the personal pronouns (cf. chapter 3.4) is only one example for this.
The speakers of the Pidgins are nevertheless pursuing linguistic economy, since the Pidgin should be easily understandable
without large communicative expenditure for all parties involved. Redundant markings (e.g. congruence of article, adjective
and noun) are omitted, in order to facilitate an understanding or enable the interlocutors to communicate at all.
If, for example, it is already made obvious by a signal word as yesterday that the predicate is situated in the past, then
the marking of the past at the verb is redundant; The subject and if necessary the object of the record are determined by
deictic or gestures in most cases, the personal marking at the verb are thus likewise redundant; thus also an uninflected
form of the verb ca be employed.
Also the vocabulary is very strongly limited to the area, within which the various groups turn out in contact, e.g. trade,
whale hunting. For many topics and circumstances, which are situated outside of this area, and on which therefore reference
is being made more rarely, paraphrasings are needed, which are much more economic as that they can be formed ad hoc if needed,
and one must not introduce a new lexeme, which must be described itself in order to explain it.
In that moment however, in which the Pidgin is expanded from the contact language in one area of life to a language of
the everyday life, the simplified means of the Pidgins are no longer sufficient. A development of the entire system must take
However, not mandatorily grammatical categories and markings as well as words from the donor languages are being
taken over, but rather own ways of development evolved. Thus word formation and derivative samples are created, which are
to be found almost universal with all Creole languages, as for example reduplication or conversion (also called zero-derivation).
With the latter, lexemes are extended in their function (changes of word-class without any derivative affixes) and can
be used in different syntactic positions, in which they could not be used in the donor language (cf. HELLINGER, p. 116f),
e.g. antap (< on top), 'surface', 'above' or 'high'.
Beyond that, independent lexemes become grammaticalized, they lose their meanings in favor of a grammatical function. Thus
for example the (phonologically reduced) personal pronoun i (< he) became the predicate marker, which must be mandatory
before the predicate with all persons except 1SG, 2SG and 1PL(incl). (cf. ROMAINE, p. 39). Likewise, also the emergence of
the future marker bai is to be explained. (cf. chapter 3.1)
A well-developed Pidgin already has many of these features, however only the restructured variety, which also permits
stylistic variation, is an indication for the fact that the language became a Creole. (cf. for this: ROMAINE, p. 154ff; Hock,
p. 524f; HELLINGER, p. 113ff).
5. Concluding remark
We saw that Tok Pisin is far more as a strongly corrupted English implemented with some Papua words, which is used as contact
language between colonial gentlemen and natives of Papua New Guinea. It is the native language of a not inconsiderable number
of speakers, it is one of the state languages of Papua New Guinea, and it possesses a differentiated grammar, which fairly
suits all requests to a functioning everyday life language.
And this grammar has developed itself in the last about 120 years in accordance with the demands, which were made against
Tok Pisin. It was first shaped from striving to understandability and maximal communicative economy, became however in its
further development, particularly after the independence of Papua New Guinea (1975) ever more the general traffic language:
it became a Creole.
Despite a structure of different categories and styles it can still be seen from Tok Pisin that it was and is subject to
language economics. A redundant multiple marking does not exist, or only as stylistic device. Circumstances, which can be
concluded from the context, are not repeatedly marked likewise.
Briefly said: Tok Pisin is - despite all first glance "poverty
of forms" - an independent, fully functioning language.