Tok Pisin

Tok Pisin developed as an English-based contact language in the Pacific from the mid-19th century onwards. Although its origins are firmly rooted in Pacific Pidgin English, its development is somewhat different from its sister dialects. Isolation from other south-west Pacific varieties led to considerable influence from the Austronesian languages of New Britain and New Ireland, especially in the lexicon, but also in grammatical structures. Although the name "Pidgin" is frequently used to refer to the language, Tok Pisin is spoken by an increasing number of children as a first language, i.e. as a Creole. The term Tok Pisin, then, refers to a complex of first and second language varieties. These are spoken with varying degree of fluency, and are influenced to a varying extent by other languages used.

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