Daily mythology: Pidgin

“Pidgin” is a word for all kind of mixed, simplified and garbled language, it exists in many parts of the world and is growing fast. I think, our daily language becomes more and more pidgin. The word “pidgin” probably comes from “pigeon”, though doves talk a beautiful birdish? Maybe Dylan got it’s part in it, “and when Quinn, the eskimo, comes here, all the pigeons gonna run to him…”

An important pidgin is Créole, coming from French, Portuguese and Spanish, from the conquerors raiding the Caribian and South America. But if they hoped to keep their mothertongue? No! Notice: always the defeated impose their language, their rituals, their culture….
It is nice to collect pidgin, there are many wonderful expressions: Look along nusipepa = look along newspaper = to read, big box you beat it it cries = piano, small box you beat it it cries =accordion, allo plopa = all proper = ok…..and so on.
There is French argot, there is Broken English, there is Denglish, Turcogerman, Turku, Russenorsk, Français Tirailleur, Bimbashi Arabic, Lingua Franca, Maccaronic and many other pidgins. French argot is heavily influenced by Arab: toubib, illico, godasse, tȏle….
The French writers group “Oulipo” used pidgin in a satirical way. John Keats’ famous line: “Athing of beauty is a joy for ever” thenreads in French: “Un singe de beauté est un jouet pour l’hiver”.
Occasionally language is unintentionally macaronic. One particularly famed piece of schoolyard Greek in France is Xenophon’s line “they did not take the city; but in fact they had no hope of taking it” (οὐκ ἔλαβον πόλιν· άλλα γὰρ ἐλπὶς ἔφη κακά, ouk élabon pólin; álla gàr elpìs éphē kaká). Read in the French manner, this becomes “Où qu’est la bonne Pauline? A la gare. Elle pisse et fait caca”. In English literature, the untranslated line makes an appearance in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Gadda, Eco, Fo and others use Maccaronic too.
But even in our christmans-songs is pidgin, just take the German (!) In dulci jubilo:
“In dulici jubilo-hoho
Nun singet und seit froh-hoho
Unsres Herzens Wonne
Leit in praesepio-hoho…..”
“Oh Jesu parvule-hehe
Nach dir ist mir so weh-hehe….”
“Des bin I froh, bin I froh, froh froh froh! Benedicamus domino!”
You should collect pidgin. It’s worth it.



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