Chinese Pidgin English
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|Chinese Pidgin English|
|Extinct||Extinct in China; survives in Nauruan Pidgin English|
Chinese Pidgin English (also called Pigeon English, simplified Chinese: 洋泾浜英语; traditional Chinese: 洋涇濱英語; pinyin: yáng jìng bāng yīng yǔ) is a pidgin language lexically based on English, but influenced by a Chinese substratum. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, there was also Chinese Pidgin English spoken in Cantonese-speaking portions of China. Chinese Pidgin English is heavily influenced by various Chinese languages with variants arising among different provinces (for example in Shanghai and Ningbo).
A separate Chinese Pidgin English has sprung up in more recent decades in places such as Nauru.
English first arrived in China in the 1630s, when English traders arrived in South China. Chinese Pidgin English was spoken first in the areas of Macao and Guangzhou, later spreading north to Shanghai by the 1830s. "Yangjing Bang English" in Chinese (洋涇濱, or 洋泾浜) derives from the name of a former creek in Shanghai near the Bund where local workers communicated with English-speaking foreigners in pidgin (broken English); (Yangjing Bang has since been filled in and is now the eastern part of Yan'an Road, the main east-west artery of central Shanghai).
Historically, it was a modified form of English developed in the 17th century for use as a trade language or lingua franca between the English and the Chinese. Chinese Pidgin started in Guangzhou (Canton), China, after the English established their first trading port there in 1664. Pidgin English was developed by the English and adapted by the Chinese for business purposes. The term "pidgin" itself is believed by some etymologists to be a corruption of the pronunciation of the English word "business" by the Chinese. Chinese Pidgin continued in use until about the end of the 19th century, when Pidgin came to be looked upon by the Chinese as humiliating (because English speakers considered it ridiculous) and so preferred to learn standard English instead.
Chinese Pidgin English began to decline in the late 19th century as standard English began to be taught in the country's education system. English language teaching has been widespread throughout modern Chinese history- it was made the country's main foreign language in 1982.
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Chinese Pidgin English was based on a vocabulary of about 700 English words, with a small number of words from other sources. Grammar and syntax are simple and positional; that is, grammatical categories are indicated by the position of words in the sentence rather than by inflectional endings, prepositions, or the like (e.g., in English “John loves Mary” is distinguished from “Mary loves John” by the position of the words in the sentences). Typical sentences in Chinese Pidgin are Hab gat rening kum daun (Have got raining come down) “There is rain coming down”; Tumoro mai no kan kum (Tomorrow my no can come) “Tomorrow I can't come”; and Mai no hab kachi basket (My no have catch basket) “I didn't bring a basket.”
Influence on English
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Certain expressions from Chinese English Pidgin have made their way into colloquial English, a process called Calque. The following is a list of English expressions which may have been influenced by Chinese.
好 久 不 見(Mandarin traditional), 好 耐 冇 見(Cantonese), 好 久 不 见(Mandarin simplified), meaning "haven't seen [you] in a long time", further meaning "we have not seen each other in a long time"). The Oxford English Dictionary states that "long time no see" originated in the United States as "a jocular imitation of broken English." .
看 見) This phrase is attributed to Chinese pidgin English by the Oxford English dictionary.
- No this no that
No ____, no ____ predates the origin of Chinese Pidgin English, but is also a notable example of fabricated pidgin English: (
- 東方日報 亂世達觀：白鴿英語現代篇
- Yamuna Kachru and Cecil L. Nelson, World Englishes in Asian Contexts. Hong Kong University Press, 2006
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- McArthur, Tom. (2002). Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866248-3 hardback, ISBN 0-19-860771-7 paperback.
- Kam, A. (2002). English in education in China: policy changes and learners’. experiences. World Englishes, 21(2), 245-256
- Wiktionary phrase
- Oxford English Dictionary, long time no see
- Wiktionary phrase
- Oxford English Dictionary, look-see
- Oxford English dictionary, no ___ no ____ and variants