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Nativization is the process whereby a language gains native speakers.[1] This happens necessarily where a second language used by adult parents becomes the native language of their children. Nativization has been of particular interest to linguists, and to creolists more specifically, where the second language concerned is a pidgin.

Several explanations of creole genesis have relied on prior nativization of a pidgin as a stage in achieving creoleness. This is true for Hall's (1966) notion of the pidgin-creole life cycle as well as Bickerton's language bioprogram theory.[2][3]

There are few undisputed examples of a creole arising from nativization of a pidgin by children.[1][4] The Tok Pisin language reported by Sankoff & Laberge (1972) is one example where such a conclusion could be reached by scientific observation.[1] A counterexample is the case where children of Gastarbeiter parents speaking pidgin German acquired German seamlessly without creolization.[4] Broad treatments of creolization phenomena such as Arends, Muysken & Smith (1995) acknowledge now as a matter of standard that the pidgin-nativization scheme is only one of many explanations with possible theoretical validity.[5]

See also[edit]



  • Arends, Jacques; Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (1995), Pidgins and creoles: An introduction, Amsterdam: Benjamins, ISBN 90-272-5236-X
  • Bickerton, Derek (1984), "The language bioprogram hypothesis", The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7 (2): 173–188, doi:10.1017/S0140525X00044149
  • Hall, Robert A. (1966), Pidgin and creole languages, Ithaca: Cornell University
  • Sankoff, Gillian; Laberge, Suzanne (1972), "On the acquisition of native speakers by a language", Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, pp. 73–84
  • Pfaff, Carol W. (1981), "Incipient Creolization in Gastarbeiterdeutsch: An experimental sociolinguistic study", Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 3 (2): 165–178, doi:10.1017/S0272263100004150