S J Gould and grammar

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Thu Dec 23 03:43:37 MST 1999

From: Doyle Saylor
> Human speech is not precisely grammatical, can be understood without a
> grammar, hence pidgin languages which lack grammatical structures in the
> ordinary sense of codified writing systems grammar.

They can acquire them, though.  Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin) has become a
written language.  Although _most_ of its vocabulary is derived from
English (with a very thick accent!), its grammar is not English.
Technically, though, Tok Pisin is a fully fledged language, rather than a
pidgin.  (Apparently - I don't know the formal basis for this.)

(Vanuatu pidgin is different from the Papua New Guinean version, with more
French words, and less German.  According to some Papua New Guineans I have
met, they were unable to understand the Vanuatu version, when they ran into
some people that spoke it.)

Alan Bradley
alanb at elf.brisnet.org.au

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