Pidgins and Creoles in Asia
This book shifts the focus of Pidgin and Creole Studies from the better-known Atlantic/Caribbean contexts to the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and Mongolia. By looking at Asian contexts before and after Western colonial expansion, we offer readers insights into language contact in historical settings and with empirical features substantially different from those that have shaped the theory of the field. Two pidgin varieties of the Far East are described in detail, namely Chinese-Pidgin Russian and China Coast Pidgin. The former offers a unique opportunity to observe the typological dynamics of contact between Slavic, Tungusic and Sinitic, while the latter presents one of the better-documented studies of any pidgin so far. The third contribution is an in-depth analysis of the Portuguese India slave trade in relation to contact phenomena. The remaining two chapters look at Southeast Asia and discuss Malayo-Portuguese Creoles and the ubiquitous Malay-Sinitic lingua franca respectively. From a linguistic perspective the diversity of language families, the historical time depth, the complex patterns of population movements, and the wealth of contact phenomena that define Asia are so many and at times still so little understood that no single volume could ever pretend to shed sufficient light on all these aspects of the region. Despite providing what can be seen as a sample platter of the field of contact linguistics in this part of the world, the in-depth analysis of exotic socio-historical settings, the typologically diverse and rich data sets, and the notions of pidgins and Creoles as applied here will nonetheless stretch the limits and limitations of current theories in the field, and are a must read for anyone interested in arriving at solid theoretical generalizations.
Published earlier as Journal of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics 25:1, 2010.