Review of

Dwijen Bhattacharjya's

Nagamese: Pidgin, Creole or Creoloid?

CLN 24/2 (1994)

Handout for SARS 523, Multilingual Education in South/Southeast Asia

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Bh. reviews the various claims stated in the abstract, especially the claims that N might be a post-creole continuum , or a creoloid, meaning a language that superficially resembles a creole, but doesn't seem to have undergone creolization (or pidginization), and/or decreolization. Others have also claimed that it is imperfectly-learned Assamese or Bengali. His conclusion is that it is an expanded pidgin which is starting to creolize in some parts of Nagaland, and is already a creole (but not a creoloid) in Dimapur. The paper examines all these hypotheses in detail and gives reasons for the conclusions offered.

  4. The Setting
  5. Nagamese: its formation and evolution
  6. Identity of Nagamese
  7. Imperfectly-learned Second-language Hypothesis
  8. Creolization: Nativization vs. Expansion
  9. Reviews the definitional problems: is it an expanded pidgin, a nativized pidgin, a creole, or what? What is the route by which it got to where it is? An expanded or extended pidgin is a notion introduced by Todd (1974) and means it has a complex grammar and is used in all domains of life, also maybe for literature and for identity purposes among heterogeneous groups. Statehood demands means N must be used in many more functional domains, more expressively, so its structure had to expand. N may fall short of some criteria for expanded pidgin, but nevertheless is has served as a distinctive, supra-ethnic unifying factor, providing unity among 20 different groups, especially during "independence" movement. So for some it is an expanded pidgin, for others a pidgin, for Kacharis a creole. Parents now must speak it in an expanded way because their children may be using it as a crole. Nagas still marry endogamously so children do still learn their parents langauge, but soon they want to communicate with others, and learn creole N.

  10. Conclusions
  11. N has undergone both pidginization and creolization. Dimapur variety must have had a pidgin stage in its history. Three varieties of N are regional forms of same language, not different forms. Decreolization has not taken place, and probably will not., last modified 3/20/2005