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Creole Languages

Did you know that German is spoken in the South Pacific? It's really true! In parts of Papua New Guinea and Australia, people speak Unserdeutsch. It is a Creole language. Creole languages emerge in language contact situations. That is, when multiple different languages encounter one another. By now, many Creole languages are almost extinct. But worldwide 15 million people still speak a Creole language. Creole languages are always native languages. It's different with Pidgin languages. Pidgin languages are very simplified forms of speech. They are only good for very basic communication. Most Creole languages originated in the colonial era. Therefore, Creole languages are often based on European languages. One characteristic of Creole languages is a limited vocabulary. Creole languages have their own phonology too. The grammar of Creole languages is heavily simplified. Complicated rules are simply ignored by the speakers. Each Creole language is an important component of national identity. As a result, there is a lot of literature written in Creole languages. Creole languages are especially interesting for linguists. This is because they demonstrate how languages develop and later die out. So the development of language can be studied in Creole languages. They also prove that languages can change and adapt. The discipline used to research Creole languages is Creolistics, or Creology. One of the best-known sentences in the Creole language comes from Jamaica. Bob Marley made it world famous – do you know it? It's No woman, no cry! (= No, woman, don't cry!)

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