Origin of Pidgin & Creole: Polygenesis vs. Monogenesis Theory

By: Fatina Sarwar

Among an array of the theories of the pidgin and creole languages of the world
assumed, discussed, confirmed and dismissed by the international sociolinguists either
this time or the other, the polygenesis and monogenesis theories pose counter ratification
to be behind the sociolingustic phenomenon of the world observed by almost all the
sociolinguists as expressed by Ronald Wardhaugh (1986) in his book "An Introduction to
Sociolingustics" (72) that "Pidgins from very different parts of the world exhibit remarkable similarities in structures even when the standard languages they are associated with are quite
different. Furthermore, pidgins and creoles based on the same standar language but found in places far distant from one another may have a high degree of intelligibility, e.g., the various pidginized and creolized varieties of French found geographically as far apart as the Carribean , the Indian Ocean ,and the South
Pacific."

The antonymous polygenesis and monogenesis theories of the origin of pidgins and
creoles of the world are derived from the anthropological and linguistic concepts of
polygenism and monogenism of races and languages of the world. The advocates of polygenesis theories subscribe to the hypothesis of multiplicity of origins of the pidgins
and creoles of the world, a generated reflection of the polygenetic hypothesis of the
multiple origins of the languages of the world .For instance, if we suppose for the time
being that Bangla has somehow got the necessitated status of being the intermediary
basic linguistic means of trade and commerce in a number of disparate regions of the
world far from each other, the simplified pidginized forms of it could be distinct from
each other firstly because of their distant existences and then because of their association
with the varied indigenous languages.

However, the inevitable critical inquiry comes regarding the base language (here, let
us wishfully suppose that it is Bangla)to be the ultimate single origin of all the pidgins
and creoles generated from Bangla in distant parts of the world. Thus, the monogenesis
hypothesis conquers over the polygenesis hypothesis to be the substantiated theory of
origin of pidgins and creoles of the world.

The monogenesis theory of pidgin and creole postulates that pidgins and creoles of the
world can be traced back to a single origin like the monogenetic theory of world
language. "In linguistics, monogenism refers to the theory that all languages derive from
a single Proto-World language, as opposed to the view that language may have evolved
independently on more than one occasion"(Wikipedia). Therefore, "the quest to discover a common origin for pidgins and creoles -that is the quest for a monogenesis theory of
origin rather than a polygenesis theory -is now a serious one"(Wardhaugh 74).Likewise,
there must have been a proto-pidgin from which all the pidgin and creoles of the world
are originated and distributed in different parts of the world. For example, Bangla could have been the supposed proto-pidgin for all the probable pidginized and creolized pairs of
Bangla and other local languages of the distant parts of the world.

In fact, beside the parallelism of the Biblical assumption of the origin of the genesis of human races and the monogenesis theory of world languages ,the monogenesis theory of
pidgins and creoles of the world earns its due natural position of the general acceptance
(ensuring the disconfirmation of the polygenesis theory)of the sociolinguists.

Bibliography:

1.Wardhaugh, Ronald.An Introduction to Sociolinguisctis.Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.

2.Richards, J.Platt, J and Weber, H. Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics.
UK: Longman, 1985.

3.http://en.wikipedia.org. Online.18 November 2006.

Languages
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Languages
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles