Between the Seventeenth and the Nineteenth centuries, approximately four million Africans were taken to the Caribbean as slaves. Slave traders deliberately mixed slaves up so that there were few together who spoke the same language or came from the same tribe. This was to prevent plotting and conspiracy. The only common language was that of their oppressors, whether they were French, British or Dutch. As a result of this, new languages, called pidgins, were created. The slaves used these pidgins to communicate. These languages have a limited vocabulary, a simple grammatical structure and a narrow range of functions.
They have their own rules and are creative adaptations of languages to serve a practical purpose, for example, trading is the main purpose behind Chinook Jargon used by the American Indians when trading with North West USA. Pidgins cease to exist when the original purpose disappears. Sometimes, a pidgin becomes the first language of the next generation, when it can no longer be called a pidgin. Sometimes the pidgin is lost for example, pidgin English appeared during the Vietnam war and disappeared after the war was over. Once this pidgin form becomes the first language of the next generation, it is called a Creole.Order now
Creoles are distinct languages with their own rules. English has always had different dialects, though as people travel further from their native towns, some of the differences have been eroded. At one time, Bill Bryson says in Mother Tongue, it was possible to travel twenty miles outside London and be unable to understand the local dialect. However, since people travel more and there has been increasing globalisation, these Creoles are used widely and have played their part in enriching English, just as the influence or Old French and Old Norse enriched it in the past.
In the 1950s, many people emigrated to England from the West Indies in pursuit of work their children and grandchildren continue to live in England as British citizens, often speaking and writing in Black English by choice. The Creoles differ, depending where its speakers originate thus Jamaican Creole is different to Guyanan Creole. Patois is another, less technical term, for Creole. Creole is often used by writers for effect, when the choice of Standard English is also at their disposal. Edward Braithwaite coined the term Nation Language.
This term is used particularly when referring to Creole employed in Literature. There is always a reason for this, an authorial choice. When encountering Nation Language in a literary text, the reader should question why it has been used just as one would analyse the layers of language in a Shakespeare play, in order to develop ideas about authorial purpose. It is important to realise that there are many varieties of Black English as well as different registers. For the purposes of study, however, it is possible to make some generalisations about its features.