Tok Pisin

Tok Pisin (; Tok Pisin ) is a creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in that country. In parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro Province and Milne Bay Provinces, however, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal, especially among older people. While it likely developed as a trade pidgin, Tok Pisin has become a distinct language in its own right. Non-academic Anglophones living in Papua New Guinea tend to refer to it as “Pidgin,” “New Guinea Pidgin” or “Pidgin English”, but it is common usage among academics, as well as people familiar with Tok Pisin, to refer to the language by its own name. Between five and six million people use Tok Pisin to some degree, although not all speak it well. Many now learn it as a first language, in particular the children of parents or grandparents who originally spoke different vernaculars (for example, a mother from Madang and a father from Rabaul). Urban families in particular, and those of police and defence force members, often communicate among themselves in Tok Pisin, either never gaining fluency in a vernacular (tok ples), or learning a vernacular as a second (or third) language, after Tok Pisin (and possibly English). Perhaps one million people now use Tok Pisin as a primary language.