Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How to invent a Creole

A new invented language, "Esata", as described by its creators:
Many people have studied English and can speak it well, but millions of others who do not have the time or the educational background are also speaking it, badly. Less competent speakers of English represent an ever increasing user group. Eventually, we can expect that the numbers of those who speak some Creole or corrupted version of English will predominate over those who speak it well. In this context Esata is proposed as the basis for a standard internationalized 'creole English', an attempt to gain control over the 'vulgarized' form of the language, and influence its future.

Words are formed from syllables of consonant plus vowel. The normal English alphabet is used, but vowels have only one sound, and some consonants have different sounds (c as ch, x as sh).

Here are some examples of phrases in Esata:

hubiyu who are you?
wobixi where is she?
vayuti what do you think?
bidara is that right?
hobihiko how is he coming?
yonotavegu I don't talk very good
feyunosanose If you don't know, don't say
mikanorenu My car isn't running now.

What is the official definition of a "creole", anyway? The UN High Commission on Human Rights explains:
A 'Pidgin' (and also a 'Creole') is a language variety used for interethnic contact... As a result thereof, the language in question may undergo drastic changes and result in an entirely new language... Pidgin is usually not anyone's primary language (so its users have their native tongue to fall back on for in-group communication), but when it becomes a native language for its speakers it is called a Creole.
One of the main languages that must have inspired Esata is Nigerian Pidgin English, spoken by tens of millions of West Africans. The UNHCHR explains that "Nigerian Pidgin English... [has] no unified standard or orthography. It is used in novels, plays, radio, poetry and becoming more and more important as a language."

Nigerian Pidgin English is among the hundreds of languages and dialects that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into:

For December 10, 1948, di meeting of di whole world, wey dem de call United Nations (naim be say all di kontris wey de for di world come unite to be one), come hold talk and dem come bring out one paper and write wetin suppose to be our right inside. Dem call am Human Rights...