“Two Sides of the Same Coin”: Yokohama Pidgin Japanese and Japanese Pidgin English


  • Andrei A. AVRAM University of Bucharest




Yokohama Pidgin Japanese, Japanese Pidgin English, phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary, pre-pidgin.


The paper is a comparative overview of the phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon of Yokohama Pidgin Japanese and Japanese Pidgin English, formerly spoken in Japan. Both varieties are shown to exhibit features typical of pre-pidgins, while they differ considerably in the circumstances of their emergence and the context of use.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Andrei A. AVRAM, University of Bucharest

    Department of English



Algeo, J. (1960) Korean Bamboo English. American Speech XXXV (2), 115-123.

Anon. (1879) A new dialect; or, Yokohama Pidgin. Littell’s Living Age 142 (1836), 496-500.

Atkinson, H. (1879) Revised and Enlarged Edition of Exercises in the Yokohama Dialect. Yokohama.

Avram, A.A. (2005). Fonologia limbii japoneze contemporane. Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti.

Avram, A. A. (2013) When East meets West: A 19th century variety of pidginized Japanese. Paper presented at the Third International Symposium on Japanese Studies “The Quest for Modernity in Japan”, 2–4 March 2013, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Bucharest.

Avram, A. A. (2014).Yokohama Pidgin Japanese revisited. Acta Linguistica Asiatica 4 (1), 29-46.

Avram, A. A. (2016). An extinct variety of pidginized English: Japanese Pidgin English. In M. Burada, O. Tatu & R. Sinu (eds.), 12th Conference on British and American Studies “Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Construction of Meaning”, 6-24. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bakker, P. (1995) Pidgins.In J. Arends, P. Muysken & N. Smith (eds.), Pidgins and Creoles. An Introduction, 25-39. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Bakker, P. (2003) The absence of reduplication in pidgins. In S. Kouwenberg (ed.). Twice as Meaningful. Reduplication in Pidgins, Creoles and Other Contact Languages, 37-46. London, Battlebridge.

Bakker, Peter. (2008) Pidgins versus Creoles and Pidgincreoles. In S. Kouwenberg & J.V. Singler (eds.), The Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Studies, 130-157. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Bakker, P. & Parkvall, M. (2005) Reduplication in Pidgins and Creoles. In B. Hurch (ed.), Studies in Reduplication, 511-532. Berlin New York, Mouton de Gruyter.

Chamberlain, B. H. (1904) Things Japanese, Being Notes on Various Subjects Connected with Japan for the Use of Travellers and Others. London: Murray.

Daniels, F. J. (1948) The vocabulary of the Japanese ports lingo. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XII (3-4), 805-823.

Diósy, A. (1879) Japoniana curiosissima. Littell’s Living Age 142 (1836), 500-501.

Duke, C. R. (1972) The Bamboo style of English. College Composition and Comunication 21 (2), 170-172.

Ferguson, C. A. 1971/1996. Absence of copula and the notion of simplicity: A study of normal speech, Baby Talk, Foreigner Talk and pidgins”. In T. Huebner (ed.), Charles A. Ferguson, Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Papers on Language in Society, 1959 – 1994, 115-123. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gills, H. A. (1886) A Glossary of Reference on Subjects Connected with the Far East, second edition. Hong Kong: Lane, Crawfors & Co.; Shanghai & Yokohama: Kelly & Walsh; London: Bernard Quaritch.

Goodman, J. S. (1967) The development of a dialect of English-Japanese Pidgin. Anthropological Linguistics 9 (6), 43-55.

Griffis, W. E. (1883) The Mikado’s Empire. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Hume, B. (1954) Babysan’s World. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.

Hume, B. & Annarino, J. (1953a) Babysan: A Private Look at the JapaneseOccupation. Tokyo: Kasuga Boeki K. K.

Hume, B. & Annarino, J. (1953b) When We Get back Home. Tokyo: Kyoya.

Inoue, A. (2003) Sociolinguistic history and linguistic features of Pidginized Japanese in Yokohama. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, January 2003, Atlanta.

Inoue, A. (2004) Pidginized variety of Japanese in Yokohama: Can we label it a pidgin?. In K. Ikeda & J. Robideau (eds.), Proceedings 2003. Selected Papers from the College-Wide Conference for Students in Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, 116-127. Mānoa: College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, University of Hawai’i.

Inoue, A. (2006) Grammatical features of Yokohama Pidgin Japanese: Common characteristics of restricted pidgins. In N. McGloin & J. Mori (eds.), Japanese/Korean Linguistics 15, 55-66. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Knollys, H. (1887) Sketches of Life in Japan. London: Chapman and Hall.

Lange, R. (1903) A Text-book of Colloquial Japanese. Tokyo: Kyobunkan.

Lentzner, K. (1892) Dictionary of the Slang English of Australia and of Some Mixed Languages: With an Appendix. Halle, Leipzig: Ehrhardt Karras.

Loveday, L. J. 1986. Explorations in Japanese Sociolinguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Loveday, L. J. (1996) Language Contact in Japan. A Socio-linguistic History. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Michener, J. (1954) Sayonara. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett.

Mühlhäusler, P. (1997) Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, expanded and revised edition. London: University of Westminster Press.

Norman, A. M. Z. (1954) Linguistic aspects of the mores of U.S. occupation and security forces in Japan. American Speech XXIX (3): 301-302.

Norman, A. M. Z. (1955) Bamboo English. The Japanese influence on American speech in Japan. American Speech XXX (1): 44-48.

Quackenbush, H. C. & Ōso, M. (1991) Gairaigo no keisei to sono kyōiku. Tokyo: Kokuritsu Kokugo Kenkyūjo.

Sebba, M. (1997) Contact Languages. Pidgins and Creoles. London: Macmillan.

Stanlaw, J. (1987) Japanese and English: Borrowing and contact. World Englishes 6 (2): 93-109.

Stanlaw, J. (1996) Japanese Pidgin English. In T. McArthur (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the English Language, 543. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stanlaw, J. (2004) Japanese English Language and Culture Contact. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Stanlaw, J. (2006) Japanese and English. Borrowing and contact. In K. Bolton and B. B. Kachru (eds.), World Englishes, 179-200. New York: Routledge.

Shibatani, M. (1990) The Languages of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Webster, G. (1960) Korean Bamboo English once more. American Speech 35 (4), 261-265.



28. 06. 2017



Research articles

How to Cite

AVRAM, A. A. (2017). “Two Sides of the Same Coin”: Yokohama Pidgin Japanese and Japanese Pidgin English. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 7(1), 57-76. https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.7.1.57-76