Publication details [#54015]

Matthews, Stephen, Umberto Ansaldo and Geoff P. Smith. 2010. China Coast Pidgin. Texts and contexts. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 25 (1) : 63–94.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper revisits some long-standing questions regarding the origins and structure of China Coast Pidgin (CCP), also known as Chinese Pidgin English. It first reviews the historical context of the China Trade which formed the ecology for the development of CCP. Then it reviews the available sources, focusing on newly transcribed data from Chinese-language instructional materials. These sources provide fresh evidence for grammatical structure in CCP, and demonstrate strong influence from Cantonese as the major substrate language. Comparison with English-language sources shows systematic contrasts which point to likely variation between Anglophone and Sinophone lects, as in the case of wh-questions which show regular wh-fronting in English sources and pervasive use of wh-in-situ in Chinese sources. This conclusion helps to resolve the debate over the Sinitic features of CCP.