a1 University of Kiel
Why are pidgin utterances structured linguistically the way they are? Why, as has often been noted, do the linguistic structures of different pidgins tend to be more similar to each other than to the structure of the original languages involved in the specific pidgin? This has been noted as all the more surprising since these similarities also occur in cases where totally unrelated languages are involved, so that borrowing must be excluded; or where historical explanations cannot apply because there was no contact in the past at all. It will be suggested here that these similarities result from universal linguo-cognitive processing strategies which man employs in learning languages. Some of these strategies are universal in the sense that they apply in all acquisitional types so that pidgins have some properties which recur in all types of acquisition. Other strategies are more restricted in their applicability, for example, to the various types of second language (L2) acquisition.