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Massachusett Pidgin English was an English-based contact language that had developed in early seventeenth century New England and Long Island as a medium of communication between the Native speakers of Algonquian languages and the English settlers that began to settle the coastal areas in 1620s. The use of Massachusett Pidgin English co-existed in Massachusett-speaking communities with their original dialects as well as Massachusett Pidgin, another contact language that was Massachusett-based. Unlike Massachusett Pidgin, which was confused with the Massachusett language by the English colonists, attestations of Massachusett Pidgin English are quite numerous. As few of the colonists were able to or willing to master either Massachusett or its Pidgin variety, those that traded and lived dire

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  • Massachusett Pidgin English
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  • Massachusett Pidgin English was an English-based contact language that had developed in early seventeenth century New England and Long Island as a medium of communication between the Native speakers of Algonquian languages and the English settlers that began to settle the coastal areas in 1620s. The use of Massachusett Pidgin English co-existed in Massachusett-speaking communities with their original dialects as well as Massachusett Pidgin, another contact language that was Massachusett-based. Unlike Massachusett Pidgin, which was confused with the Massachusett language by the English colonists, attestations of Massachusett Pidgin English are quite numerous. As few of the colonists were able to or willing to master either Massachusett or its Pidgin variety, those that traded and lived dire
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  • Massachusett Pidgin English
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  • Massachusett Pidgin English
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  • Massachusett Pidgin English was an English-based contact language that had developed in early seventeenth century New England and Long Island as a medium of communication between the Native speakers of Algonquian languages and the English settlers that began to settle the coastal areas in 1620s. The use of Massachusett Pidgin English co-existed in Massachusett-speaking communities with their original dialects as well as Massachusett Pidgin, another contact language that was Massachusett-based. Unlike Massachusett Pidgin, which was confused with the Massachusett language by the English colonists, attestations of Massachusett Pidgin English are quite numerous. As few of the colonists were able to or willing to master either Massachusett or its Pidgin variety, those that traded and lived directly next to Indian villages communicated in Massachusett Pidgin English. The use of Massachusett Pidgin English supplanted the use of Massachusett Pidgin and likely even overtook the native language in community. In a process likely to decreolization, the speakers of Massachusett Pidgin English began to adjust their language to the English of their neighbors, and since the nineteenth century, all the descendants of the Massachusett-speaking peoples have been monolingual English speakers. Massachusett Pidgin English and Massachusett Pidgin are of special interest to scholars of the English language as it seems that these two languages were the vectors of transmission of Algonquian loan words into the English language. The English settlers of New England called the specialized Indian vocabulary 'wigwam words,' after wigwam, the Massachusett Pidgin and Massachusett Pidgin English term for 'house' or 'home' instead of the Massachusett term wetu (weetyuw). Unfortunately, as the English settlers and their descendants pushed westward, they retained elements of Massachusett Pidgin English, especially vocabulary, in dealings with other tribes, and many of the words used innocently by the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, such as 'squaw,' 'sannup,' 'wampum' and 'peace pipe,' are viewed by most Native peoples today as pejorative, racist insults due to their use by the English settlers and pioneers, and use of these terms by White teachers in Native American public schools is believed to be one reason for the high dropout rates of Native students in U.S. schools.
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ethnicity
  • Massachusett, Wôpanâak , Pawtucket, Coweset, Nauset, other Algonquian peoples of New England and Long Island, English
extinct
  • Extinct early 19th century.
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  • Creole
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  • cpe-u-sd-usma
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  • The location of the Massachusett/Wampanoag tribe and their neighbors, c. 1600
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  • New England and Long Island, particularly eastern Massachusetts.
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  • none
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