Sunday, April 20, 2008

Creole Cooking

A pidgin is a low-end language that arises in order to bridge the interoperability gap between two communities - each with its own full featured language.

Pidgins consist largely of nouns, verbs and adjectives with few or no articles, conjunctions or prepositions and no consistent grammar. Pidgins aren't elegant, but they serve a purpose - typically facilitating commerce and trade between the two groups that find themselves thrown together.

Hmm, I'm seeing some links
  • Hawaiian Pidgin is a creole that developed on Hawaii, based on English but influenced by Japanese, Portuguese, and Cantonese (and others).
  • Eve grew up in Hawaii.
  • Eve informally chairs Project Concordia.
  • Concordia's mandate is to explore the issues that arise at the boundaries between identity languages like Infocards, SAML, WS-Federation, ID-WSF, etc. While Concordia is not developing any new languages (convention not invention), the motivation is the same, ie. let's do just what we need to in order to get the money flowing.
  • Like Australian, Hawaiian Pidgin doesn't pronounce the 'r' when it follows a vowel, e.g. "I'm gonna drive my blooody cah down to the blooody grog shop to buy some blooody beya. Emma chisit?'
  • New England American English is similar.
  • Patrick Haading is an Australian living in Boston - and pronounces the name of his company as Peeng.
  • In the Russo-Norsk pidgin that developed between Russian traders & Norwegian fishermen in the last century, 'Peeng' was the name of the ceremony by which representatives of the two communities would establish their bona fides before trading their goods.
If kids grow up listening to and speaking a given pidgin, then they will often push it to new heights of functionality - the result is a creole. A creole is more advanced than a pidgin, having a more extensive vocabulary, a consistent grammar and the ability to express anything a regular language can. It's as if the kids, impatient with the limitations of the pidgin, decide to create a real language on their own.

It's reassuring to think that there will be plenty of work for the next generation of identity system designers.

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