Archived 15th edition
Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Tok Pisin

Tok Pisin

A language of Papua New Guinea

ISO 639-3: tpi

Population 121,000 (2003 SIL). 50,000 monolinguals.
Region Mainly in the northern half of the country, and now well established in Port Moresby, and into other regions.
Alternate names   Pisin, Pidgin, Neomelanesian, New Guinea Pidgin English, Melanesian English
Dialects There are dialect differences between lowlands, highlands, and the islands. The highlands lexicon has more English influence (J. Holm).
Classification Creole, English based, Pacific
Language use Official language. The first language of some people in mixed urban areas. The main means of communication between speakers of different languages. The most frequently used language in Parliament and commerce. Some second-language users speak a 'broken' Pidgin. Where it is the first language, it is passed on to children by parents. 4,000,000 second-language speakers. All domains. Used in schools, churches, government, commerce. All ages. Positive language attitude.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 40% to 45%. Newspapers. Radio programs. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1989.
Comments Agriculturalists; merchants. Christian, traditional religion.