Abstract

Abstract:

Stage pidgin, the highly stylized, apparently reductive entertainment language of comedy, shares lexical features with historical West Indian pidgin. Originally a language of labor and of ordinary people, it becomes the authoritative form of didactic, comedic, and satiric statements of the common slave against slave owners. Not becoming popular in its own right until after George Colman the younger's opera Inkle and Yarico (1787), and subsequently subject to rapid innovation, stage pidgin became the most popular form of the slave voice which lasted through the Harlem Renaissance. That it overwrote the diction of other comedic characters from the Americas, East Indies, and Pacifc Islands had everything to do with its anti-racist, anti-slavery impetus in the 1790s.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 63-87
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-19
Open Access
No
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