Koines

There are many different ways that languages or a language can interact with each other. One way is how different dialects of a language interact. A koine is a dialect that is a blend of other dialects that have had direct contact with each other.

In this post, we will discuss the follow

  • Koine vs pidgins and creoles
  • Development of koines

Koine vs Pidgins and Creoles

Koine is a lesser known term to the general public in comparison to pidgin and creole. The word “koine” comes from the same Greek word that means “common.” In other words, koine is what two or more dialects have in common. For those familiar with biblical languages you would n=know that the term “Koine” Greek is the language of the New Testament, which means the New Testament was written in common Greek.

As mentioned in the introduction a koine is the interaction of two or more dialects to create new common dialect. In contrast, a pidgin is the interaction of two languages to make a new third language. A pidgin can eventually mature into a Creole which is a pidgin that is spoken as the native language of people. There seems to be no term for a koine that is spoken natively.

Developing a Koine

The process of developing a Koine is known as koineization. There are both linguistic and social factors that contribute to the development of a koine. For linguistic factors, they include leveling and simplification and for the social factor, it involves accommodation, prestige.

Levelling is the elimination from the koine distinct sounds from the colliding dialects. An example of this is the loss of the post-vocalic [r] in parts of England.

Simplification is the process of the simplest characteristics of the dialects being included in the new koine. The dialect with the fewer rules and exceptions almost always emerges as having more influence on the koine.

The social factor of accommodations means that people will copy something they believe is prestigious or “cool.” If a certain dialect is considered unacceptable it will not lead to a koine because of people’s dislike of it. As such accommodation and prestige are interrelated concepts.

Conclusion

Koine and koineization are two words that help to explain where dialects come from. As such, for those who have an interest in linguistics, these are terms to be familiar with

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