AUSTRALIAN PIDGIN. A general name for contact varieties of English, used especially between Aborigines and European settlers from the late 18c, which spread from Sydney to other settlements. One of the most important, pidgin English in Queensland (also known as Queensland Canefields English and Queensland Kanaka English) was used on the sugar plantations c.1860–1910. It appears to be descended from New South Wales pidgin, an early CONTACT LANGUAGE taken north by explorers, convicts, and settlers, and spoken mainly by Melanesian indentured labourers rather than by Aborigines. Most returned to their home islands by 1910 and the pidgin currently exists only in fragmentary form among the elderly. However, it had a great influence on the subsequent development of MELANESIAN PIDGIN ENGLISH. Other varieties include KRIOL, in the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia, and Torres Strait BROKEN, in the Torres Strait Islands. See ABORIGINAL ENGLISH.
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