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CONTACT LANGUAGE. In SOCIOLINGUISTICS, a simplified variety of language that develops in situations where most speakers have no common language, such as ports, trading posts, plantations, and colonial garrison towns. It generally retains features of the varieties that contribute to it, usually local vernaculars and one or more languages brought by traders, settlers, soldiers, and missionaries. It may also draw on universal strategies for communicating without a shared language. See FOREIGNER TALK, LINGUA FRANCA, PIDGIN.