pidgin » pigeon

Chiefly in:   pigeon English (etc.)

Variant(s):  pidgeon

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I agree. Do Japan a favour. Abolish eikaiwa losers and parasite JETS. Bring in professional standards and help purge Japan of pidgeon english by ensuring competent educators with real qualifications. (link)
  • i have tried online translators but the pidgeon english it spits out doesn’t make sense. (link)
  • His awkward manner, pidgeon French, and wanderlust keep him from settling down. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/10 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Philip Newton , 2005/02/15 at 5:26 pm

    This is what I used to think it was, when our music teacher told us he spoke “pigeon German” — a phrase that made no sense to me at the time. (I must have been about 12 or so.)

  2. 2

    Commentary by Rod Williams , 2005/08/25 at 4:16 pm

    There’s a variation of this in The New York Times, 8/25/05, an Op-Ed piece ironically entitled “Lost In Translation,” by Thomas X. Hannes.

    “…unless there is an interpreter… a message as simple as ‘look behind the grade school’ is impossible to convey in hand signals and pigeon English.”

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