of pigeons, pidgins, and pop

pigeon-by-scaleagencyAbove is a photo of pigeons originally posted on local photographer scaleagency’s blog entitled “Assignment Photography”. Very interesting.  It reminded me of a shot I took in Pilsen some time ago (see below).  On both, I wonder what the birds must be thinking, and what they would utter at that moment, if given the chance.  My theory is that they are much brighter than we give them credit for (and I do not agree with the whole “rats-with-wings theory [Michael]).  For more from scaleagency (Paul Muhammad), click here.

Another thing that interests me is language (more specifically, Linguistics [the sources of languages]).  One group of anomalies I love is the band of pidgins that exists out there (see, this rant is related… kind of).  Pidgins are languages that are broken down, impure, and/or simplified versions of their parent tongue (like street style versus runway fashion).  An example is Nigerian Pidgin, which contains bits of English, Yoruba, and Portuguese among other languages.   An example of the Pidgin is:

The babe dey do nyanga or the girl is playing hard to get

…or, you could simply listen to almost any Fela Kuti track.

Ironically, according to Wikipedia, “The origin of the word pidgin is uncertain. The first time pidgin appeared in print was in 1850, [but] there are many sources from which the word may be derived. For example:

  • A Chinese mispronunciation of the English word business.
  • The Portuguese word ocupação (business).
  • The Hebrew word pidjom (barter).
  • A Yayo word pidians, which means people.
  • English pigeon, a bird sometimes used for carrying brief written messages, especially in times prior to modern telecommunications”

To me, such languages express the living quality of languages… Their ability to grow with the people who use them.  But, they also reflect the history of a community; they carry bits of language left like scars, or testaments, from every intersection of divergent cultures.

contemplating pigeon

NOTE: To explain Pidgins another way, I’ll break down what I call the Pidgin of Pop: Malta.  Malta is a dark brown malt beverage, like stout, but it tastes sort of like molasses and is non- alcoholic.   What’s compelling to me about malta is it is popular throughout the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, but is also popular in areas of Africa like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and in the Indian Ocean (even though it started out in Germany).  Each of these seemingly divergent cultures have their own spin on the soda:

Many Latin Americans serve Malta with condensed or evaporated milk while Africans often serve it with ice (unlike beer).

Either way, it’s delicious (and a hard-core part of multiple cultures).

malta-india2

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About ayanacontreras

i love the transportive powers of sound. i am a radio host/producer, DJ, Sound designer, 45rpm collector, and art lover living in the city of wind. View all posts by ayanacontreras

3 responses to “of pigeons, pidgins, and pop

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