_peke_ in Asian-Pacific pidgins

Danny Long dlong at bcomp.metro-u.ac.jp
Tue Jan 25 05:08:51 UTC 2000

When I asked about the term "serampang" (sarampan, etc.) in a Pidgin
Japanese used in 19th century Japanese ports, I received some very
helpful information.  Thank you.

There is another intriguing term found in this pidgin and seems to
derive from Malay.  The word is spelled "piggy" in the Yokohama pidgin
and is glossed variously as "remove, take away, carry off, clear the
table, get out of the road, etc."  It is generally believed to derive
from Malay _pergi_ 'to go', but some site Chinese _puko_ 'impossible'.
Since the Chinese had a big influence on the Yokohama Pidgin Japanese,
it seems likely that the coincidental similarity in usage would have
reinforced the usage of the expression.  This is one of the few words
from the 19th century pidgin which entered mainstream Japanese, as peke
'unacceptable, rejected, etc.'

Does anyone have any related information?  I am particularly interested
to know whether this term was common in other contact varieties, pidgin
Malay, pidgin English, etc.   I do know that the term _piki_ or _peke_
was used for 'go' in a Northwestern Australia pidgin Malay used among
Asian and aboriginal pearl divers early in this century.

Danny Long
Daniel Long, Associate Professor     tel  +81-426-77-2184
Japanese Language and Literature Dept.    fax  +81-426-77-2140
Tokyo Metropolitan University
1-1 Minami Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo  192-0397 Japan
mailto:dlong at bcomp.metro-u.ac.jp

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