3 Little Pigs rendered into Papua New Guinea pidgin

Mikey sez, "A recording of the story of the three little pigs in Pidgin Inglis (Tok Pisin). Great to listen to if you only speak English because you can get the gist of it anyway (and you already know the story)." I love listening to familiar texts in pidgin (moreover, I could just listen to pidgin being spoken all day long). The Ur-example, of course, is Makbed, Ken Campbell's Melanesian pidgin rendering of Macbeth.
Talking about Pidgin on radio prompted Ralph Newton to send in a copy of Tripela Liklik Pik (Three Little Pigs) he's had since he spent time in PNG in the 60's. Click on the related audio link below if you'd like to hear what Pidgin sounds like.

The back cover of the record says: "This unique story of the Three Little Pigs was translated into Pidgin and adapted to a Melanesian setting by The Reverend Paul Freyberg of the Lutheran mission at Madang. Mr Freyberg was the Chief Translator of the Nupela Testamen - the New Testament in Pidgin. The story was broadcast by Superintendent Mike Thomas in the ABC's Daily Learning Pidgin Series".

Lesson in New Guinea Pidgin

MP3 link

(Thanks, Mikey!)


  1. My Dad turned up for work one day in PNG. He was shown the broken piece of equipment he had been brought from Aus to fix. It had a sign on it which said “I BUGA UP”.

  2. “Na piky talk..  Na wile doggy talk..”

    This could totally be remixed into some crazy hiphop or dubstep samples. Anyone??

  3. Technically this isn’t a pidgin, it’s a creole. A pidgin is a first generation language that happens when people who have different language backgrounds (typically slaves) are forced to speak a common language to communicate with each other (usually the slave master’s language). It’s highly erratic syntactically and there are frequent changes in grammar and vocabulary because there are so many linguistic influences. When the pidgin speakers have kids, the little ones standardize the language in terms of syntax and vocabulary. This standardized language is called a creole. This pidgin–>creole process has been used as an argument for universal grammar.

    1. I’m sure you’re formally correct, but the actual name of this language is “Pidgin” (or, in Pidgin, “Tok Pisin.”

        1. No, because there are many, many pidgin dialects- not just the one. A pidgin, by definition, is a hybrid of two or even more languages. There are all kinds of combinations!


          I wrote a long, long paper about this… I am kind of obsessed. Yay language; we can always find a way to talk to each other! :P

  4. I started looking into Tok Pisin in the 70s as a language to use for artificial intelligence conversations, since it’s pretty simple. I like it a lot!
    em tasol!

  5. It looks much farther from English than the Hawaiian pidgin dialects (though those are closer to English today than they were a century ago.)  Hawaiian pidgin supported not only Hawaiian speakers, but also Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Filipino farm workers.

    I’m curious how they would have rendered “wolf”, since wolves aren’t native to the area.  There are tigers on Sumatra (don’t know if they made it to PNG), and some Polynesians had dogs. 

    1. I may have misunderstood the recording, but it sounds like the wolf has been changed to a dog.

  6. Skye, I thought the same thing as soon as I read this post, but then realized it’s the name of the language.  Good linguistic eye!

    1. Nope, not true! Look! :D


      ‘A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable, natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins (which are believed by scholars to be necessary precedents of creoles) in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from pidgins.’ Wow… :D

  7. ‘Me mind gi’ me se de mek me de’

    [My mind gives me that I exist] causes [(the fact that) I exist] 

    ‘I think therefore I am’ in Guyanese Creole! :D

    (runs away)

  8. Joe Hadley did a lot of this with Hawaiian Pidgin, superbly, in the early ’70s.  It’s hard to find copies nowadays.

  9. In Vanuatu the Pidgin is very similar to New Guinea and it is called Bislama. I am a great lover of this language and have discovered some great old Pidgin translations.
    “Mixmaster Blong Jesus Christ” meaning helicopter. Prince Charles is called ” Nambawan Pikinini Blong Missus Kwin”. And how about “Basket Blong Titi” meaning Bra.
    I was so intrigued by the language that I had to illustrate some of these gorgeous translations.
    http://onafilloy.blogspot.com/  I call this series of artwork ‘Pidgin Tok Tok’

  10. I spent 4 or so years of my childhood in Bougainville, PNG… and we had a copy of this. Man, this is truly bizarre.

     If you are interested, I recommend you check out George Telek and String Band Music… There was also a great album by Not Drowning Waving called Tabiraan which was a collaboration with a variety of PNG musicians including Telek.


    has some cool drumming and a nice Bougainville sunset…

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