I´m aware the given tittle might be a little bit surprising, but let me explain. Imagine that you and your friend speak two, so different languages as Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Got it? Now, imagine that you can easily communicate with him using partly your own language. How is that possible?

Kyakhtian* (Russian: Кяхтинский язык, Mandarin Chinese: 中俄混合語 (中俄混合语)) is a pidgin. To be able to differ pidgin and creole, let me continue with the example: when you and your friend create Kyakhtian (already speaking Russian or Mandarin Chinese), it’s  a pidgin. But if your children speak it, having it as a mother tongue (or just learned as the following generation), it’s creole.

So first, let’s localize where it was spoken. Look at the map below: 5738040199741440
As you can see, there’s Kyaght (in Mongolian) at the Russian side and at the Mongolian side Altanbulag (Алтанбулаг), which is a different city (back then in Chinese called Maimaicheng 买卖城). It all started in 1727 with the Treaty of Kyakhta, which regulated the relations between China and Russia, in the same time opening the trade between those two countries. They exchanged fur from Russia for Chinese tea mainly. It lasted until the middles of 19th century.

To simplify:

Kjachta-Pidgin hatte eine der chinesischen Sprache entsprechende, einfache grammatische Struktur und benutzte mehrheitlich russische und mongolische Wörter mit einem begrenzten Vokabular, das sich überwiegend auf Handel und Handelswaren bezog (Perechval’skaja 2008).

“Kyakhtian pidgin had a simply grammatical structure congruent with Mandarin Chinese and used mainly Russian and Mongolian vocabulary with limited words, that was connected in the most to the trade and trade products”
Example:
ENGLISH: He sat in the grass.
KYAKHTIAN: Sidi trava r’adom (which literally means: Sit grass near)

The word order was generally neglected as they needed to communicate, not to write poems. To complete the image of this pidgin, let’s go through several lexical examples:
Russian: posle (later) – > Kyakhtian: poselja
Russian: spasibo (thank you) – > Kyakhtian: sepasibo
Russian: magazin – > Kyakhtian: magazina
Russiam: slovo (word) – > Kyakhtian: solovo

This is really just a piece of general information I found. I could only find something in English or German, but I am sure that in Russian or Chinese you would find a lot more.

Why am I writing about it? There are two reasons: the first is always the same – becuase I want to share with you something interesting. The second is – what is interesting about it is the fact that we can observe how people can create a tool for themselves just for a while and then give it up. It’s funny how they decided when this pidgin should be born and when it should die.
I assumed it was dead, but I haven’t found any official information about it, however surely for trade issues it is not needed anymore.

Please, if you find more about this pidgin in any language and you can translate this source, I would be really grateful and happy to read about this more.

Take care,

sing

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