Tok Pisin is one of the national languages used in Papua New Guinea. It is a kind of Pidgin English, which was developed during the 19th century. The language came about as a result of increased economic interaction between the Europeans and Melanesians. When laborers from the Pacific Islands worked side by side in Australian plantations, they did not have a common language to use. As a result of this, they developed their own form of English, which borrowed words from other languages. When those laborers returned to their countries of origin, they took with them the new pidgin. This is what later became known as Pijin in the Solomon Islands and Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea. The language is still used up to date.
There are over 800 languages that are in use in Papua New Guinea and Tok Pisin plays an integral role. Approximately 4 million people speak this language, with 50,000 of them being monolinguals. Other names for Tok Pisin includes Melanesian English, New Guinea Pidgin English, Neomelanesian, Pisin and Pidgin. Most of the Tok Pisin words have been borrowed from the English dictionary. Tok Pisin is derived from the word tok, which means talk and Pisin, which means Pidgin. The Tok Pisin language has 24 letters of the alphabet. It is written using the Latin script.
Hiri Motu and English are the other official languages that are used in Papua New Guinea. Tok Pisin is frequently used by government officials and by some TV and radio stations and newspapers. Most government documents published in English, but political campaigns and debates in parliament are carried out using the Tok Pisin language. It is also used as a language of instruction in schools, especially in lower primary classes. Even though some people view Tok Pisin as being an inferior language to English, it is still widely used. There are dialectical differences among various Tok Pisin groups. This includes the Tok Pisin which is spoken in the highlands, lowlands and islands. People of all ages and domains use this language. The language is normally passed on from parents to children.