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The Database of Early Pidgin and Creole Texts (DEPiCT) will be a standard reference database for historical linguistic studies on contact languages. It assembles annotated texts of early attestations and descriptions of contact languages, allowing for in-depth studies on individual contact languages as well as comparative linguistic, sociolinguistic and language sociological studies on the early stages, formation and development of contact languages. By allowing direct comparison between texts, the database also makes it possible to evaluate the reliability of early sources.

Detailed annotation of linguistic data as

  1. morphologically segmented text
  2. orthographic lexifier equivalence
  3. source language
  4. gloss 
  5. word class 
  6. free translation

will make the database maximally searchable for language data on individual languages, the development of specific linguistic items as well as cross-comparison between contact languages on linguistic data and grammaticalization paths.

Contextual and sociolinguistic annotation (such as location of utterance, sociobiographical speaker information, the domains of language use, language attitudes) opens up new avenues for systematic research on the emergence and use of contact languages and will allow large-scale and systematic correlation of linguistic data with sociolinguistic information.

By assembling these texts, DEPiCT also serves as an online backup and archive for posteriority, making available texts and records that are at the moment scattered among researchers or library archives.

The database will be freely available online for any registered user.