Not an ask really, but I watch TV with the subtitles on (because of the stupid way they like to play with sound between speaking and CRASHING STUFF TOGETHER). I thought it was interesting that every time the actors on The 100 speak Trigadeslang the subtitle says [speaks in Grounder Creole]. Someone should have a quick chat with them about how offensive that feels. Or with me because I am offended by a TV show's subtitles.
Well, let me help you with at least one aspect of this. First, this is something I didn’t know anything about until recently, because I don’t ever look at the subtitles for English shows. (Or, more accurately, I don’t look at the closed captioning. Obviously for the shows I work on, mandatory subtitles are provided for my language work as a part of the show.) The closed captioning is not something that the writing staff does; it’s a separate department. I’m not sure how the whole process works, but there’s probably one person on staff that’s a liaison with the person doing the CC, and the CC person probably only contacts them if they have a question. Thus, I don’t know whose decision it was to call Trigedasleng “Grounder Creole”, but I’m sure the choice wasn’t a malicious one.
I don’t think calling Trigedasleng “Grounder Creole” is offensive, or at least not in the sense you’re probably thinking. It’s incorrect, so that’s annoying, but annoying in the same way one would be annoyed by someone referring to Harry Potter as a novel. It’s not a novel: It’s either a book series, or a character in a book series, but there is no actual novel called Harry Potter. Trigedasleng is a language; a creole is a language; Trigedasleng is not a creole.
Before going too far, know that the term “creole” is a term, not an arbitrary name. In linguistics, there are two terms of relevance here: pidgins and creoles. A pidgin is a linguistic system used in contact situations. It’s not 100% consistent, it’s not a full-fledged language, and it’s nobody’s primary means of communication. Nevertheless, it’s an invented system that serves a functional purpose—usually in trade (e.g. there’s a port with ships coming from all over with sailors speaking a dozen languages, but the pidgin works well enough for them to communicate in the limited means necessary to get boats docked, unload cargo, purchase goods, get repairs done, etc.).
A creole, on the other hand, is a full-fledged and stable language. Creole languages are the primary—and, often, only—language of people all over the planet. Creole languages have their roots in pidgin languages, in that if a pidgin comes to be used over a long period of time in a given region, it will eventually stabilize. As new speakers emerge and the former pidgin becomes their primary means of communication, the system stabilizes and expands to such a degree that it can handle all aspects of communication, the way any language can.
Why the term “creole” as opposed to just “language”? There’s no functional reason. It’s useful to know, though, that a creole language had its roots in a recent pidgin language, as it will help to understand its evolution by knowing its origins. Plus, creole languages, regardless of their lexical origins, share a lot in common in terms of their grammatical evolution, so it’s useful to look at them as a group, much the way it’s useful to group languages from the same language family together.
A confounding factor with this terminology is the fact that the words “pidgin” and “creole” are used in the names for a number of language, and often the usages don’t match up. For example, Melanesian Pidgin English is a creole, despite the fact that the name has “pidgin” in it. Same with Hawaiian Pidgin English (which is probably one of the main reasons it was renamed Hawaiian Creole English). It’s important when discussing and researching creole languages to be sure to know when the term is meant and when a name is being employed. So languages like Krio, Bislama, Papiamento, Haitian Creole, and Jamaican Patois are all creole (lower case “c”) languages.
The key thing that ties pidgin and creole languages together is their roots in contact situations: a place where (usually) monolingual speakers of a bunch of different languages are interacting in the same area. This was not the case with Trigedasleng. Trigedasleng is simply a possible evolution of English with a fantasy element thrown in (the code of the initial survivors). That code, though, is not enough to cause one to call it a contact situation. If anything, it’s just a large-scale case of taboo replacement.
I think the reason Trigedasleng is often compared to creole languages is because (a) most people only know of creole languages that use English as a lexifier language, and (b) there are some superficial similarities between English-lexifier creole languages and Trigedasleng. In the case of Trigedasleng, though, these changes came about due to sound changes which resulted in the loss of many word-final consonants (and, along with it, a lot of English’s inflection). Beyond that, though, Trigedasleng looks and sounds a lot more like modern colloquial English than it does any English-lexifier creole. That’s by design, of course, since that’s what it evolved from.
So, to sum up, calling it a creole is incorrect, but it’s a technical misdesignation, and that’s it. Maybe someone at @the100writers would know how to clear things up with the closed captioning (either by calling it Trigedasleng, or, if that’s not clear enough, Grounder language). Either way, noted!