Da kine / / is an expression in Hawaiian Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English), probably derived from "the kind", that usually functions grammatically as a placeholder name (compare to English "whatsit" and "whatchamacallit"), but can also take the role of a verb, adjective, or adverb. Unlike other placeholder names in English, however, which usually refer specifically to a device ("gizmo" or "widget"), person ("so-and-so"), or place ("Anytown, USA"), "da kine" is general in usage and could refer to anything from a person to an abstract concept. It can be used to refer to something nonspecific, or given enough context (especially when used in conversation between native speakers of the dialect) to something very specific. As such, it appears to be unique among English dialects, at least in its centrality to everyday speech.
"Da kine" is probably the most identifying characteristic of spoken Hawaiian Pidgin, and certainly the most versatile. The humorous illustrated dictionary Pidgin to Da Max defines "da kine" as: "the keystone of pidgin. You can use it anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Very convenient." A surfing dictionary lists da kine as "the word you use when you don't use the word."
It also happens to be one of the most frustratingly difficult aspects of Pidgin for non-native speakers to understand. While reports that native speakers of Pidgin can be unforgiving of amateurs may be exaggerated, some Hawaiians get a certain pleasure from using the word to non-native speakers.
"Da kine" is used as shorthand when it is likely the listener will understand what is meant from context or a combination of context and body language. One definition (in mixed Pidgin) is: "Can have any kine connotation depends on how you say um and who you say um wit."
"Da kine" may be related to the word "kine", which is used variously as an intensifier, short for "kind of" in the sense of "type of", and for many other purposes (perhaps almost as much variety as "da kine"). However, it may not be entirely accurate to analyze it as a phrase consisting of "da" (the Pidgin definite article) and "kine", as "kine" by itself does not have the same meaning. One possible analysis is that "da" in "da kine" is a clitic, as phrases such as "da odda kine" (other kind) or "all kine" (all kinds) are commonly used.
The simplest explanation of its origin comes from the simple context of its use. "Da Kine" comes from "the kind" or "the thing" and is used as an extremely vague, yet simple explanation of an action or object when something's specific name is unknown or cannot come to mind. (I talked on my 'da kine' = I talked on 'the thing you use to talk to people' = I talked on my 'phone') (I wen fo one da kine las night = I went for a 'the thing you do when you move your legs' last night = I went for a 'run' last night) A pidgin speaker who uses "da kine" for its true purpose (not local slang) will often repeat "da kine" several times and attempt to explain what it is to fully get the idea across.
While "da kine" appears in many contexts and refers to almost anything, it is frequently associated with something good or genuine—"the best"-for example, as a company name.
"Da kine" appears in the titles of books, sometimes calling Hawaiian Pidgin itself "Da Kine Talk".
- "Da Kine – Pidgin English Definition". e-Hawaii web site. November 27, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Allan A. Metcalf (2000). Pidgin How we talk: American regional English today. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-618-04362-0.
- Ken Sakata; Pat Sasaki (1981). Pidgin to Da Max. Illustrated by Douglas Simonson and Pat Sasaki. Bess Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-935848-41-0.
- Trever Cralle (2001). The Surfin'ary: A Dictionary of Surfing Terms and Surfspeak (2nd ed.). Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-58008-193-1.
- Lee A. Tonouchi (2005). Da Kine Dictionary: Da Hawai'i Community Pidgin Dictionary Projeck. Bess Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-57306-136-0.
- Jeff Siegel (2003). Pidgin Grammar: An Introduction to the Creole Language of Hawaii. Bess Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN 978-1-57306-136-0.
- Elizabeth Ball Carr (1972). Da kine talk. University Press of Hawaii. ISBN 978-0-8248-0209-7.
- "DaKine". Company web site. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- "'Dog' Chapman hit with $2M in tax liens". Pacific Business News. February 13, 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2010.