|Hawaiian Creole English|
|unknown (700,000 cited 1986)|
Hawaiian Pidgin English, Hawaian Creole English, HCE, or locally simply Pidgin, is a creole language based in part on English used by many residents of Hawaii. Although English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the state of Hawaii, Hawaiian Pidgin is used by many Hawaiian residents in everyday conversation and is often used in advertising targeted at Hawaiians. In the Hawaiian language, "Hawaii Creole English" is called "ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai", which literally means "pounding-taro language".
Hawaiian Pidgin originated as a form of communication used between English speaking residents and non-English speaking immigrants in Hawaii. It supplanted the pidgin Hawaiians used on the plantations and elsewhere in Hawaii. It has been influenced by many languages, including Portuguese, Hawaiian, and Cantonese. As people of other language backgrounds were brought in to work on the plantations, such as Japanese, Filipinos, and Koreans, Hawaiian Pidgin acquired words from these languages. Japanese loanwords in Hawaii lists some of those words originally from Japanese. It has also been influenced to a lesser degree by Spanish spoken by Mexican and Puerto Rican settlers in Hawaii. Even today, Hawaiian Pidgin retains some influences from these languages. For example, the word "stay" in Hawaiian Pidgin has a form and use similar to the Portuguese verb "ficar" or Spanish "estar", which mean "to be" but are used only when referring to a temporary state or location.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Hawaiian Pidgin started to be used outside the plantation between ethnic groups. Public school children learned Hawaiian Pidgin from their classmates, and it eventually became the primary language of most people in Hawaii, replacing the original languages. For this reason, linguists generally consider Hawaiian Pidgin to be a creole language.
Some of the common greeting and goodbyes in Pidgin include:
Aloha = Hello, Goodbye, Love
A Hui Hou = Until we meet again
Malama Pono = Take Care
Make (Hawaiian pronunciation: [mɐke]) = Dead
Hawaiian Pidgin has distinct pronunciation differences from standard American English (SAE). Some key differences include the following:
- Th-stopping: [θ] and [ð] are pronounced as [t] or [d] respectively—that is, changed from a fricative to a plosive (stop). For instance, think [θiŋk] becomes [tiŋk], and that [ðæt] becomes [dæt].
- L-vocalization: Word-final l [l~ɫ] is often pronounced [o] or [ol]. For instance, mental [mɛntəl] is often pronounced [mɛntoː]; people is pronounced peepo.
- Hawaiian Pidgin is non-rhotic. That is, r after a vowel is often omitted, similar to many dialects, such as Eastern New England, Australian English, and English English variants. For instance, car is often pronounced cah, and letter is pronounced letta. Intrusive r is also used. The number of Hawaiian Pidgin speakers with rhotic English has also been increasing.
- Falling intonation is used at the end of questions. This feature appears to be from Hawaiian, and is shared with some other Oceanic languages, including Fijian and Samoan.
Hawaiian Pidgin also has distinct grammatical forms not found in SAE, but some of which are shared with other dialectal forms of English or may derive from other linguistic influences.
Forms used for SAE "to be":
- Generally, forms of English "to be" (i.e. the copula) are omitted when referring to inherent qualities of an object or person, forming in essence a stative verb form. Additionally, inverted sentence order may be used for emphasis. (Many East Asian languages use stative verbs instead of the copula-adjective construction of English and other Western languages.)
- Da behbeh cute. (or) Cute, da behbeh.
- The baby is cute.
Note that these constructions also mimic the grammar of the Hawaiian language. In Hawaiian, "nani ka pēpē" or "kiuke ka pēpē" is literally "cute, the baby" and is perfectly correct Hawaiian grammar meaning in English, "The baby is cute."
- When the verb "to be" refers to a temporary state or location, the word stay is used (see above). This may be influenced by other Pacific creoles, which use the word stap, from stop, to denote a temporary state or location. In fact, stop was used in Hawaiian Pidgin earlier in its history, and may have been dropped in favor of stay due to influence from Portuguese estar or ficar (literally 'to stay').
- Da book stay on top da table.
- The book is on the table.
- Da water stay cold.
- The water is cold.
- To express past tense, Hawaiian Pidgin uses wen (went) in front of the verb.
- Joey wen cry.
- Joey cried.
- To express future tense, Hawaiian Pidgin uses goin (going), derived from the going-to future common in informal varieties of American English.
- Shaun goin stay here.
- Shaun is going to stay here.
- To express past tense negative, Hawaiian Pidgin uses neva (never). Neva can also mean "never" as in normal English usage; context sometimes, but not always, makes the meaning clear.
- He neva like dat.
- He didn't want that. (or) He never wanted that. (or) He didn't like that.
- Use of fo (for) in place of the infinitive particle "to". Cf. dialectal form "Going for to carry me home."
- I tryin fo tink. (or) I try fo tink.
- I'm trying to think.
For more information on grammar, also see Sakoda & Siegel (References, below) and the Pidgin Coup paper (External links, below).
Literature and performing arts
In recent years, writers from Hawaii such as Lois-Ann Yamanaka and Lee Tonouchi have written poems, short stories, and other works in Hawaiian Pidgin. A Hawaiian Pidgin translation of the New Testament (called Da Jesus Book) has also been created, as has an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, or What You Will, titled in Hawaiian Pidgin "twelf nite o' WATEVA!"
- Hawaiian Creole English reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Hawaii State Constitution
- "paʻi ʻai". Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi [Hawaiian Dictionaries]. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- Collins, Kathy (January–February 2008). "Da Muddah Tongue". Maui nō ka ʻoi Magazine. Wailuku, HI, USA. OCLC 226379163. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- Da Jesus Book (2000). Orlando: Wycliffe Bible Translators. ISBN 0-938978-21-7.
- Sakoda, Kent & Jeff Siegel (2003). Pidgin Grammar: An Introduction to the Creole Language of Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: Bess Press. ISBN 1-57306-169-7.
- Simonson, Douglas et al. (1981). Pidgin to da Max. Honolulu: Bess Press. ISBN 0-935848-41-X.
- Tonouchi, Lee (2001). Da Word. Honolulu: Bamboo Ridge Press. ISBN 0-910043-61-2.
- Sally Stewart (2001-09-31). "Hawaiian English". Lonely Planet USA Phrasebook. Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 262–266. ISBN 1-86450-182-0.
- Speidel, Gisela E. (1981). "Language and reading: bridging the language difference for children who speak Hawaiian English". Educational Perspectives 20: 23–30.
- Speidel, G. E., Tharp, R. G., and Kobayashi, L. (1985). "Is there a comprehension problem for children who speak nonstandard English? A study of children with Hawaiian English backgrounds". Applied Psycholinguistics 6 (01): 83–96. doi:10.1017/S0142716400006020.
- e-Hawaii.com Searchable Pidgin English Dictionary
- The Charlene Sato Center for Pidgin, Creole and Dialect Studies, a center devoted to pidgin, creole, and dialect studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi. Also home of the Pidgin Coup, a group of academics and community members interested in Hawaiʻi Pidgin related research and education
- Position Paper on Pidgin by the "Pidgin Coup"
- Da Hawaiʻi Pidgin Bible (see Da Jesus Book below)
- "Liddo Bitta Tita" Hawaiian Pidgin column written by Tita, alter-ego of Kathy Collins. Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine Vol.12 No.1 (Jan. 2008).
- "Liddo Bitta Tita" audio file