About Hawaiian Pidgen Language
Hawaii Pidgin English, Hawaii Creole English, HCE, or simply Pidgin, is a creole language based in part on English used by many, if not most, "local" residents of Hawaiʻi. Although English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the State of Hawaiʻi, Pidgin is used by many Hawaiʻi residents in everyday conversation and is often used in advertising toward Hawaiʻi residents. The new ISO 639-3 language code for Hawaiʻi Pidgin (Hawaiʻi Creole English) is hwc. In the Hawaiian language, "Hawaiian Creole English" is called "ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai," which literally means "hard-taro language."
Pidgin (or Hawaiʻi Creole) originated as a form of communication used between English speaking residents and non-English speaking immigrants in Hawaiʻi. It supplanted the pidgin Hawaiian used on the plantations and elsewhere in Hawaiʻi. 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, Pidgin acquired words from these languages. Japanese loanwords in Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi.Even today, Pidgin retains some influences from these languages. For example, the word "stay" in Pidgin has a form and use similar to the Portuguese verb "estar", which means "to be" but is used when referring to a temporary state or location. Sometimes the structure of the language is like that of Portuguese grammar. For instance, "You like one knife?" means "Would you like a knife?". The reason why the word "one" is used instead of "a" is because the word "um" in Portuguese has two meanings: "um" translates to "one" and "a" in English. The way people use the phrase "No can" ("não pode") is Portuguese grammar, as well. In Portuguese, the phrase "Você não pode fazer isso!" comes out in Pidgin as "You no can do dat!", and in English as "You cannot do that!"
Pidgin words derived from Cantonese are also seen in other parts of America. For example, the word "Haa?" is also used by Chinese Americans outside of Hawaiʻi. The meaning is "Excuse me?" or "What did you say?". Another word is "chop suey", a popular dish throughout America. In Hawaiʻi, it can also mean that someone is a variety of ethnicities. Another word in pidgin that was derived from the Chinese which is also seen in America is "lie dat", which means "like that" but in Hawaii it is pronounced "li'dat".
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Pidgin started to be used outside the plantation between ethnic groups. Public school children learned Pidgin from their classmates, and eventually it became the primary language of most people in Hawaiʻi, replacing the original languages. For this reason, linguists generally consider Hawaiian Pidgin to be a creole language.
Pidgin has distinct pronunciation differences from standard American English (SAE). Some key differences include the following:
Literature and performing arts
In recent years, writers from Hawaiʻi have written poems, short stories, and other works in Pidgin. This list included well-known Hawaiʻi authors such as Kent Bowman, James Grant Benton, Lois-Ann Yamanaka and Lee Tonouchi. A 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 Pidgin "Twelf' Night, or Whateva."
Several theater companies in Hawaiʻi produce plays written and performed in Pidgin. The most notable of these companies is Kumu Kahua Theater.
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":