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NativeHave you ever heard of Pidgin? Not pigeon, as in the birds that swarm about city parks, but the unique language that is used by local Hawaiian residents. If you’ve ever been to Hawaii and heard a local speak Pidgin, you may have understood words here and there but most of it probably sounded like a type of slang.

To brush up on some language history, Hawaiian Pidgin is actually what’s known as a creole language. Pidgin isn’t exclusive to Hawaii but is actually the term used to describe a language that was created secondary to a native language. It is used out of necessity as a means of communication by two groups of people who don’t share a common language. Creole is the term used to describe a language derived from pidgin that becomes nativized by children as their primary language.

Hawaiian Pidgin began on plantations as a way for English and non-English speakers to communicate with one another. While English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the state of Hawaii, Pidgin is heavily used by the local residents to this day. It is a language that has influences of Portuguese, Hawaiian, Cantonese, English, Japanese, and numerous others.   It is a simpler, more informal and impromptu way of combining many different languages into one that brings people together. Although there are many variations of Hawaiian Pidgin, here are some fun ways to try it out for yourself. Just remember, the language is a true part of the Hawaiian culture and should be respected by both speakers and non-speakers.

“Th” often becomes “D” or “T”

Example: “That” becomes “Dat” and “Think” becomes “Tink”

An “L” at the end of a word is replaced by “O” or “OL”

Example: “Mental” becomes “Mento” and “People” becomes “Peepo”

An “R” at the end of a word is often omitted.

Example: “Car” becomes “Cah” and “Letter” becomes “Lettah”


To express past tense, use “wen” (went) in front of the verb.

Example: The baby wen cry. = The baby cried.

Use “fo” (for)  in place of “to”

Example: I tryin fo tink. = I’m trying to think.

The word “Stay” is used as a replacement to the verb “to be.”

Example: Da book stay on top da table. = The book is on the table.

*All examples were found on Wikipedia.

Here’s another link to learn more: http://auwe-dk.tumblr.com/pidgin 

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