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Hawaiian Pidgin

In Hawaii, there are two official languages—English and Hawaiian—and one unofficial one. I am speaking about the Hawaiian version of Pidgin English. Although it is thought of as being lower in status than the two official languages, it is becoming ever more prevalent as a kind of native slang. It contains bits of English, Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, and Japanese. According to one website:

The local patois (Hawaiian slang) was originally developed by Chinese immigrants to make business transactions easier. They created an easy-to-understand lingo and named it “pidgin,” which literally translates to “business.” These days, natives on the islands have adopted this as a means of short-hand speak, as well as a way to mess with tourists.

I can vouch for Pidgin as a way of messing with tourists. Consider the following expressions:

  • Broke Da Mouth – What delicious food does
  • Your Kokua Is Appreciated – Your assistance, compliance, or contribution is appreciated
  • This Buggah is Pau – Your car is finito
  • Da Kine – Watchamacallit, Thingamajig
  • B-52 Bombah – Giant flying cockroach
  • Grinds or Grindz – Food
  • Hamajang – Something that is messed up, out of whack, disorderly, or needs tending
  • Kanak Attack – The feeling you’ve eaten way too much
  • ’Ono – Tasty, delicious
  • Slippas – Flip-fops or sandals

There is an amusing (and very detailed) YouTube video illustrating how Hawaiian Pidgin is pronounced:

Have fun! And don’t be lolo!