Hawaiian Pidgin: Hawaii’s Creole Language

Nicholas C. Rossis

Kamehameha | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Photo via Atlas Obscure

What language do modern Hawaiians speak? The answer, as Dan Nosowitz of Atlas Obscura points out, is not nearly as simple as you might think. There are several languages co-existing on the Hawaiian islands: Hawaiian, the Polynesian language of the original Hawaiians that’s experienced a renaissance of late; English, brought to the archipelago by Americans; the various languages brought by immigrant workers, including Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, and Spanish; and something which is now called Hawaiian Pidgin.

A pidgin, which is not capitalized, is a form of communication that arises when multiple groups of people need to talk with each other but do not have a language in common, and for whatever reason choose not to, or are not able to, teach each other their native languages. They are not considered full languages, in that they generally have limited and simplified grammar…

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