Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Hawaiian Pidgin and the Rouse of Academia. (or, "System beating, as I beat your system.")

Here is the gist of my final research paper (minus the filler, [school's a joke]) on Hawaiian Pidgin that some of you shareholders might be interested in. Enjoy:

 ...As power structures are carried out on a global scale, there is an imperialistic effect on the languages that are spoken in the marginalized parts of the world. As languages like English, French, Spanish, and Dutch have been spread globally on the coat tails of forceful conquest and occupation of indigenous peoples, Creoles have emerged as an adaptation to that takeover. The Creole that has developed among the Hawaiian people, called “Hawaiian Pidgin,” perfectly personifies this type of adaptation. ...Hawaiian Pidgin shows evidence of a resistance to imperialism that is admirable and commendable, while establishing an exclusivity that strengthens the community it serves to identify.

 II. Colonization and Linguistic Imperialism

 As history has unfolded, there has always been a push by the more powerful and better-equipped civilizations to take control over the weaker ones. ... (Hawaii) is an excellent example of this phenomena. The Hawaiian Islands were first visited by Captain James Cook, an English navigator that arrived in 1778. From the time of his arrival until the eventual annexation by the United States in 1898 and establishment as a US State in 1959, there was a constant cycle of “settlers” coming into the islands and taking control of the land, wealth, and economy (Musick, 1898.) The result of this economic and political takeover was an established group of white, English-speaking landowners that held the majority of political power over the islands. The cane sugar industry, controlled by these European and American businessmen, exploded in the early nineteenth century. This invited in multiple waves of immigrants from a plethora of Asian nations, including Japan, China, The Philippines, and Korea (Michener, 1959.) Many of these immigrants went right to work in the cane fields and came into direct contact with other immigrants with whom they shared no common language. Thus was Hawaiian Pidgin born; as a means of communication between immigrant workers and the English-speaking individuals in control. As it developed and spread, it has become the dominant language among local and native Hawaiians.

 III. Pidgin

 Hawaiian Pidgin is a language that borrows words and grammatical structures from several different languages. These include Tagalog, Japanese, Portuguese, Cantonese, and English (Marlow, 2008.) While it resembles English most directly, it utilizes vocabulary from these various origins extensively. A common phrase that is heard is, “You go stay go, I go stay come. M’bai you go be late.” This is a phrase, as native speaker Domingo Los Banos explained in a July 17, 2011 interview with NPR, that would be used to tell a friend to go on to an event without the speaker, and that the speaker would be coming later. “You go stay go,” means “You go ahead and go.” And, “I go stay come,” means, “I will come later,” as a shortened form, perhaps, of “I am still going to come,” with “later” implied by the use of the word “stay.” Also, the SAE phrase, “If you want this banana, eat it quickly, it will be okay” would be said, “You likee banana, you wikiwiki kau kau, mai tai.” Here, the word “wikiwiki” is a load word of the Hawaiian language meaning “quickly,” and “kau kau” is a phrase that was adapted by the Chinese after they heard it from American sailors using the word “chow” to refer to food or eating. So, in addition to specifically modified grammatical structures, there are many loan words used in Hawaiian Pidgin. For example:

Word           Origin                   Meaning in Pidgin
Giri-Giri      Japanese               “Cowlick”
Kau-Kau     Chinese Dialect    “Eat”
Wikiwiki     Hawaiian              “Quickly”
Ma’ke          Hawaiian               “Dead”

 IV. Cultural Implications

Now, with this development of Pidgin, there are many cultural implications that arise. Pidgin is used as a cultural identifier. For a speaker of Hawaiian Pidgin, it is a crucial connection that is made with fellow speakers. ...Lee Tanuchi, a native Hawaiian speaker of Hawaiian Pidgin, said in an interview with NPR, “It really makes us very unique because we have this thing that we can interject with each other… daily in our lives. As soon as we meet each other, you can tell the people that come from Hawaii, that know how to speak pidgin and then switch over to good English; then you know that person has really arrived." This is a crucial point. For speakers of Creoles and Pidgins, their cultural identity has often been taken away from them to some degree. ...As Hawaiian Pidgin developed, it was regarded as a lesser language. Kent Sakoda, a professor at the University of Hawaii says in the film, The Voice of Hawaii, "Pidgin was associated to the working class. It was the language that was enough to do medial labor on the plantation. But, in the urban environment, for the middle class, they thought it wasn't appropriate; that you had to learn Standard English to get ahead." Recently, however, this has begun to change. As linguists and local scholars have gotten their message across, their have been huge advancements in the legitmization of Hawaiian Pidgin in the common perception. There is also developing availability of distinguished literary works translated into Hawaiian Pidgin, including The New Testament (“Da Jesus Book) and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will ("Twelf' Night, or Whateva.") These and other advancements in the recognition of Hawaiian Pidgin are solidifying the local and native Hawaiians’ ability to indentify themselves as Hawaiian. The culture is effectively being preserved and regarded highly, in part because of the persistence and prevalence of Hawaiian Pidgin. The exclusivity that it fosters provides a solidarity that is essential for the individual’s cultural identity.

 V. Conclusion

 (Hawaiian pidgin is good.)

No comments: