What is Hawaiian Pidgin? Is it “broken English” or something else? For many people visiting Hawaii, they might think that the local language is not proper. In this video, Avi Penhollow explains what Pidgin is and how our views about language are shaped – many times in ways that are harmful.
Avi is a researcher in language and literacy, and for several years he worked in Wai’anae on the west coast of O’ahu. His first full encounter with Hawaiian pidgin was on his first day doing his laundry at “Da Wash Spot” in Makaha. There he met an auntie who showed him much aloha and talked for about an hour. Avi left realizing he only understood about half of the conversation. But over time, as he worked with his students and lived in the Wai’anae community – he began to learn much more about not just Pidgin, but the history and culture of Hawai’i. This video could not have been made without the love and support of the Kamaile ohana and kumus who supported the work.
This video was created for a class Avi was taking during his masters program. It was never meant to be public. His plan was to remake it into a short documentary film, but until then – this is what we have. If you are da kine, please know that the haole that produced this video respects your language and life. His goal is to spread the word to all those who do not know about the history and culture. There are mistakes in here for sure. Avi knows that he doesn’t get everything right – because that would take a lifetime. Mahalo nui loa for all those visiting and sharing your aloha in the comments.
Mahalo to Andy Bumatai for his mana’o from “The Daily Pidgin Show.” Please visit his channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
The beautiful song “Hawai’i Aloha” you hear in this video comes from the Mana Maoli and can be found on the “Playing for Change” channel: https://youtu.be/uDa0YmZD0Jk