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Thread: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

  1. #1
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    Default What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Aloha,
    hope there are still guys out there who want to share their views on Pidgin... going through some threads, I have noticed most of you speak Pidgin (of course) and sometimes write in Pidgin.
    Were you allowed to speak Pidgin at school, were you refused a job because you speak pidgin? I am from Germany and I am totally interested in that stuff ( i am working on my masters thesis in English linguistics about Hawaiian Pidgin, or Hawaii Creole English) -- I would love to know more about your experiences, good and bad ones . Anybody who wants to share their views is invited. Mahalo and Aloha

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    Default Re: what is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Anybody can share their views?

    Well, ok. My experience is with a classmate at college here on the mainland. He moved here from Hawa'ii and spoke Pidgin. A lot. Right or wrong, instructors and classmates alike tried to explain to him that it seemed to cripple him in many ways. But the habit was too entrenched and he just couldn't, or wouldn't, speak Standard English.

    After graduation a couple of years ago, he couldn't keep a good job because of this language barrier, and I have since lost track of him.

  3. #3

    Default Re: what is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    On another board where I am a regular, there is a huge thread about this very subject (the longest ever on that board) - and it has both generated a tremendous amount of heat, and some wonderful writing in Pidgin.

    Some people "get" it - others don't.

  4. #4

    Default Re: what is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Suddenly, this lovely gem of a thread comes to mind.

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    Exclamation Re: what is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Pidgin is frequently discussed here on HawaiiThreads.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: what is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    On another board where I am a regular, there is a huge thread about this very subject (the longest ever on that board) - and it has both generated a tremendous amount of heat, and some wonderful writing in Pidgin.

    Some people "get" it - others don't.
    oooh, sounds interesting.. would you let me know which board? I honestly appreciate your help

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Dave Chappelle said it best on Inside The Actor's Studio:

    Every Black American is bilingual. We speak street vernacular and we speak interview.
    "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
    "You gotta get me to the tall corn." --David Mamet, Spartan
    "
    Amateurs talk technology, professionals talk conditions." --(unknown)

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Certain regional accents are equated with people who are unsophisticated and ignorant. Unfortunately our pidgin is one of them. Take a look at how local Hawaiians are portrayed on TV, and the "big, dumb kanaka" is talking pidgin. Unnatural and forced pidgin (don't you hate it when they do that!?).

    I grew up speaking proper English, even though I grew up here. I picked up pidgin hanging out with some fishermen in Nanakuli. When I visited a friend in the mainland, his kotonk buddies were wondering what language I was speaking -- apparently pidgin became a habit when talking to certain friends.

    Among family and friends there's nothing wrong with pidgin. But if you find yourself in a professional environment and want to get somewhere in your career, learn to turn it off. Sadly, unlike certain regional accents, pidgin isn't very endearing to many.

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    Lightbulb Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Composite 2992 View Post
    Among family and friends there's nothing wrong with pidgin. But if you find yourself in a professional environment and want to get somewhere in your career, learn to turn it off. Sadly, unlike certain regional accents, pidgin isn't very endearing to many.
    Generally, I would agree with this attitude. However, it also depends on where you work. There are many employers in the workforce where pidgin is spoken almost exclusively. But I would agree with Lalalinder that there are some individuals who never learn standard English at all. And that is a serious mistake.

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  10. #10

    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    I was taught that it was important to learn to read and speak "standard English" but clearly not speaking standard English is not a sign of lack of intelligence. (Historical note: There was a time that one had to pass a speech test in order to graduate from the University of Hawaii.) I have found that speaking and understanding pidgin can be tremendously useful here in Hawaii (a sincere effort, not a condescending or "I'm a tourist who thinks it's funny" kind of thing). The ability to put others at ease, to fit, and be able to communicate effectively cannot be underestimated. I know some highly educated people with good jobs who routinely speak in pidgin. Some of those people only speaks pidgin to people they regard well and would like to be friends with or whom they consider a friend.

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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
    Were you allowed to speak Pidgin at school, were you refused a job because you speak pidgin?
    Whoa! A two-part question, but I can handle.

    Were I allowed to speak Pidgin at school? Sometimes. Usually during English class, I minimize if not avoid Pidgin-speech. But if a (local) teacher talk to me in Pidgin, I going respond likewise.

    Were I refused a job because I speak Pidgin? I try not to show my true self when trying to land a job. You know what they say, "Alway make a good first impression." So I hide my Pidgin. Fool my (caucasian/mainlander) employer that I'm an <air quote> "educated A-me-ri-can."

    After I got the job, then I show what a true snake I am. Kidding.
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Main thing you need to know is when and where to use pidgin. I get plenty transplants who live here 20-30 years, and pidgin is what they understand.
    My Boss is formally form So. Cal., lives here now and after 8 years, finally understands how local`s talk.

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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    I've always been able to turn on/off speaking pidgin. Going to college and now living in the mainland, clearly one learns to drop the use of pidgin English. But whenever I come back home, I can turn it back on <snap> li'dat when I'm around friends and family.

    Funny story... after graduating college I got stationed back here on Oahu for a few years. My Maxima fog light got cracked and they wouldn't pass my safety inspection until I got a new one. So I went to the Nissan Dealership and walked back to the parts & service counter and asked in perfect English about getting a replacement light for my car. The service guy tapped into computer for a minute and then told me, sorry looks like they didn't have any, but they could order one and they would have it in a few weeks. So I shifted gears into pidgin and said something to the effect of, "fo' real! ass full long time...u sure u no mo' one extra one in da back?" His whole demeanor changed and he said "try wait let me go check." He came back 5 minutes later with a new fog light.

    Now I'm Potagee, so I can easily pass for white, but I just found it so interesting on how much of an impact the use of pidgin has in Hawaii.

    I've found that growing up in Hawaii, knowing pidgin English which incorporates aspects of so many different languages and dialects helps when talking to non-native English speaking people. I find in so many situations in the mainland when I run into someone who speaks very broken or heavily accented English (like a strong Spanish, Japanese, Chinese accent), I'm usually the one in the group that can understand what they are saying and usually have to "translate" for the others in the group. I think its mainly because I grew up in Hawaii with the Filipino neighbor, Japanese friend's parents, etc. and you learn what different languages sound like and the pronunciation differences from English. It funny ( or I guess you could sad) how many mainland folks lump all Asian languages into a single pot. I mean I can't speak Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean or Filipino fluently but I can pretty much at least tell from listening which language it is.

  14. #14

    Talking Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Me too, I can turn it off and on but, it was hard for me at first. When I left Hawaii for good back in 97. I promised myself that I'll never speak pidgin english again but, I go home to visit. The standard english is still there, 'UNTIL' when my friends and family come over and when they are talking, "SNAP" the pidgin comes back.

    I get very upset with myself on doing that but, later on when I'm heading back to the mainland. The standard english is still there.

    Hana Hou!

  15. #15

    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Opihimonster View Post
    But whenever I come back home, I can turn it back on <snap> li'dat when I'm around friends and family.
    Quote Originally Posted by Likeke View Post
    The standard english is still there, 'UNTIL' when my friends and family come over and when they are talking, "SNAP" the pidgin comes back.
    You two have nailed a key part of using pidgin; it's highly transactional.

    I'm not from the Islands, but the Alpha Female is. She only shifts into pidgin when in conversation with another person from Hawai`i (and there are many in the Seattle area). I can speak a small amount that I have picked up from being tied into the Hawaiian music scene here - but generally, I do not call myself a pidgin speaker, and for the most part, it would be too embarrassingly uncomfortable if I tried (for those listening, as well as myself).

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    I actually picked it up from my son - who picked it up in school Horrors! And yes, he can still speak standard English. Although I don't speak it, I understand it well. I think there is a time and a place for it. It tends to join people together - to have something that sets you apart from all the tourists. On the island I grew up on we also had our own language, though we didn't call it anything in particular. But there were definitely words and phrases used only by the locals. I've seen it used as a test of sorts. Some locals I know will speak Pidgin on purpose to see what kind of reaction they get.

    Disturbing story........ this past summer we were really busy working on this project and could only get to Kihei for a week this year. Since our apartment was rented out we decided to stay in this condo complex across the street from our place. I ended up talking to the woman next door who was on vacation. I had mentioned I was working on this project with the education department. Her response was........ and I kid you not........."oh, why bother. I hear all those kids speak nothing but gibberish and that most of them are just slightly above special needs." I don't know what bothers me more - the fact that she heard that or the fact that she believed it!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    we weren't allowed to speak pidgin at all while at home it's only reserved for conversations amongst friends. well, that's what we were told by my mother who double majored in english and early education.
    "chaos reigns within.
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Been here 16 years now. Still speaking pidgin with malahine "training wheels". I seldom use it.

    Daughter unit is not allowed to bring it home.
    My retort is "I don't see feathers, so stop speaking pidgeon."

    I cringe when I hear it spoken at her school by the teachers.
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  19. #19
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    Cool Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    I am proud to say dat Pidgin is my first language. I've learned that I speak old style plantation pidgin. Who knew? When I moved to da mainland I could not speak straight English fo'save my life. But now because of TOTAL IMMERSION, I can. Can turn'um on off, weave'um in and out any kind no sked, no shame. Lee Tonouchi is my hero!

    I was FORCED to talk straight English cause everyone else around me did. They were not going to adjust to pidgin so I adjusted to talking like one Okie. I use to think I was da ONLY LOCAL in Oklahoma. I juss kinda immitated dem at first and learned that if I talk like dem den dey undastand. Den I came home and talked pidgin wit one Okie accent and my friends were all like, EH you NO stay Oklahoma. So I shift gears la dat.

    My kids are all raised mainland and I raised dem talking Pidgin, so dey undastand basic Pidgin. Dey use to tell me I needed fo'increase my vocabulary to moe den "da kine." I was like why! you know exactly what I talking about so no ack.

    The statement "talking Pidgin is low class" pisses me off because I am proud of my Pidgin English. If you tink I'm low class so be it; but to me its a beautiful thing. Pidgin English was created by our kupunas of all different backgrounds and they came together and learned to communicate with one another hence da pidgin. Ai. So to me fo'somebody to say Pidgin is low class as like disrespecting all the tutus. They taught themselves and one another to communicate. Isn't that what life is about, communication? To me communication among different ethnic peoples is a good thing. Even betta wen you undastand one another. You know we all learn da pilau words first andend da food; regardless of wot languages. Right?

    Pidgin has its place, its purpose and its audience. Yes you have to learn standard English to get a job blah blah blah, BUT you don't have to be embarrassed and shamed out by dominate society for who you are and how you tawk. So wot if I know sound like you. Adjust. Our ancestors did.

    Hooootah don't get me stahted.....
    Come to da ohanalanai.com and us go type pidgin sommoe.
    You can come go stay.... E kala mai fo'my portagee typing.
    ~Lika

    \\000// Malama Pono \\000//

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Aloha, Lika - nice to see you here again, and adding your valuable thoughts to this thread...



    ...li'dat.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by acousticlady View Post
    I

    I had mentioned I was working on this project with the education department. Her response was........ and I kid you not........."oh, why bother. I hear all those kids speak nothing but gibberish and that most of them are just slightly above special needs." I don't know what bothers me more - the fact that she heard that or the fact that she believed it!
    What kind of project? Something like the KEEP or AKAMAI projects?

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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by GypsyLika View Post
    I
    The statement "talking Pidgin is low class" pisses me off because I am proud of my Pidgin English. If you tink I'm low class so be it; but to me its a beautiful thing. Pidgin English was created by our kupunas of all different backgrounds and they came together and learned to communicate with one another hence da pidgin. Ai. So to me fo'somebody to say Pidgin is low class as like disrespecting all the tutus. They taught themselves and one another to communicate. Isn't that what life is about, communication? To me communication among different ethnic peoples is a good thing. Even betta wen you undastand one another. You know we all learn da pilau words first andend da food; regardless of wot languages. Right?

    Pidgin has its place, its purpose and its audience. Yes you have to learn standard English to get a job blah blah blah, BUT you don't have to be embarrassed and shamed out by dominate society for who you are and how you tawk. So wot if I know sound like you. Adjust. Our ancestors did.

    Hooootah don't get me stahted.....
    Come to da ohanalanai.com and us go type pidgin sommoe.
    You can come go stay.... E kala mai fo'my portagee typing.
    hey, i got something for you! The linguistic credo of linguist Jack Chambers:
    "No language or dialect is inherently better than any other as a medium for explanation, exposition, narration, phatic communion, or any other kind of communication. One of the tacit strategies of the elite is to install their own dialect as the "correct" one."
    And the research I have been doing clearly shows a positive change-- more and more linguists argue in favor of pidgin. In Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin (the local pidgin there) has even become a standard language and is taught in school. So no stop talking li'dat!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by timkona View Post
    Daughter unit is not allowed to bring it home.
    My retort is "I don't see feathers, so stop speaking pidgeon."

    I cringe when I hear it spoken at her school by the teachers.
    Why? Are you worried it/they will have a bad influence on her? Or just because you don't like the way it sounds? I cringed when I first got to the US and heard people speak American English (cause what I learned in school was British), but then I got used to it and speak it myself.

  24. #24
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    Cool Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
    hey, i got something for you! The linguistic credo of linguist Jack Chambers:
    "No language or dialect is inherently better than any other as a medium for explanation, exposition, narration, phatic communion, or any other kind of communication. One of the tacit strategies of the elite is to install their own dialect as the "correct" one."
    And the research I have been doing clearly shows a positive change-- more and more linguists argue in favor of pidgin. In Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin (the local pidgin there) has even become a standard language and is taught in school. So no stop talking li'dat!

    Azwot I said, no shame us out us neva bodda you why you gotta humbug us.

    Pidgin is cutshort. I said wot you said but moe fast less words hah? I can hear my kids now: MOM its short cut!
    Yeah yeah yeah, wea my slippa..... \\000//

    People from Oklahoma think I sound like I'm from NAWLINS. Funny cause me & my creole friend from NAWLINS undastand each ada moe den most around us.
    ~Lika

    \\000// Malama Pono \\000//

  25. #25
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    Cool Re: What is your attitude towards Pidgin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
    Why? Are you worried it/they will have a bad influence on her? Or just because you don't like the way it sounds? I cringed when I first got to the US and heard people speak American English (cause what I learned in school was British), but then I got used to it and speak it myself.
    "American English" depends on wot part of America you stay yeah. I don't care where in United States you are; each area has its own distinct dialect and/or verbage stuff la dat. In some places you can tell what county people are from just by the way they speak.

    I've lived among alot of people whose first language isn't English. What one Native Professor told me was dat she found that if a Native speaker was proficient in their own language like grammar wise then they would speak/learn English proficiently also. O'somting la dat.

    So my tawt was: OH so as why I had hud time learning straight English cause my grammah (Grammer not Grandma ) was all hammajang in da first place.

    From my experience around people whose 1st language isn't English, I think language is about listening. Except in my case THEY always think I'm one of THEM and I get scolding for not being able to speak to them. LOL
    ~Lika

    \\000// Malama Pono \\000//

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