My essay on Hawaiian Pidgin for week nine, Language and the Brain:
Hawaiian Pidgin, which is technically a creole, is spoken on the Hawaiian islands by much of the local populace. It was born of the necessity to communicate by the many peoples who came to the island in order to work the plantations. The languages from which it arose (aside from English) consist of Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and even some Spanish. Pidgin has a distinctive rhythm when you hear it spoken. This is apparently due to it being “syllable timed,” meaning each syllable takes up approximately the same amount of time. This is in opposition to Standard American English, which is “stress-timed.” Its grammar borrows a lot from Portuguese and Chinese, in the use of articles (“Would you like a knife?” becomes “You like one knife?”) and in negation (“You cannot do that!” becomes “You no can do that!”) Culturally, it has historically had a negative connotation, a sign that the speaker is uneducated. More recently, it is used as a sign of belonging by native speakers. As someone who looks local, I have been mistaken for one several times while visiting. However, this only lasts as long as I keep my mouth shut, because as soon as I say anything, they can immediately tell that I’m not. Thus, locals are able to distinguish between tourists and people who are from there - a valuable skill in a tourist locale.