Pidgin is a dialect of English spoken in the Hawaiian Islands. It consists of the shortening of many words commonly used in everyday English speech. Some examples include, da (the), odda (other), Tre (meaning tree and three), bra (anyone you know), da kine (anything you don’t know), cus (any friend), and many others. Pidgin has it’s social barriers as well. It is primarily spoken in the lower class neighborhoods consisting of the Hawaiians and the Filipinos. The dialect has been associated with the members of these neighborhoods and their problems, such as, alcoholism, illiteracy, and a poor standard of living.
I come from a diverse family background, my mother is Scottish, English, Italian, French, and much more. My father is part Hawaiian and part Scottish. Being such I have to choose which lifestyle is right for me. There is a tug-a-war between the Hawaiian part of me and the Haole part of me. The two cultures that I consider myself, Scottish and Hawaiian, are both proud, interesting, and contain their own prescriptions toward behavior. The pidgin dialect is a major part of life in the lower class Hawaiian neighborhoods. For most children in these neighborhoods it is the language spoken at home. The other people of the islands look at this dialect as a sign of a poor education and up-bringing. My mother did not want her son associated with such a group of individuals.
When I started school at Maunawili School and began to pick up Pidgin and start to speak it at home she took it upon herself to change me. At this time she was teaching sixth grade at Keolu Elementary. She saw how her kids could not speak proper English, only Pidgin. Many of them also wrote in Pidgin, something I had begun to do. My mother saw this behavior and forced me to change. My parents put me in Punahou School, one of the best private schools in the nation, to facilitate this change. It may seem that she did not want me to grow up proud of my Hawaiian heritage, but that is far from the truth. She taught me to respect the culture for its beautiful aspects, the hula, and the Hawaiian Language. My father taught me about the ain’a (land). He showed me how the Hawaiians of yesterdays believed the ain’a to be the physical representation of their beliefs in their gods. He showed me Pele’s (the fire goddess) home in Kilauea volcano, then her wrath when the lava from her vents destroyed many homes in Pu’u O’o and many other exciting aspects of the culture. I was told to keep with the traditions that make me unique, both Hawaiian and Haole.