Program Three - Segment Five: Pidgin English

Talk Story is a term used in Hawaii for people gathering together for conversation, to tell stories… on the plantations, people of different ethnicities had to find a way to communicate, so they created a common language to talk to each other.   On the Islands, you hear “brah” for “brother,” Stink Eye for “dirty look” and “dakine” for “whatchamacallit.”  Islanders call it Pidgin English but it’s a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese and Hawaiian.


Gaylord Kubota, Domingo Los Banos, Espy Garcia, Ah Quon McElrath, Barbara Kawakami, Alma Ogata, Fuzzy Alboro, George Fujiwara, May Fujiwara, Jon Arisumi. Moses Pataki, and Richard Nagame.  Scholars Ronald Takaki, Franklin Odo, Bill Puette, William Boylan, Lee Tonouchi, Kent Sakoda and Jeffrey Siegel. Actors Dann Seki, Chisao Hata, Denise Aoki Chinen, and Keith Kashiwada. Hole Hole Bushi songs were sung by Shigeko Miyashiro.

Produced by Robynn Takayama and Dmae Roberts


Pidgin English, as aired on 'Day to Day'


Listen to the piece, aired July 27th on NPR's "Day to Day."

Thank you to Kent Sakoda and Jeff Siegel, who added the scholarship to this piece.  For more information, click here to read "Pidgin Grammar" by Kent Sokoda and Jeff Siegel.

Or here to read "Living Pidgin" by Lee Tonouchi.

Visit the Hawaiian Plantation Village.


Ledward Kaapana, Master Slack Key Guitarist records on the "Rhythm & Roots" Record Label. To purchase his CDs email kahokuproductions@yahoo.com. For more information on the Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals (Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai), please visit hawaiianslackkeyguitarfestivals.com or email kahokuproductions@yahoo.com or phone (808) 226-2697. ledkaapana.com

Further Internet Resources:


Sakoda, Kent and Jeff Siegel. Pidgin Grammar: An Introduction to the Creole Language of Hawai’i. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bess Press, 2003.

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