Slang – Hawaii

“Ho, that’s choke!”

Woah, that’s a lot.

“Dere get choke kine cars dere.”

There are a lot of cars there.

“Ho you eat choke!”
Woah, you eat a lot!

“Auntie! No get nuts.”

Lady, don’t get crazy.

“You want some dirty lick’ns?”

You want to get your ass kicked?

These quotes are just a small fraction of a form of pidgin known as Hawaiian English. Pidgin is a second language created that is a simplified form of an original language. According to the informant, a Hawaiian resident of Chinese ethnicity, Hawaiian pidgin is widely used and does not discriminate among age, gender, class or location. Any resident of Hawaii would be fit to speak pidgin and there are no specific stereotypes or common traits associated with those who speak and understand it.

Like the examples provided, pidgin can range from full on hard to understand sentences like “Dere get choke kine cars dere,” or one could substitute a word or two with a popular saying like “You want some dirty lick’ns?” Choke means a lot, full of, while dirty lick’ns means a spanking, or butt-kicking. Auntie is used much like the word lady, usually directed to any mid-age female and does not denote any familial relationships like the way we use it here in the States.

Those who can speak pidgin ‘full-out’ and can do so naturally with ease tend to be Hawaiian natives, as explained by the informant, “if an outsider comes to the island trying to speak all out pidgin, it would be kind of funny, but we would know that he or she is trying to be Hawaiian.”

From this, I think it is safe to assume that Hawaiian pidgin is also a form of “rite of passage”. Just like any culture, if you want to be part of the locals and really demonstrate understanding of a language, you’ve got to know the slang. This reminds me of surfer talk, say, if a clean cut preppy boy with a checkered vest comes up to you and says “Duuudeee…. That was freakin AWESOME!”, you would probably laugh because of the displacement. Same with pidgin, if you look like you’re straight out of New York with your metro-style, you’d have a lot of trouble pulling off pidgin compared to some tanned Hawaiian native.