U.S. Census Bureau recognizes Hawaiian Pidgin English as language
Many refer to Hawai'i as the melting pot of cultures, and along with that comes a wide range of languages. A recent U.S. census survey looked at languages spoken here in the islands and for the first time Hawaiian Pidgin English was included on that list.
The local dialect consists of phrases like 'Da Kine', 'Fo Real'. 'If No Can, No Can'. Its what some describe as the state's local language, believed to be a combination of many languages that came together during Hawaii's Plantation era.
Debra Auld of Kalihi says the Hawaiian Pidgin language designation is long overdue.
"Whether we were brought up Native Hawaiian or if you're coming in to the island of Hawaii it's...for open-minded people it's a way of talking, it's a comfortable language," Auld said.
The grandmother of nine says there is a time and place to turn Pidgin on and to turn it off, something she's trying to pass on to her family.
"There's barriers of when the proper English should come in and when we can be who we are, and I am proud of both," Auld said.
From 2009 to 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 326,893 Hawaii residents if any language other than English is spoken within the home. Survey data listed the top 21 languages, Korean, Spanish and Mandarin were all on that list. Hawaiian language was ranked at number five but the top two languages beat out most with a strong lead.
Tagalog and Ilocano topped the list. More than 50-thousand reported they speak Tagalog at home. Many of those numbers are believed to come from those that are native to the Philippines. But for UH Manoa Filipino language student Jason Dela Cruz, he's just beginning to learn his parent's native tongue.
"Tagalog is definitely spoken more in my own house and being able to talk to my grandma and my mom and my dad in the language that they grew up in is very important to me," Dela Cruz said.
For a list of other highlights in the language survey visit the As Seen on Section of KITV.COM.