Pidgin English could be used someday in the classroom
Farrington High School is one of a number of schools considering incorporating pidgin English into classroom curriculum.
Da kine, li' dat, bum bye you learn. Those are just some of the common Pidgin English phrases you hear in Hawai'i. On Wednesday, dozens of educators discussed the possibility of incorporating the local language into school curriculum.
The language sometimes referred to as Hawaii Creole has been around for decades. It's origin traces back to the sugar plantations where it was used by the melting pot of cultures as a way to communicate.
In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed it an official language.
The University of Hawaii's Pidgin Coup sponsored a one day summit at Farrington High School to start a conversation about the language's role in enhancing learning. Comedian Augie Tulba was one of the featured speakers. The father of five supports the idea.
"Anyway we can get our kids to learn. Anyway we can get our kids to be engaged in their bookwork, I think is awesome and if Pidgin is the way we can do that then right on," Tulba explained.
Farrington is considering offering Pidgin as an elective course.
"Using it in schools, I know some people frown upon it. But I think it's very very valuable. So we teach our kids to use it when you can but more importantly there's a time and place for it. So embrace it. Don't lose it because it is part of Hawaii," said School Principal Al Carganilla.
Many of Award wining author Lois Ann Yamanaka's books are written in Pidgin. During her teaching days, she said the language helped her simplify concepts for students, everything from speech to Shakespeare.
"They would get into little groups and translate it and talk about it in Pidgin which would help them understand what Romeo was trying to say. Because you've got to build that bridge," said Yamanaka.
That style of teaching is widely used in Hawaiian language courses at UH Manoa.
"Pidgin is the gap that bridges English and Hawaiian. So whether or not you're familiar with the Hawaiian language or English, you can still learn Hawaiian in this kind of easier way," said Hawaiian Language Kumu Ali Rozet.
No official decision has been made by the Department of Education. But dialogue is in action.