Hawaiian Pidgin

Pidgin – Hawaii’s Third Language

Pidgin is the Hawaiian English and it sounds like that - Eh, howzit? Wassamattah you? Cannah talk da kine? (Hey, how’s it going? What’s the matter? Can’t you speak Pidgin?). You won’t hear this type of talk anywhere else in the world but in Hawaii. That's why Pidgin is also considered a local attraction, so to say. If you are native English speaker you will still get the meaning, but if you’re not it may be difficult to understand.

Since many tourists find Pidgin attractive, local travel companies like to hire Pidgin speakers as customer service agents because they talk with this accent on the phone and tourists like that, thus they are more likely to buy.

In fact, Pidgin has its own vocabulary and grammar. In the bookstores you can even find and buy a Pidgin dictionary and a Bible called “Da Jesus Book,” which is fully written in Pidgin.

Pidgin originates from the plantation workers, who came to Hawaii in the 19th century. Pidgin has some Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and even other influences.

Some Common Pidgin Words and Phrases

Brah / bruddah: brother or pal. Most men refer to each other this way.

Broke da mout: delicious

Bumbucha: very big

Chicken skin: goose bumps

Fo’ what: why

Fo’ real: really

Garans: guaranteed

Grind: to eat

Hana hou: one more time

Hele on: let's go, get moving

Howzit: How are you?

Huhu: mad, angry

Keiki: child

Kokua: care, help

Like beef?: want to fight?

Lolo: dumb, crazy

Lua: bathroom

Moke: big, tough local

Nevah: never

Opake: ghost

Opu: belly

Okole: buttocks

Ono: delicious

Pau: finished, done

Pupus: appetizers

Spahk: check it out

Stink Eye: a very dirty look

Talk stink: badmouth someone

Tita: a very tough girl

Tutu: grandmother

Tutu kane: grandfather

Whaddsdascoops: What's going on?