Recently, I wrote an article for Matador Network where I shared examples on how to speak Hawaii Creole English, colloquially known as Pidgin, Da Kine or Local.
In order to put that post together, I asked all of my friends in Hawaii to throw together suggestions on great Pidgin phrases to share. I received so many responses that it was too much for me to use for my article.
But instead of letting all of those great suggestions go to waste, I've decided to start sharing them all here, a little at a time. Following is my first installment of a new series called How to Speak Hawaii Creole English (or Pidgin).
LESSON ONE: Past Tense Verbs
DID YOU KNOW: In the Hawaiian language, "Hawaii Creole English" is called "ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai", which literally means "pounding-taro language".
I will introduce this unique language to you here, one part at a time. This week, I start off with how to specify verb tense.
How to Use the Pidgin Verb "Wen"
Pidgin verbs stay the same, they do not change. Instead, we attach words to the verbs to tell what tense they are in.
Today, I'll give you examples of how we turn a verb into past tense. The word “wen” is used to make the verb past tense.
Eh wat Kainoa guys wen go do yestahday?
What did Kainoa (and his friends) do yesterday?
Dey wen go beach.
They went to the beach.
Eh wea Tita dem wen go?
Where did Tita (and her friends) go?
Dey wen go to da poke shop buy pupus.
They went to the poke (raw fish) store to buy a little something to eat.
Eh wen da dog wen die?
When did the dog die?
Ting wen mahke last night.
It died last night.
More Examples on How to Use "Wen"
Pay attention. Listen closely. Read quickly. I'm going to say it fast this time!
Eh wat you guys wen go do da addah day?
What did you guys do the other day.
We wen go holoholo Waikiki.
We drove around Waikiki.
Who Aunty guys wen go wit dis aftahnoon?
Who did Aunty (and some others) go with this afternoon?
Dey wen go wit Unce Kalani dem.
They went with Uncle Kalani (and everyone else.)
Eh who Braddah Boy wen give da kine to?
Who did Braddah Boy give that thing to?
He wen give um to da kine.
He gave it to them.
Eh wea yo maddah wen pahk da truck?
Where did your mom park the truck?
She wen pahk em undah da mango tree.
She parked it under the mango tree.
Eh when Tutu guys wen go move Molokai?
When did Grandma and Grandpa move to Molokai.
Was last yee-ah dey wen move ova dea.
They moved there last year.
As was mentioned in my article for Matador Network:
Hawaii Creole English is a language that truly belongs to the Hawaiian Islands, with specific tones and a hard-to-grasp lilt to it. There’s definitely a sense of community and belonging amongst those who are born and raised speaking Pidgin, so much so that they’ll hardly ever use it around those who aren’t native speakers. As such, only those with years of knowledge and a deep familiarity of the language should attempt to speak it at all. Otherwise, you are sure to be met with some very awkward, face-palm, cringe-worthy moments.
Always keep this in mind.
That's it for this lesson! Be sure to check back next time for the second part on "How to Speak Hawaii Creole English (or Pidgin!)"
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...