Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah Producer Dmae Roberts shares an audio postcard of some Hawaiians who are proud to speak pidgin — a home-grown version of English with words and phrases borrowed from other languages brought to the islands over the centuries.
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Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah

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Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah

Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah

Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4773414/4773415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Pidgin scholar Lee Tonouchi reads from one of his books on the subject, Living Pidgin: Contemplations on Pidgin Culture CrossingEast.org hide caption

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CrossingEast.org

Producer Dmae Roberts shares an audio postcard of some Hawaiians who are proud to speak pidgin — a home-grown version of English with words and phrases borrowed from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese, Hawaiian and other languages brought to the islands over the centuries.

Lee Tonouchi, a pidgin scholar and author of books on the island chain's unique language, believes pidgin has its own intellectual foundation:

"The perception is the pidgin talker is going to be perceived as less intelligent than the standard English talker," he says. "When I was in college, after I discovered guys writing in pidgin, I said 'Heck yeah, I can do this pidgin creative writing.' Eventually I did my 30-page research papers in pidgin. I did my master's thesis in pidgin."

Voices in the broadcast piece include Domingo Los Banos, Espy Garcia, Lee Tonouchi, Kent Sakoda and Jeffrey Siegel.

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