Don' Let Da Pidgin Drive Da Bus

Aloha everyone!!
Today I thought I would give you another little lesson on the  language of Hawaii. Hawaii's population is made up of many different cultures from around the world. There is not a majority or minority of any one culture here.

 Basically if you live here you are either local or you came here from somewhere else. Most people who are considered local would fit into the Asian Pacific Islander category. Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Samoan, Hawaiian, etc... Usually dark skin and speaking with a more local dialect.

Then you have people that are caucasian who are called Haole (how-lee). You can be a haole who was born and raised here, but you wouldn't be referred to as local by the look of you.

People ask me all the time if I am from here. I have dark skin and a last name that has roots in the Phillipines. The hubs is a haole and my kids are hapa-haole (half-white).

Anyone who lives here in Hawaii is Kama'aina (from the island).

 So if you go to many places you get the Kama'aina discount. This saves us on paying full price for lots of different attractions around the island.

If you have ever visited here or watched Hawaii 5-0, you know that there is a distinct dialect to the local language called pidgin.

This is a combination of so many languages and cultures that it took on its own life here. I am not an expert at all on pidgin, so I have included a video at the end of my post.

Here are a few local words/sayings you may or may not know:
slippah, or slipper
Mom, I left my slippers at the beach.

choke-alot, a huge amount
I have choke avocadoes on my tree.

da kine-the kind-this can mean anything!!
You know, da kine!

cockaroach-to steal
Someone cockaroached my slippers!

grind- to eat
Time for grinds!

hana hou (ha-nah-ho)- again-encore

hapai (ha-pie) -pregnant
My auntie is hapai!

Howzit?-How are you?
Howzit brah?


lolo (low-low)-not smart

no can-I can't
I like go, but no can, I gotta work.

Those were some ono grinds brah!

pau (pow)-finished, done
Teacher I'm pau!

pau hana (pow-ha-nah)-after work drink (happy hour)
Meet me at Cholo's for pau hana!

auntie or uncle-Mr. or Ms.
Auntie do you know what time it is?

Often if you listen to people who are speaking pidgin you can figure out what they are saying, but  it sounds like bits and pieces of words are dropped off of what is being said.

 In the classroom this can be difficult to correct.  Kids will write- "I like go beach", or "I like see."  This is how they would say it at home, so why not in class.   Words like "the and that" are said "da and dat".
The district I first began teaching in offered a PD class to new teachers from the mainland.  It was basically Hawaiian Culture 101.  It taught you all about the language, food and customs.  Basically we sat around talking story (chatting) and eating ono local food! That was a great class:)

If you are interested in more about Hawaiian pidgin, I found a great video on You Tube below. 
I hope this was an informative post! Next time I will delve into more of the local food.



  1. Can't for get Pupus:) The first time I heard my husband say that I was like "what in the heck did you just say???" LOVE it! Keep the Hawaiian language info coming:)

    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

    1. Omg, that's so funny, I forgot that one!! Just like in "A Bug's Life" when he says "Okay, who ordered the pupu platter?" and all the flies are buzzing around it!

  2. Love it :)

    I'd love a Hawaiian 101 class like that, oh wait, I'm getting it from you! Hehehe :)

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher
    Endless Pinabilities!

  3. it's so funny, my family and I say some of used to call "slippers" japflaps...but we can't really do that anymore (we didn't mean for it to be derogatory, that's just what they were called...), but we call them slippers
    but that brings me to another thought - 4th grade writing tests....I mean, dialect is everywhere - the south, hawaii, northeast, etc...but yet they are all supposed to be writing in CORRECT grammar..but woudln't that stifle creativity if they are SO worried about saying the RIGHT thing???
    when I was in college, someone presented a math problem:
    there were 5 birds sitting on a fence...a farmer shot many were left?? most people would answer 4, but depending on your perspective, you might say none, because the other birds flew away bc of the gunshot sound...see?? same thing with
    ok, now that I've written a NOVEL of a comment :)

  4. What a great post! I LOVE the video! My friend is from Hawaii and now I understand where some of his dialect came from. I have a great interest in other languages and dialects, especially since I've have to learn the meaning of a lot of Scottish expressions after meeting my husband. Keep the info. coming!

    Heather at TeachItToday!

  5. Aloha From Auntie Lise!I am from Papaaloaha on the Big Island Hilo side but live in Thailand. You gave me a little smile remembering my home! Geez and now all I can think of is food!!!!


Mahalo Nui Loa For Commenting!!

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