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Crossing East: Proud to Speak Pidgin, Brah

Jul 27, 2005 (Day to Day)

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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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