I found this book at a Borders store. Has anyone else seen it? Delightfully colloquial phrasing; uses Hawaiian words like “wen” and “makane” that most English speakers wouldn’t know…according to the Foreword it’s taken at least 13 years to prepare!
It sounds divine.
I haven’t read that particular work, but I do have a copy of Jamie Stuart’s A Glasgow Bible, this being the only book in the Religion Section of my library.
When I am feeling particularly devout, I read aloud from the Auld Testament in what I consider to be a broad Glaswegian accent.
It’s very moving.
I’ve got the New Testament in Scots Dialect. Allow me to quote a passage from The Acks o The Apostles I think is highly relevant:
Whan the day o Pentacost cam round, they war aa forgethert in ae place, when o a suddentie a sound like the rair o a blowsterin gell o wind cam out o the lift an fu’d the haill biggin whaur they war sittin. They saw like tungs o fire, at sindert in twa an sattelt on ilkane o them, an they war aa filled wi the Halie Spirit, an begoud speakin in fremmit leids, accordin as the Spirit gae them the pouer tae mouband their thochts.
Amen, ye wee bastids.
Just to clarify-- it’s Hawaiian pidgin, and not really Hawaiian. Pidgin does have some Hawaiian words mixed in, but it’s mostly nonstandard pronunciation of English words. “Wen”, for example, isn’t a Hawaiian word, but it is a pidgin pronunciation of “when”.
I haven’t read the book, but I’ve flipped through it. I could read and understand most of it while reading at my normal reading speed. What threw me off, though, was that I wasn’t used to seeing pidgin in a written form; in Hawaii you hear it more than you read it. I can think of a couple pidgin books, and there are occasional newspaper bits that are in pidgin. But seeing pidgin words actually spelled out… that was interesting.
BTW, are you sure it’s makane? I don’t know of any such Hawaiian word.
My mistake, Audrey. :o It’s “mahke,” not “makane”; I located it in Matthew 16:25, where the context suggests it means “die.”
Hehehehe. Okay. Yeah, it means “die”. “He wen mahke” means “He died”. Wen doubles as “when” and an indicator of past tense.
Something about the word mahke always amused me.
Oh…I always thought of “wen” as “went”, as in “He went and died”.
Of course, I know nothing about Pidgin. Oh well.
Hawaiian Pidgin is a creole language (and, not, despite its name, a pidgin language). A pidgin language happens when there are speakers of a dominating language who need to communicate simple things to the speakers of a number of dominated languages. A typical circumstance for this is when there are traders (on ships) from a civilization that travels widely who need to speak to people from a number of different language communities, but who aren’t attempting to teach them everything about their language. The term “pidgin” is a mispronunciation of “business.” Another typical circumstance is when slave owners have slaves taken from several different language communities. A pidgin is not a full language. It doesn’t have enough words for every circumstance and the grammar tends to differ from speaker to speaker, where the speakers use bits of grammar from their native language.
A creole language happens when this pidgin language continues to be used for at least a generation, slowly picking up words and regularizing its grammar. It becomes a full language when children grow up using it as their native language. Hawaiian Pidgin (which is, again, actually a creole) was created when English speakers began trading with the inhabitants of Hawaii (and the various other ethnic groups that immigrated to Hawaii).
A creole language tends to sound like a very distinct dialect of the dominating language. It differs in accent, in vocabulary, and in grammar. Whether it’s a different language or just a highly differentiated dialect is mostly a political question, not a linguistic one. Some other examples of creole languages are Haitian Creole French, the various English creoles of other Caribbean islands, and the Gullah language of coastal South Carolina that developed in slave times and still is spoken by some blacks there.
Audrey, you never saw the “Pidgin to da max” books? They were around in the 80’s-- absolutely hysterical, with a glossary (“anthurium: boy flower”). Looks like Amazon has them. Up there with Frank deLima.
Theobroma-- it DOES mean that, but it is really a standardized way of past tensing-- He went go the store= he went to the store (spelling/ pronounciation fixed to make sense). He go the store= he’s going to the store. He going go da sto’a= he is going to go to the store. Make sense?
Wendell- you might be surprised at the at least regional consistency of the grammar. You can definitely tell who was rasied there and who wasn’t as if one says something incorrectly it’s. . . wrong.
D’oh! Wendell, I re-read your post and realised that we are in agreement re: grammar and vocab standardization. Retract.
I’ve only seen the books once, when I was six or seven. They had them at my day care center. I remember reading them and thinking they were funny, but I hadn’t heard of half the Pidgin words they used.
After we moved to Waipahu, I picked up a bigger Pidgin vocabulary, and, had I tried reading the books again, I probably would have breezed through 'em.
True story: When I was a little kid, we went to see Frank DeLima live at (whichever venue he regularly appeared at back then). Since it was a late show, I fell asleep while we were waiting in line to get inside. We had front row seats, and when the show started, Frank saw us and naturally took the opportunity to harass my parents about me sleeping through his show. They told me about it the next morning. I didn’t believe them for the longest time.
To Wendell Wagner: Interesting you should bring this up. In Talking Your Way Around the World, author Mario Pei gives just about the same description of world pidgins that you do. So Mario Pei–whom we discussed in the post “Ye Olde English”–wasn’t that far off the mark, eh wot?
My point is that their is some body of knowledge that doesn’t change–appreciably–over time; what was true in this regard when Pei was writing is still true.
Yes, some of what Pei wrote was correct, but so what? (Incidentally, he died in 1978.) You have no idea which of the things he said are still up to date though. I repeat the question I asked before: Would you like a list of modern introductory books on linguistics?
Be my guest. Send it to me, if you will, by e-mail:email@example.com and I’ll look it over…