You Know Da Kine, Brah

Everything I had ever imagined about Hawai’i was pretty much shattered when I
moved there about six years ago. Talk about culture shock! I figured research
wouldn’t be necessary and never read much outside of the glossy, rainbow colored, tourist pamphlets with the super
slim, golden skin hula dancers inviting you to come, play, and stay. Ahh… Paradise. Little did I know
Hawai’i would be a lot more diverse than the hula dancers and the tourists that came to see them.

Having moved from Florida to Aiea in Oahu to spend the last couple years of high school was a bigger learning
experience than one could imagine. The demographic in the school was completely different. School in Hawai’i felt more
like school in Japan or the Philippines as most if not all of the students were of those two nationalities or
backgrounds. I even started wondering where all the Samoans and real Hawaiian people were hiding. It was also required
to take Hawai’ian history in order to graduate, something I initially thought was one extra jab at the poor military
brats like myself who continuously had to catch up from their travels, but proved very beneficial in end.

But the most interesting thing beyond anything was breaking the language. To the folks coming from the mainland
it can be considered very bad broken English or better known as ‘Pidgin Creole,’ is the lingo spoken
by ALL the locals. Teachers, Doctors, the folks at the DMV, anyone and everyone who is a native speaks
Pidgin. “Brah dis,” “brah dat,” and the popular “you know da kine, brah” are sure to be heard. Before
you start pulling your hair out trying to figure out what ’da kine’ is I have found a great
audio postcard from NPR that focuses on
this mixture of Asian, Portuguese and several other languages brought to the islands over the centuries. The
clip also touches on a Pidgin scholar who even did his master’s thesis in pidgin.

If you’ve never been to the Hawaiian islands and plan on visiting soon it may be worth the quick listen.
(Considering most people pronounce Hawai’i wrong in the first place.) Any similar or different experiences out