Hawai’i Pidgin


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Hawai’i Creole, Hawai’i Creole English, HCE, Pidgin

600,000 (2012 J. Grimes). Another 100,000 on the United States mainland. L2 users: 400,000.


Hawaiian Islands, United States mainland (especially the west coast, Las Vegas, and Orlando).

Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. The basilect is barely intelligible with standard English (McKaughan and Forman 1981).

Language Use

Vigorous use by 100,000 to 200,000. Native speech of a large number of those born or brought up in Hawaii, regardless of racial origin. Continuum of speech from distinct creole to standard English [eng] of Hawaii. Different speakers control different spans along the continuum, with some only speaking creole. Some communication problems at university level. Courts, literature, personal letters, local commerce, and a few songs. All ages. Mixed attitudes. Accepted by many as important part of local culture, a distinctive local language; but looked down on by others. Some official acknowledgement of it in print and public discussion, Miranda rights. Used as L2 by Hawaiian [haw].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 66%–75%. Literacy rate in L2: 66%–75%. Taught in bush schools as an elective to native and nonnative children. Taught in primary schools. Radio programs. TV. Grammar. NT: 2000.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, Buddhist, traditional religion.