Hawai’i Pidgin


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Hawai’i Creole, Hawai’i Creole English, Hawaiian Creole, Hawaiian 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.