Hawai’i Pidgin


A language of United States

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

1,000,000, all users. 600,000 (2012 J. Grimes). Another 100,000 on the United States mainland. 400,000.


Hawaii; Florida: Orlando; Nevada: Las Vegas; west coast.

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 a distinctive local language and important part of local culture; but looked down on by others. 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. TV. Grammar. NT: 2000.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Some official acknowledgement of it in print, public discussion, and law (for example, Miranda rights may be read in the language). Christian, Buddhist, traditional religion.

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