chapter  THIRTEEN
10 Pages

The Hawaiian Dialect

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

Most people associate Hawaii with hula dancers. They also imagine that the natives speak in some sort of South Seas dialect or language that would be quite foreign to American ears. Also, there is an infiltration of a slight Portuguese intonation—from which the Hawaiian dialect obtains its lilt and emphasis—as well as some Pidgin English and Beche la Mar. There was a time, only a few years ago, when Pidgin and Beche le Mar were the Hawaiian dialects. However, some of the original Hawaiian language characteristics remain. The intriguing glottal stop—the elision of medial consonants—which charmed so many travelers before Hawaii was civilized, is still evident in the dialect. The Hawaiians use a number of original language words in their dialect. The young people and most of the older people in the large cities of Hawaii speak American with only a few vowel and consonant changes.