Pidgin in college and life (WSJ)

Pidgin in Hawaii stars in the Wall Street Journal's popular front-page middle column today, Aug. 1. The article begins with Lee Tonouchi, "Da Pidgin Guerrilla," and the Pidgin Literature class he teaches at Hawaii Pacific University; the course is believed to be the first of its kind at the college level. Pidgin's origins and evolution are presented with a light touch, with anecdotes of its use in TV and film ("Dog the Bounty Hunter" and "50 First Dates"), its influence on such literary figures as Lois Ann Yamanaka and Eric Chock, and its current state. Historically there has been resistance to pidgin because of its plantation roots. That may become less of a problem as fewer children, especially in Honolulu, seem to be speaking pidgin today. Sandy Takayama, who wrote a children's book in pidgin, finds some kids at her readings not understanding her. "I feel a little sad," she says, "but I understand--for children to be able to succeed in the larger world, they have to speak standard English." (WSJ is available in the Library)


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