If you have been in Hawaii, hearing pidgin is inevitable.
This article will not try to teach the reader pidgin, which would be a long process. This article aims to focus on area-specific or island-specific pidgin. Different parts of Hawaii, use different pidgin words and phrases. As someone who is from and residing in Maui, many pidgin terms standard in other islands are foreign to me. Some of these phrases are used exclusively on a specific island. Others are simply more prominent on a specific island.
Kauai Pidgen Term
Brah, after scraping the reef after that last set my back was all cabbage.
Molokai Pidgin Term
Did you pluck your eyebrows without a mirror? They look all hemajag.
While hemajag is used regularly throughout the state, it’s used most in Moloka’i. The term describes something that is literally crooked. Hemajag can also mean twisted, misaligned, off-center, and more.
Maui Pidgin Terms
Braddah, I stay too jag to drive. I gotta call my cousin.
Brah, you stay jag?
While this word is occasionally figurative, it’s primarily used to describe drunkenness. The term jag differs from a drunk in that it does not tend to carry a negative connotation in the same tier as drunk. Jag is a great term to use when anyone is acting somewhat foolish or strange. Its playful nature allows one to communicate the observation of disorientation in others, without sounding too crude or offensive.
Kaweka has been lifting and now he’s super Murf. -Verb
Don’t look that Murf in the eye unless you like get pounded. -Noun
While the term Murf can be attributed to animals, it’s usually used to describe large people. While the people described as murf may or may not be considered muscular, they are always large.
Island of Hawaii
Talankos, Tangraras, Tantolos, Talanks
I will give you ten snake eye for two talanks.
All of these words describe large glass marbles regularly played with by children in a culturally accepted form of gambling.
The Alanka Paradox
In a recent UH study, the following phrases are used throughout different islands. The following phrases are usually used as a reaction to misbehaving children.
Halala ukulele. Mama kiss the bebe. Peanut butta jelle!
Alanka Lanka Lele. Peanut butta jelle.
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Mahalo for Reading
Have you heard any of these terms? What terms did I miss? Do you disagree with anything in this post? Let me know in the comments below.