HIGHLIGHTS OF LEAST DECREOLIZED SAMPLES OF HAWAIIAN CREOLE 1

Samples taken from three subgroups: sugar plantation workers at Ewa, Oahu; sugar plantation workers at Puhi, Kauai; friends, relatives, and acquaintances of MF45H in Hilo and South Kona; this turns out to be the descending order of decreolization. All except two were between 40 and 60 years of age, "members of the working class," most were Filipinos, all were male. Are men more basilectal than women?!

VP: TENSE-ASPECT MARKERS

bin [bIn] [wIn] [wEn] Originally a marker of the anterior aspect, "as it mutates to wen, grows to be less and less confined to the anterior category, and is eventually no more than a morphological variant for English simple past." There are five instances in the Vinyl Flooring Story [to be added later].

stei as "nonpunctual" marker has virtually disappeared from Oahu, and is on the retreat elsewhere. Its loss means "that there is no distinction between timeless iteratives of the he works every day kind, and nonanterior punctuals such as he worked last Friday: from i stei wok and i wok, these fall together as i wok. This encourages the use of the anterior marker as a simple past, to disambiguate where necessary, and the loss of a distinctive anterior effectively brings down the creole system in ruins--soon it has nothing to distinguish it from English."

go predominantly as "irrealis" marker, although also for habitual, imperative, "go and." (See Vinyl story, line 20 [to be added later] for irrealis example.) "Gon too serves to indicate irrealis, but refers more specifically to future events that have an estimated high probability of occurrence, rather than spreading over into conditionals, if-clauses, etc. as the "pure" irrealis go does. However, there is considerable overlap between the two markers: den ai gon get ap twelv oklak mai waif go teik mai kloz gon tro mi aut, `If I got up at twelve (midnight) my wife would take my clothes and throw me out.' (MPR58O)

Modals include can and used to, exclude almost completely do, did, will, could, and show "disputed" modals such as might, would, and must with intermediate frequency.

Copula: "All speakers insert the copula in some environments, though there is no environment for any speaker in which it is obligatorily inserted." "Insertion before nouns is markedly commoner than any other form of insertion." Locative ( stei) environments show next highest percentage. Adjectives and participles show the lowest rate of insertion. Contraction and deletion/insertion are two different processes. Where predicate fronting occurs, the copula seldom occurs; the aes which may occasionally appear in its stead has only a historical relationship to that+is:

Negation: basilectal forms = no, no kaen, no mo; mesolectal forms = nat, neva; acrolectal forms = don, kaenat, kaent, didn. (See table 1). "The result of decreolization, at this stage, is not the replacement of basilectal forms by forms closer to English, but a steady increase in the amount of variation present--which again suggests, in the quite recent past, a creole much more homogeneous than one can find today." "As table [2] shows, the difference that divides Oahu from Kauai is greater than that which divides Kauai and Hawaii. Negation in Kauai is still predominantly by basilectal forms."

Negative Forms in the Middle-Aged Group

Speaker

no
kaen

no
mo

no

nat

neva

don

kaen-
at

NC/
NM

kaent

didn

MJ52H

3

2

9

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

MF45Ha

12

7

25

1

8

-

-

-

-

-

MF42H

3

2

10

2

1

-

1

-

-

-

MF45Hb

10

7

35

6

4

-

1

-

-

-

MF47H

11

6

19

4

4

-

-

-

-

2

MF50H

4

3

7

4

9

2

1

-

-

-

MF45K

22

12

45

14

8

5

2

-

-

-

MF36O

4

9

32

25

9

16

30

2

4

-

MF48K

13

9

36

3

10

4

1

1

1

1

MF50O

2

9

15

23

4

19

18

1

6

1

MPR58O

9

6

37

17

14

9

2

5

11

1

 

93

72

270

102

71

55

56

9

22

5

Categorial Distribution of Negative Forms (by %)

Island

basilectal

mesolectal

acrolectal

N

Hawai`i

78.1

20.6

1.8

175 - 46 - 3

Kaua`i

73.3

18.7

8.0

137 - 35 - 15

O`ahu

36.2

27.0

36.8

123 - 92 - 125

Distribution of Negative Forms of kaen (by %)

Island

no kaen

kaenat

kaent

N

Hawai`i

95.1

4.9

-

39 - 2 - 0

Kaua`i

89.7

7.7

2.6

35 - 3 - 1

O`ahu

17.4

58.1

24.5

15 - 50 - 21

NP ELEMENTS

Indefinite articles (wan/a)

Zero article used for true nondefinites: generics, and NPs that have no concrete referents: as tu bin get had taim reizing dag, `The two of us had a hard time breeding dogs.' (MF48K); evri taim he kawf, gon get rtkweik, `Every time he coughs, there's going to be an earthquake' (MF45H); bat nobadi gon get jab, `But nobody will get a job.' (MF45K); mi ai get raesh, ae, ai yus srten sop, "As for me, I get a rash, eh, if I use (a) certain soap(s).' (MF48K); kaenejan waif, ae, get, `He has a Canadian wife' (MF45H); he get jaepani waif, ae, `He has a Japanese wife' (MPR58O); wen kam imrjensi laidaet, `When an emergency like that happens.'

Kain

GENERAL SYNTAX

Left-movement rules: o, dis primo bia? nat baed, dis wan, `Oh, this is Primo beer? This beer isn't bad.' (MF42H); o, a wen go ril maed wit him. slai kain dakain. `Oh, I got really mad at him!' That one's the sly sort.'; sambadi bin stei wid gan. an da ada said, ei, waz. ye, dei bin stei, stil hant, doz gaiz. `Some people were there with guns.' `They were on the other side, right?' `Yeah, those guys were still hunting there.'

Aeswai-bikaz often confused by pidgin speakers, but not by creole speakers; aeswai often postposed: bat, kaen wawk, ei? not dip, ei? no, waz, waz lo taid, aeswai. `But, you could walk, couldn't you? It wasn't deep, was it?' `No, (it wasn't deep) because it was low tide.'

Relativization: no relative markers: ai get di ada kaet stei autsaid, `I have the other caterpillar (tractor) which is outside there' (MF42H); yu no dakain go prich, `You know the sort of people that preach' (MF50H); we lend am mani, da gai hiz in a beta braekit, `We lend money to the guy who is in a higher income bracket.' (MF45H)

Serial verbs: laikV, chraiV, Vto/and, kamV, look see, walk go, mek pau: ai tel hi go kam ap go mezha dis go mezha dat, `I told him to come up and to measure this and that.' (MF45H)

Multiple negation: no mo nating trak, `There wasn't any truck at all.'; yu nat gon luz nating, `You aren't going to lose anything.' no kaen shawt-cheing nobadi, `You can't shortchange anyone.'


1. Bickerton, Derek. 1977. Creole syntax, vol. 2 of 3 volumes, Change and variation in Hawaiian English. Final Report on National Science Foundation Grant No. GS-39748. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Social Sciences and Linguistics Institute.