Structure dataset 71: Pidgin Hawaiian

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 71.

Pidgin Hawaiian is an extinct contact language spoken mainly in the Kingdom of Hawai'i in the last quarter of the 19th century, derived from earlier L2 varieties of Hawaiian. It was the primary means of communication in the sugar industry (primarily between speakers of Hawaiian, English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese) prior to the rise of Hawai'i Pidgin English (the forerunner of Hawai'i Creole, described in APiCS by Viveka Velupillai) in that social context. The growing utility of the Anglophone pidgin eventually restricted Pidgin Hawaiian to interactions involving native speakers of Hawaiian by the second quarter of the 20th century. Because this is an extinct language, lectal boundaries are unclear. However data utilized in the documentation of Pidgin Hawaiian in APiCS reflect clear stylistic differences. Pidgin Hawaiian when used as the medium of court testimony tended to be more formal than the form appearing in newspapers (which more frequently attested salient basilectal features and reflected a much more reduced vocabulary). Since court testimony was much more prolific than other written sources, the representation of Pidgin Hawaiian in APiCS is skewed towards more mesolectal or acrolectal varieties. Newspaper sources on the other hand may have employed basilectal exaggeration, increasing the frequency of distinctive pidgin features. Also the Pidgin Hawaiian spoken when Chinese dominated the immigrant population (before 1890) had certain rare grammatical features generally absent in the later period (between 1890 and 1920). The default lect in the APiCS representation is the pidgin attested in the 1880s and 1890s in court testimony.

No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n
Stop p b t d k ʔ
Sibilant affricate
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s
Non-sibilant fricative ɸ f h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap ɾ
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel long high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel long high back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel long higher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel long higher mid back rounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source