Take Care The Body: Pidgin And Body In The Selected Works Of Milton Murayama, Darrell H. Y. Lum, And Lois-Ann Yamanaka

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2014-01-15
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Yoshii, Alette
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Schultz, Susan
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English
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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The history of pidgin in Hawaii is well-known, and will here be given only in brief. The boom of Hawaii's sugar trade after the establishment of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1876 brought hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Portugese, Japanese, Filipino, and other immigrants who came in massive waves to fill the enormous deficiency of labor necessary for the survival of the plantations. The subsequent breaching of the language gap that existed between these disparate ethnicities, the attempt to find a common ground for communication--these are the origins of what is called "pidgin English." The makeshift language that arose on these plantations was a true, sociologically-defined pidgin, a "communication system that develops among people who do not share a common language" (Todd 3). The "pidgin" that exists today, however, has evolved beyond its functional use and plantation context. This is the pidgin that is acknowledged as a language with all its historical, cultural, and social properties, a language with its own identity. In recent years, it has even been given its own name, Hawaiian Creole English, which is defined by linguist Dr. Elizabeth Carr as "a pidgin which has become the common language of a multilingual community and hence the language of the cradle to the community's children" (171). The applicability of this term to the language in question, however, is still somewhat debatable, and for purposes of simplicity I will continue to use the non-sociological popular term "pidgin English" in place of Carr's Hawaiian Creole English.
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61 pages
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