The Role of HCE in a Political Statirist's Mock Campaign for Governor

Date
1998
Authors
Fontanilla, Elizabeth
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Abstract
The state of Hawai'i is unique because no single ethnic group constitutes a majority (Sato, 1994). However, the population is far fiom being a 'hannonious melting pot' with racial tensions even considered a problem in the schools (Watson-Gegeo, 1990). Kawamoto (1993) describes the residents as reflecting a "mosaic" of ethnic integration with identities being investigated, preserved, and celebrated. Nevertheless, the people of Hawai'i do share a common language, Hawai'i Creole English (HCE), which is spoken by just under half of the state's population of over one million residents (Romaine, 1994). As a descendant of the Hawai'i Pidgin English (HPE) developed by immigrant sugarcane plantation workers from about 1890-1910 (Reineke, 1969; Sato, 19S5), HCE serves as a marker of "local" identity that unites the otherwise diverse population (Kawamoto, 1993; Sato, 1991; Watson-Gegeo, 1990). This solidarity function is thought to be associated with a pride in belonging to the group and would be extended to positive attitudes toward the language ofthe group (HCE), but this is not the case. ln this paper, I will first explore the history of language in the islands, the domains and functions of HCE use, the specific linguistic structures and features that characterize it apart from Standard English (SE), and the research on attitudes toward HCE. This framework will then be applied to ananalysis ofone speaker's use of the language.
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