Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Hawaii Local ‘Accent’

People who were born and raised in Hawaii often have an identifiable accent that is not exactly Hawaiian ebonics (what we call “pidgin English”) but I guess is kind of an offshoot of it.

First, a clarification: You’ll notice I didn’t say “Hawaiian.” People outside our state often refer to our residents as Hawaiians, just as we would refer to residents of other states as Californians or Illini or Floridians. If there were no native Hawaiians then I guess that would be acceptable, but it’s not an accurate description of Hawaii residents. In fact, those with Hawaiian ancestry would find it quite objectionable and offensive. Okay, that’s taken care of.

Here’s an example of the accent: How would you pronounce the word “street”?

Most Americans would say “s-chreet,” ‘cause that’s the way they taught us in school. Or, if we are more particular in our pronunciation and conscious of what we say, we’d say “s-treet,” as it was meant to be pronounced.

But in Hawaii, many say “sh-chreet.” I don’t know what it is about the letters “str” at the start of the word. It’s just shchrange how local Hawaii people shchruggle with those three little letters.
That’s enough for today. But I promise that I’ll shchress more peculiarities of the Hawaii local accent later.

1 comment:

casch said...

Interesting, I hadn't noticed that before. I'll play closer attention now. :)