HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
The Pidgin You Need – Part 2
As promised in Part 1, here are some “pidgin” words and phrases. Most were originally Hawaiian, but have become colloquial expressions, familiar in everyday conversation. You will probably want to try them out, sooner or later, when you’re here. Just be prepared: some people may respond to your first attempts with indulgent smiles or amused exasperation.
“Pau” – A multipurpose word for finished [doing something], as in “pau hana” – done working. But “pau” or “all pau” can also mean empty or used up.
“Hui” – a group [of people]. Many local organizations use this word in their names, as it implies having a common purpose.
“Hana hou” – Although “hana” means work, audiences will shout “hana hou,” meaning Encore! – do it again.
“Opala” means trash or rubbish, but is not used in a negative sense. When something is inherently dirty, or at least smells bad, it’s “pilau.”
“Keiki” is literally the offshoot of a plant (e.g., bananas reproduce that way), but it’s affectionately used to mean child.
“B’m bye” – or “bumbye” – is a contraction of the English “bye and bye,” generally construed to mean “sooner or later but probably later.”
“Shibai” is Japanese for B.S., and is used remarkably often by contending politicians.
“Chicken skin” is the goose-bumps you get when you’re scared or awed.
“Shave Ice” is shaved ice, but nobody pronounces the “d.” It’s a snowcone, dredged with sweet syrup; try one, sometime, with sweet adzuki beans inside.