When you move to Hawaii, you learn another language. It’s kind of like English, but it’s not…English. Well, not any more than British English is English, which is to say not English as American mainlanders know it anyway.
That’s this new English I’m talking about.
My own mother – God bless her – has started answering her calls from me (on HER phone. In Alabama.) with “Aloha!” She’s embracing my new found motherland: I love it. However, today she asked if I was going to be coming back “to America” soon. Oddly, I’ve accidentally referred to the mainland – the proper term when Hawaii-based – as the same thing lately, so I had to laugh. It’s America…but it’s also an (occasionally third-world) foreign country.
But I digress… as for the other other white meat known as Hawaiian Pidgin, let me illuminate my point a bit more clearly:
Today the cable guy came over to take a look at my wonky internet connection and my dog tried – and succeeded, really, to a certain extent – to make out with him. For better or worse, the dude wasn’t into it, so I had to get some raw cow bones (or “freezey bones” as I call them because I put them in the freezer for him and because, yes, I am one of those [ashamed] people who coos to their dog like it’s a baby) out, lure Dozer onto the front deck, and hope he would rescind and hang out there. Upon seeing this, the (very nice and ten times more competent than the fool who installed my cable and internet the first time around) Time Warner Oceanic Cable guy exclaimed “Oh, he’s got some grindz!”
(Grindz = food)
“It’s small kine lobster.”
“Mo bettah, da kine”
“I like to surf da kine.”
“My ex…you know…da kine.”
(da kine is anything you’ve forgotten the word for or “the thing” or – and this is just conjecture – whatever the hell you want it to mean. I’m going to start inserting the word “kine” randomly and see how it goes over…
“Pass me the potato kine.”
“Do you want go to the Rocky Horror Picture Kine with me?”
“I’m on da kine transplant waiting list.”
“Da kine don’t kill people. People kill da kine.”
“Will you da kine me?”)
Or then there’s “shootz,” which – when properly articulated is pronounced “Shoooooooooooooooooots,” and more or less means “okay” but occasionally – and semi-fathomably – “shoot!” or (what I would paraphrase as) “darn it!”
Do not underestimate “broke da mouth” which sounds like a terrible and expensive visit to the dentist, but actually just means that your grindz (see above) were super ono (good in Hawaiian).
And I’ll never forget how, when I registered Dozer with the local animal control, I had to laugh when the form inquired about “breed” but then stated – in all caps – POI IS NOT A BREED! A poi dog is a term for a mutt (usually a pit bull/terrier) typically used for hunting. What amuses me is that something so “local” makes it to official paperwork.
So anywho, if you lived here you may get an invite or two or ten to meet up, get some coffee, and talk story. I happen to love the expression “talk story” but probably that’s because I love stories. And talking. And talking stories. Which kinda is a (way) cuter way to say “shoot the shiznit” but somehow hasn’t caught on countrywide the way shiznit has…which is really too bad. When said with the proper lilting local accent, “talk story” sounds like the loveliest invitation ever.
Similarly, I love me some British accent. Nonetheless, I’ve experienced similarly startling lessons in the variations of the spoken word we call “English” during my efforts to work with a British partner. Sometimes I pull it off seamlessly – I think/hope/try – but other days I look up Employment Solicitors and learn that’s not actually someone trying to get you a job – like a headhunter or employment agency – but an attorney specializing in business law. You had a job: now you are going to retire comfortably because someone at said employer sent you some dirty text messages. Work it, girl/boy.
As for “solicitors,” it probably wouldn’t have mattered terribly if I’d have gotten the translation wrong, but seeing as the only time I really feel inclined to utilize the verb “solicit” is in conjunction with the noun “prostitute” it probably is a lucky stroke, as well.
That stated, if I launched a local effort to get the term “solicitor” to catch on as a euphemism for hooker or tramp, I bet I could get some traction.
Presuming the world doesn’t end in six and a half months (it better not! I’ve got hopes, dreams, goals, food to eat, asses to kick, fantasies to realize, New York Times Bestseller lists to dominate, and one life to live), England-based, future Maui visitors beware: “da kine solicitor no broke da mouth.” probably doesn’t mean that the nice lawyer has good teeth.
Consider yourself warned…