Monday, October 5, 2009

"da kine"

Having just come from a wonderful visit to Paradise, I had a good giggle when I saw this description of one of Hawaii's favorite expressions in this month's Hawai'i Magazine:

"Da kine" is not Hawaiian. It's a widely used expression in Hawaii pidgin English.

Roughly translated, it means "the kind," similar to the pidgin expression any kine, which itself means "any kind." But da kine's meaning is more complex.

You can use it when you can't think of a word - sort of like the English words "thingie" or "whatchamacallit" (I can't find "da kine.")

But da kine can also be an adjective. It can refer to a person as well as a thing (Are you bring da kine to the party?). And it can be a sometimes abstract concept (I wish he didn't act so da kine.)

Da kine sounds like the speaker can't think of a word. But, really, it implies that the speaker and the listener understand each other so well there's no need for unnecessary da kine words."

That is a terrific description of a very popular term. And should you be curious, "pidgin" English is the slang English that is widely used in Hawaii. It's an accented and a shortened form of our more 'proper' language, and is almost unintelligible to many. It has a charming lilt and I get a chuckle out of it!!

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