Fo Teach Pidgin o Not Fo Teach Pidgin — Das Da Question

Joe Rubin/Civil Beat

Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part series about whether there's a place for Pidgin in Hawaii schools. Read Part 2: Can or No Can? Pidgin Speakers in the Workforce.

“Dear Teacha,” the letter reads. “Wedda yo one native Pidgin speaka or one curious teacha of Pidgin speakaz, dis teacha’z guide, da website an all da adda stuff dat goes with it was put tugedda fo you.”

So begins the preface to a packet of Pidgin education materials put together by a linguistics professor and other University of Hawaii at Manoa faculty. The materials — Pidgin grammar quizzes, critical reading exercises and the like — are meant to be used by Hawaii teachers who want to teach the language in their middle and high school classrooms.

The fact that the resource even exists reflects the growing notion that Pidgin is a distinct and valid language that Hawaii schools should welcome. The packet outlines how the materials, which were published in 2010, can help teachers meet state Department of Education standards.

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