List of references for introductory reading on Pidgin

Where to start?

What is Pidgin?

Sakoda, Kent and Jeff Siegel. (2003). Pidgin Grammar: An introduction to the creole
language of Hawai‘i. Honolulu: Bess Press.

Holm, John. (1989). Restructured English in Hawaii. In, Pidgins and Creoles, 517-526.

For the general background on pidgin and creole linguistics:

Siegel, Jeff. (2002). Pidgins and creoles. In R. Kaplan (ed.), Handbook of Applied
Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.

What is your area of interest?

If you are interested in language attitudes towards Pidgin:

Sato, Charlene J. (1991). Sociolinguistic variation and language attitudes in Hawaii. In J.
Cheshire (ed.), English around the world: Sociolinguistic perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 647-663.

Sato, Charlene J. (1985). Linguistic inequality in Hawaii: The post-creole dilemma. In N. Wolfson and J. Manes (eds.), Language of inequality. Berlin: Mouton.

If you’d like to know more about the historical background of Pidgin:

Reinecke, John. (1969). The historical background of makeshift language and regional dialect in Hawaii (chapter 3). In Language and dialect in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press.

If you’re Interested in educational issues:

Da Pidgin Coup. (1999). Pidgin and education. University of Hawai‘i.

Watson-Gegeo, Karen. (1990). Language and education in Hawai‘i: Socio-political and economic implications of Hawai‘i Creole English. In M. Morgan (ed.), Language and the social construction of identity in creole language sitations. Los Angels: UCLA Center for African American Studies.

If you’d like to know more about Pidgin and literature:

Romaine, Suzanne. (1994). Hawai‘i Creole English as a literary language. Language in Society, 23(4) 527-554.

What researchers on Pidgin say about getting started

Joe Grimes – Relationships Lead to Data

We might not have moved to Makaha to work on Pidgin if it hadn’t been for the wife of a UH graduate student in linguistics. She said, in effect, “You’ve already met some people there. Have them introduce you to their friends. The friends will accept you on that basis.” And they did. Now there are quite a few people we see regularly, hang out with, and get linguistic help from. Leslie Milroy, in the second edition of Language and Social Networks (Blackwell 1987), discusses how this works in any culture.

(Joe Grimes, co-coordinator of the Pidgin Bible translation project (see, also researching the lexical structure of Pidgin, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Cornell University, Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawai’i, <>

William Labov

(1972) Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. University of Pennsylvania Press.

In-depth study of the speech and interactional patterns of three black youth groups in south-central Harlem. Strategies: Research team consisted of both white and black investigators; long-term participant observation with peer groups, including individual interviews with group leaders, followed by group outings and group sessions (in form of parties, card games, eating and drinking, singing and sounding events), then individual interviews with members; one researcher (black, high command of the vernacular, excellent fieldworker) rented a ‘club-house’ in the neighborhood of the groups and associated with them daily for nearly 1 year.

Shuy, R., Wolfram, W. and Riley, W.

(1968) Field techniques in an urban language study. Center for Applied Linguistics; Wolfram, W. 1969. A sociolinguistic description of Detroit Negro Speech. Center for Applied Linguistics.

Large-scale study of speech patterns in Detroit (The detroit Dialect Study). Used only one-on-one interviews. Strategies: Researcher (R) stated goal of study by saying “We’re interested in how different people talk in this area”; familiar environments (the home, playground) and discussion of familiar events (games, movies, pets, ect.) worked well to elicit casual and informal talk; lavaliere microphone helped reduce the presence of the recorder.