This course introduces students to Pidgin, the creole language of Hawai‘i, through examining an intersection of issues and perspectives related to language rights. Students will learn about the social, political, and economic issues related to Pidgin, and they will engage with perspectives on Pidgin from Native Hawaiians, local people in Hawai‘i, and newcomers to Hawai‘i. To engage students in learning about the breadth of language rights issues in Asia-Pacific contexts, the course will frequently compare language rights of Pidgin speakers with the experiences of speakers of other languages, including Hawaiian and other creoles of the Pacific. Comparisons will also be made with the language rights and language discrimination experienced by speakers of other languages in Hawai‘i. While more than 500,000 people in Hawaiʻi speak Pidgin, there are many myths and misconceptions about this language that call for further attention, all of which are ultimately tied up in the concept of language rights. With language rights as the organizing principle of the course, students will learn about Pidgin speakers’ rights in education, media, face-to-face communication, creative expression, and various real-world contexts.
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