Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


In light of a belief that Hawaiʻi Creole (HC) is mostly inappropriate in public domains of society, this study examines how it was employed in two university commencement speeches by a local politician in Hawaiʻi. The analysis adopts the perspective of heteroglossia ( Bakhtin 1981 ) in order to describe how HC is used together in the speeches with English and also some Hawaiian words. By focusing on the contrastive indexical meanings attached to all three languages, the analysis describes how the speaker combined humor and serious advice in his speeches. In particular, a focus is given to a specific feature of the HC grammar, the negative imperative, that was used by the speaker to underscore his main points. Discussion of the analysis considers the potential of the perspective of heteroglossia to understand the usage of HC in the public domain in Hawaiʻi to construct formal speeches of a decidedly ʻlocal’ style.


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