Hawaii - Languages



Although massive immigration from Asia and the US mainland since the mid-19th century has effectively diluted the native population, the Hawaiian lexical legacy in English is conspicuous. Newcomers soon add to their vocabulary aloha (love, good-bye), haole (white foreigner), malihini (newcomer), lanai (porch), tapa (bark cloth), mahimahi (a kind of fish), ukulele, muumuu, and the common directional terms mauka (toward the mountains) and makai (toward the sea), customarily used instead of "north," "east," "west," and "south." Native place-names are numerous—Waikiki, Hawaii, Honolulu, Mauna Kea, and Molokai for example.

Most native-born residents of Hawaiian ancestry speak one of several varieties of Hawaiian pidgin, a lingua franca incorporating elements of Hawaiian, English, and other Asian and Pacific languages. In 2000, 73.4 % (down from 75.2% in 1990) of Hawaiians five years old or older spoke only English at home.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Pacific Island languages" includes Chamorro, Hawaiian, Ilocano, Indonesian, and Samoan. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian.

Hawaii

LANGUAGE NUMBER PERCENT
Population 5 years and over 1,134,351 100.0
Speak only English 832,226 73.4
Speak a language other than English 302,125 26.6
Speak a language other than English 302,125 26.6
Other Pacific Island languages 90,111 7.9
Tagalog 60,967 5.4
Japanese 56,225 5.0
Chinese 29,363 2.6
Spanish or Spanish Creole 18,820 1.7
Korean 18,337 1.6
Vietnamese 8,270 0.7
German 3,986 0.4
French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 3,310 0.3
Laotian 1,920 0.2
Thai 1,496 0.1
Other Indo-European languages 1,288 0.1
Portuguese or Portuguese Creole 1,238 0.1


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