Consuming the consumers
Semiotics of Hawai‘i Creole in advertisements
Previous sociolinguistic research concerning the use of Hawai‘i Creole (HC) in public discourse has posited a link between a negative public image and subsequent discouragement of its use by government and media (e.g. Romaine 1999; Sato 1989, 1991, 1994), except in some limited venues. This paper reports on the emerging trend of HC use in media discourse, presenting data from local television advertisements and discussing the role of language therein. Despite the fact that HC has traditionally been a stigmatized variety in public discourse, its employment in television advertisements is currently on the rise, riding a wave of positive sentiment for Hawai‘i’s local culture. The use of HC in the commercials is strategic and carefully controlled; while heavy Pidgin (basilectal HC) is still avoided as possibly detrimental to brand image, the right touch of HC is a favored tactic among these advertisement producers. HC is one of a number of criteria for implicit membership for the Hawai‘i residents on which advertisers may draw in an attempt to fabricate a synthetic membership with the audience.
Keywords: Hawai‘i Creole, advertisements, language commodification, stylization
Published online: 03 August 2011
Cited by 10 other publications
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