“No flips in the pool”: Discursive practice in Hawai‘i Creole

Toshiaki Furukawa


Linguistic hybridity is the process of the authorial unmasking of another’s speech, through a language that is double-accented and double-styled. The present study investigates how linguistic resources, especially code-switching is used for meaning making in local comedy shows in Hawai‘i. Local comedy is inseparable from the use of carnivalistic act. This act deconstructs attempts at stabilizing social systems by being playfully and non-violently subversive. While there are many studies of language and humor, there are much fewer studies on the use of code-switching in comedy. The present study is particularly interested in the latter and specifically addresses Bakhtin’s work on carnival. It is often maintained that ethnic jokes marginalize those of Filipino origin as the Other. However, the present paper claims that both functions of comedy - marginalizing of the Other and disrupting of official views of reality - are inseparably intertwined. Andy Bumatai, a local comic, tactically achieves carnivalistic effects while negotiating and juggling his subjectivity. Given this, code-switching as well as language selection can be a powerful tool for doublevoicing. Little is known about the pragmatics of pidgin and creole languages. Hence, the present study provides a starting point for future projects on the discursive practice in Hawai‘i Creole.

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