On bilingual "Local Ricans" in Hawai'i: cultural notes and linguistic data.
The history of and linguistic consequences for resident Spanish-speakers in the Hawaiian Islands is not well known. The Local (Puerto) Ricans, some 5,883 immigrants who came in 13 groups in the early 1900s, comprise a little-known chapter of Spanish in the United States. Following a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, they were brought to harvest sugarcane on the Hawaiian plantations. First-generation immigrants maintained their language and, to a large extent, their customs and religious practices. However, due to their relatively small numbers, their isolation, and intermarriage with other ethnic groups, few of their descendants today have any real Spanish proficiency. Four excerpts of an interview conducted with Luis P. C., a first-generation Local Rican, are presented and analyzed. These brief excerpts provide a glimpse into a unique contact variety that incorporates jibaro, Hawaiian, and Pidgin English features.
Key words: Pidgin/Creole English, Puerto Rican Spanish, loanwords, code-switching, language shift.
Due to its cultural history and ethnic mix, the Hawaiian archipelago is rightly associated with Asian and Polynesian cultures. However, other ethnic/cultural groups have played important roles in Hawaiian history. In particular, the Hispanic influence has been noteworthy, although it remains largely unknown to most scholars of Spanish in the United States. A brief historical survey of Hispanic influences in the islands would include at least the following six entries: (1) the possibility that the Spanish may have been the first Europeans to set foot on Hawaiian soil (sometime prior to Cook's discovery of the archipelago in 1778); (2) the visit in 1791 of a Spanish/Peruvian sea captain, Manuel Quimper, who attempted to persuade the Spanish to claim the Sandwich Islands as a strategic outpost for the galleon trade between Mexico and the Phillipines; (1) (3) the forty-year presence of an Andalusian, Don Francisco de Paula Marin, who arrived in Hawai'i during the winter of 1793-1794 and later became a trusted advisor to Kamehameha I (serving in several roles, including that of royal translator and interpreter) and who also introduced and cultivated many useful plants and became a successful businessman; (4) the enduring legacy of the Paniolos, Alta California mission ranch hands of Indian and Spanish or Mexican extraction who taught the Hawaiians how to handle cattle during the period 1830-1859; (5) the immigration of Filipino (120,000), Spanish (7,735), and Puerto Rican (5,883) laborers at the beginning of the twentieth century, who harvested and processed sugarcane on Hawaiian plantations; and (6) the presence of numerous Hispanics in the islands today (according to the 2000 Census, 87,699 or 7.2% of the population--some current estimates run as high as 100,000), including the descendants of some of the early immigrants and recent Mexican (and other) immigrants as well as Spanish language media and institutional resources.
Of special interest is the Spanish-English language contact generated by the Hispanic presence in the islands. In order to examine that contact and its consequences, a brief review of the historical circumstances that led to it is provided as a backdrop. Our primary focus, however, is on the unique mix of jibaro Spanish and Hawai'i Pidgin/Creole English (2) among first generation immigrants. Thanks to oral history recordings completed by Norma Carr in the 1970s with many of these Local Ricans (LR) or "Borinkees" as they are known, some important features of this contact variety can be noted. These recordings, while serving as important primary source materials for her doctoral dissertation, have never been analyzed linguistically. Indeed, the only other work to focus on the linguistic features evident in the speech of LR is Alvarez Nazario (1992). As the consummate dialectologist that he is, his description of regional and popular Spanish features evident in his sources and originating in jibaro speech is masterful. However, his cursory treatment of a few contact features constitutes a fragmentary postscript to an otherwise excellent article. Other sources that provide significant linguistic data include Kindig (1960), E. Carr (1972), N. Carr (1980) and (1989), and Hernandez and Noboa (1988). Most other sources (demographic, sociological, or historical in nature) that I consulted provided little in the way of (socio)linguistic observations or commentary.
2. Puerto Ricans in Hawai'i and Language Shift
In 1900 and 1901, nearly 6,000 Puerto Ricans were brought to Hawai'i as laborers for the sugar plantations. (3) In one sense, the Puerto Ricans were simply another nationality to accept the offer from the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association (HSPA) to work and live in the islands. Japanese (200,000) were the largest group brought from 1884-1924; the second largest group was composed of Filipinos (120,000), mainly Ilocanos and Visayans, some of whom spoke Spanish or had incorporated Spanish loanwords into their native language(s) and had adopted certain Hispanic cultural practices, arrived in 1907-1930. Other numerically significant groups include Chinese (39,000), who were the first to emigrate in 1852-1897; Portuguese, who came in two waves (10,000) in 1878-1887 and (13,000) in 1906-1913. Other smaller groups numbering from a few hundred to nearly eight thousand include Norwegians (600), Germans (1,050), Polish, South Sea Islanders (2,450), Spaniards (7,735), Koreans (7,850), Russians (3,000), African Americans (from Tennessee and Louisiana), Italians, and Hindus (figures are not available in all cases). In terms of sheer numbers and eventual impact on the racial and ethnic composition of the archipelago, the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipinos should be highlighted. However, in spite of being one of the smaller groups of immigrants, the unique situation of the LR and their important contributions must not be overlooked.
In 1898, both Puerto Rico and Hawai'i became territories of the United States. Spanish colonial practices had not favored Boriquen and economic conditions were bleak. The United States' intervention in Puerto Rico following the Spanish-American War also contributed to worsening conditions. It was, however, the hurricane San Ciriaco that dealt a crushing blow to the island's inhabitants and their livelihood. According to accounts summarized in Carr (1989) and Rosario Natal (2001), on August 8, 1899, the island suffered its worst natural disaster on record. The loss of human life was estimated at 3,369; the vast majority of the victims drowned in flooding that occurred as a result of torrential rains accompanied by winds that reached a peak velocity of 100 miles per hour. The rainfall totals exceeded 23 inches in some areas during a period of 28 hours. There can be little doubt that the resulting devastation was the principal cause of the ensuing migration.
Lacking a system of compulsory education, most Puerto Ricans could do little to advance themselves, educationally or economically. For many, greener pastures seemed to beckon, and they left their homeland in search of a better life. Emigration from Puerto Rico to other Caribbean isles and mainland Latin America had begun as early as 1870 and now escalated, fueled by the lack of economic opportunities for unskilled or semi-skilled workers. Many Puerto Ricans immigrating to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) remained close to home, with the hope of returning once conditions allowed it. Others signed up with the HSPA for work on distant shores with little hope of ever returning to Puerto Rico.
To some observers, Puerto Rican emigration to Hawai'i seemed like a drastic step to take. As Camacho Souza (1984: 161) observes:
They were warned by newspaper writers of the day and others that they were going to a place that was over 2,000 miles off the coast of California; that the people were of Chinese, Portuguese, English, and American ancestry; that leprosy was rampant in Hawaii; that the sugar mills were equipped with the latest technological developments; that the workers were mainly Chinese and Japanese who could withstand the harsh climate and harsh labor; that these workers did not eat codfish, rice, and plantains, nor drink rum during working hours to replenish their energy as they did in Puerto Rico.
Notwithstanding these published warnings, many desperate yet adventurous souls chose to emigrate. Most of the workers were jibaros: white, mestizo, or mulatto campesinos from the highlands. They came principally from central and southwestern Puerto Rico, a coffee-growing area that had been devastated by the hurricane. Several sources provide the route that most of the eleven groups of immigrants followed: by boat from Puerto Rico to New Orleans, then by rail to San Francisco or Los Angeles, then again by boat to Honolulu. Once in Honolulu, they passed through quarantine and then were transported by interisland steamer to the plantation they were assigned to. The entire trip was planned to last about sixteen days but could take much longer. (4)
According to materials summarized in Carr (1989: 450-51), many of the Puerto Rican immigrants were assigned to work on the island of Hawai'i. (5) In June 1901, nineteen of twenty-seven sugar plantations on the Big Island included Puerto Ricans in their workforce. Others were assigned to O'ahu (with a Puerto Rican presence on six of the nine plantations by the same date), Maui and Kaua'i (where eight of eleven plantations also reported a Puerto Rican presence in June 1901). There they found work (either in the cane fields or in the milling operation), housing, and other basic necessities that varied in quality from plantation to plantation. However, they also encountered diverse ethnicities melded into a community of sorts as well as lunas (foremen) and labor management practices that were incomprehensible to them. Little wonder that the early Puerto Rican immigrant claimed to have found trabajo y tristeza in Hawai'i (Camacho Souza 1984: 167). The sadness must have derived, at least in part, from the language and culture shock they experienced.
These first-generation immigrants, from another island in another sea, continued to speak Spanish, prepare their ethnic dishes, and observe religious and cultural rituals that they deemed important. While each ethnic group was housed together, they were in daily contact with workers of other nationalities. In fact, they began to intermarry as early as 1902. A predictable consequence of their small numbers and their isolation from a larger, organized community of Spanish-speakers was language shift away from Spanish. Camacho Souza (1982: 14), describing the language situation for these first generation immigrants and their children, states: "The first generation spoke Spanish, then Pidgin English and some Hawaiian. The children learned Standard English in school. In the early 1900s some kept their Spanish alive by studying by themselves or being tutored."
Silva and Camacho Souza (1982: 86) provide further details on the efforts some first generation immigrants made to pass Spanish on to the rising generation. They observe:
There were sporadic efforts to preserve the Spanish language among the immigrants' children, often sponsored by the priests. A French priest formed a small class in Spanish in Halawa, North Kohala, Hawai'i, early in this century. Some parents arranged with those immigrants who were literate to teach the children, often paying with meals. Others ordered cartillas, elementary reading textbooks, from Texas in order that their children might learn Spanish, but instruction was never formalized and the language began to disappear among the second generation. Today the third generation play and dance to Latin music, but the words they sing must be memorized by rote.
If formal efforts to ensure intergenerational transmission of Spanish failed, there is some anecdotal evidence that informal, unstructured situations met with some success. Frequently it was the Spanish monolingual caretakers--parents and/or grandparents--that facilitated the second or third generation's acquisition and use of Spanish. Materials published by The Ethnic Studies Oral History Project sponsored by the University of Hawai'i at Manoa (ESOHP) as well as other oral history collections, such as Chapman Lebra (1992), provide insights into the process through their consultants' recollections. Alma, who was born in Puerto Rico and arrived in Maui at age two, makes reference to the role that birth order and the presence of older, monolingual relatives under the same roof played in her children learning Spanish: "I had nine children. The older ones spoke Spanish because my mother and father speak Spanish. So the older ones had to speak" (Chapman Lebra 1992: 217). Similarly, Celesta, born in Kaua'i in 1906, recollects her use of Spanish with her parents and in conjunction with holiday celebrations. She notes:
I remember [we] had an old Puerto Rican man who would come and serenade. Sing, sing Christmas songs, with guitar, sing Spanish songs. We spoke Spanish. We had to speak Spanish with the parents. My children understand a few words, but I couldn't make a long conversation to them. Always in English. (Chapman Lebra 1992: 219).
Tana Rios, born in 1914 on the island of Hawai'i but raised by her grandmother on Maui and O'ahu, says:
She [her grandmother] used to just talk Puerto Rican. She never used to talk English. She never went to the store and buy anything, because she didn't know how to ask for things in English. That's why I knew how to talk Spanish. I was the most that understood [sic]. That's what my grandma and my grandma's children, we learned to talk most Spanish. It she would talk, ask us something or say something, we answered her back in Spanish, not English. 'Cause we didn't know. (Chuckles) Everybody used to talk Spanish. I mean, we used to talk English among ourselves--you know, the young children--but to our grandparents, everything was Spanish. (ESOHP Vol. 3, 1984: 733).
Nonetheless, not many second-generation LR maintained fluency in their ancestral language and even fewer passed it on to the third generation. According to Solis (1995: 125), "most third- and fourth-generation Hawai'i Puerto Ricans can neither speak nor understand much Spanish." This statement is corroborated by census materials (Reinecke 1969: 124) that clearly demonstrate rapid language shift among the "Local Ricans" during the first three decades of the twentieth century. In 1910, only a few years after their arrival, 67.3% of the Puerto Rican population in the islands claimed they spoke no English. This figure is nearly halved in 1920, when 35.1% claimed no English proficiency; in 1930 (including those that arrived in 1921), the percentage dips to 21%. Thus, while the 2000 Census reports that 30,005 residents of the islands (2.5% of the total population) claim at least part Puerto Rican ancestry, hardly any of the descendants of the early immigrants speak Spanish today. (Of these, 63.3% reside on O'ahu; 20.8% on the island of Hawai'i; 10.9% on Moloka'i or Maui; and 5.1% on Kaua'i.)
3. Luis C: The Personal History of a First Generation LR
Luis P. C., born in Yauco, Puerto Rico, in 1887, was interviewed by Norma Carr on January 21, 1978, in Hilo, Hawai'i. (6) (Norma is also Puerto Rican and has resided on O'ahu since 1958.) His family consisted of his parents (his mother from Guanica and his father from Penuelas) and two siblings, a brother and sister. They, like many jibaros, were poor and illiterate. Luis recollects helping to harvest coffee at age ten. Residing in the area hardest hit by San Ciriaco, they suffered greatly from its effects.
Luis remembers that they were recruited to pick cotton in Hawai'i, not cut sugarcane. At age thirteen, he and his immediate family left from the port of Guanica on the ship California and followed the route previously described. (7) After their arrival, they were assigned to work on a plantation on the "Big Island" of Hawai'i. He completed one year of schooling and worked in pest control on the plantation; later (from age 15-22) he worked as a cowboy. His other plantation jobs included cultivating with a team of mules, transporting by oxcart, working in various capacities on the railroad, and cutting cane (where he rubbed shoulders with Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish, and Hawaiians). Off the plantation, he worked in a stable, in a hotel, as a guide on horseback to the volcanos, on a road crew, in a sawmill, and as milkman and rancher. He was married in 1922 to Dolores T. from Coamo, Puerto Rico, who arrived with one of two groups in 1921. He fathered a total of sixteen children. Luis retired in 1948 but continued to work on his own, and he was working at age ninety when the interview was conducted.
In addition to speaking Spanish, Luis claimed to have learned some Hawaiian, which he could still understand (most likely a pidginized form of the same) and Pidgin English (the intergroup mode of communication that was fashioned by the different nationalities or ethnicities on the plantations). The following excerpts from the interview illustrate Luis's linguistic abilities.
4. Four Selected Excerpts
The following excerpts were digitized from the original cassette tapes and then ripped and filtered. Materials used to prepare the commentary and analysis sections include Alvarez Nazario (1990), Santamaria (1992), Boyd-Bowman (2003), and Vaquero de Ramirez and Morales (2005) for Puerto Rican and Latin American Spanish; Reinecke (1969), Carr (1972), Simonson et al. (1981), Simonson et al. (1992), Sakoda and Siegel (2003), Tonouchi (2005), and Siegel (2008) for Hawai'i Pidgin/Creole English; and Elbert and Pukui (1979), Pukui and Elbert (1986), and Andrews (2003) for Hawaiian.
While Luis's linguistic production is characterized by a certain degree of attrition and shows the effects of his age (for example, he experiences problems with lexical access and retrieval on more than one occasion), these aspects will not be analyzed due to space constraints. Instead, we will focus on the varieties of English and Spanish he employs as well as bilingual/multilingual features that are evident. The linguistic analysis is strictly descriptive, and I make no effort here to discuss the theoretical ramifications of the data.
Overall, several dialect features are present in Luis's speech (these are not indicated in the orthographic transcription). With respect to his Spanish, Luis aspirates and deletes many instances of /s/, he variably employs a uvular trill [R] for the alveolar trill /r/, and he substitutes  for the tap or flap /r/ on a few occasions. Other features will be noted in the following sections.
Luis's English (acquired as a pidgin on the plantations) contains elements attributable to transfer from Spanish (some lax vowels or schwas not realized as such), but other features (no postvocalic /r/) are present in Hawai'i Creole English. Luis's production tends toward a mesolect, although he also exhibits a "deep" or basilect variety in some instances.
The first excerpt provides some details of the devastation caused by the hurricane, the journey, and some early experiences in the Hawaiian archipelago.
1 When I came Hawai'i I didn't know anything [pausa] mas que el castellano, ?eh? Me decian
2 lo que me dice [sic] por mal que me hablaran y yo decia si, si, si esta bueno, esta bueno.
3 ??? y [pausa] este vaquero es[ta haciendome] la barba, (risas) But me fui con los kanakas
4 [pausa] unos vecinos ...
5 and uh los kanakas vinieron, me venian a buscar o me iba con ellos y asi estuvimos como dos
6 anos. Luego la vieja dice, no, !vamonos que esa gente me come a mi hijo! (risas)
NC: Were you the only child?
7 No, it was me, my sister Lola, and my brother Emilio. But they all died, they was
8 younger than me, they all died ...
NC: Did, did your parents, did you children know why your parents decided to come to Hawai'i?
9 Well, to tell la verdad que estabamos desenmayados, la necesidad, se metio el ciclon que le
10 decian la tormenta batatera, que arranco batata [pausa] y everything al agua cayo. Estaba la
11 gente mirando y los americanos entraron a dar el socorro [pausa] y si no es por '1 americano,
12 que es America, estuvieranos muertos. Si yo digo que vine rico de Puerto Rico [pausa] no,
13 yo vine desmayado con una cota, que ni ni ni pantalones tenia, (risas) Yo no, yo no niego
14 mis culpas, ya know, yo no niego mis culpas, aunque nosotros nos negamos unos que venian
15 pagando pasaje y otros que venian otros que venian con con dinero que ehh ??? Hubo gente
16 que quiere pagar a los punos por por la sopa, que decian, en el barco ...
NC: Oh, usted recuerda ese incidente.
NC: ?Como fue que paso eso?
18 Lo que paso eso fue, que [pausa] que aquello se perdio el barco tres horas, perdio el rumbo
19 eh, then he had to circle around circle around 'til he get gets his way again see ...
Commentary and analysis
According to Carr (1972: 41), line 1 exhibits a feature common to the early plantation pidgin and early creole: the omission of the preposition to. However, the verb marking and negation in this sentence follow Standard English. Many of Luis's code- switches are flagged--set off by pauses or discourse markers, as is this one. Lines 2 and 3 refer to his first attempts to communicate with Native Hawaiians; apparently, he would respond positively to whatever they said even when it was incomprehensible. The Spanish expression hacerle la barba a alguien 'flatter, adulate; irritate, annoy' probably represents a negative reaction to this cowboy's yes-man attitude (Luis was working with cattle at this point).
The Hawaiian loanword kanaka in lines 4-5, literally 'man, human being,' follows Andrews's (2003: 253) observation that it is "sometimes used by foreigners [to mean] a Hawaiian, a native, in distinction from a foreigner." Luis consistently refers to his parents as viejos, a colloquial Americanism, as seen in line 6. With respect to the comment made in the same line, it may be that Luis's mother felt her son would lose his identity if he continued his close association with the Hawaiians and was probably suspicious of their motives.
Line 9 contains a code-switch in S-E parallel structure (between the verb and direct object) that foregrounds the material that follows. Desmayarse 'to faint or die of hunger' is Puerto Rican usage; Luis produces an apparent blend with the verb enmallar 'to become entangled in a net (literally, in the mesh),' which represents well the situation in which they found themselves, trapped and dying of hunger. Batatera, an adjectival/nominal form of batata 'sweet potato' also has the meaning 'poor, unfortunate; simpleton, fool,' perhaps deriving from the fact that this tuber is a staple of the jibaro diet (manifesting a common prejudice toward the uneducated, country folk). Luis's code-switch in line 10 is unflagged and quite effectively expresses the devastation caused by San Ciriaco-- everything was flooded or fell into the ocean.
Lines 11-12 exhibit features commonly found in Popular Spanish: the phonetically simplified article (only the /l/ is preserved for the singular el or la) and the first person plural verbal morpheme realized with an alveolar nasal (-nos) instead of the bilabial (-mos). Lines 12-13 contain an interesting parallelism in which rico is repeated in an ironic fashion that underlines the abject poverty in which Luis's family found themselves. Cota is another dialectalism similar to a camison 'nightshirt,' but it was not only for sleeping--in fact, it was probably similar to a hospital gown (potentially revealing and offering little warmth or comfort). Lines 14, 15, and 16 refer to the laborers' situation; some apparently paid their own way while the HSPA paid for others. There were reports of the Puerto Ricans refusing to eat the food on board either because it was unfamiliar to them or prepared with spoiled ingredients, or perhaps it refers to an instance where there was not enough food to go around. Luis's expression pagar a los punos is reminiscent of the standard expressions pegar/llegar a los punos 'to come to blows' and may represent an improvisation. Also, the use of the personal pronoun he to refer to the boat constitutes a case of gender transfer; rather than it, Luis employs the form that denotes masculine gender, which corresponds, of course, to el barco. Nonetheless, it is not entirely clear how the boat being lost in lines 18 and 19 relates to people fighting over soup.
This excerpt discusses punishments and incentives for good behavior, marriage, and certain aspects of machismo.
NC: Any other way to make you behave?
1 Well, some haoles [pause] they [pause] me hablaban y me aconsejaban, you know. But uh, me
2 sometimes it was good to have da whip, too. Cuando ellos no estaban era una cosa y cuando
3 estaban era otra ...
4 I think we all do that though.
NC: Yeah, yeah we do.
5 So ...
NC: Did you ever do anything that they thought was really bad?
6 Well ...
NC: That they were angry?
7 One time yo me lleve una muchacha de que era japonesa y y y kanaka mixtura.
8 Y mi madre no queria [pausa] que yo me casara con otra raza; yo tampoco queria casarme con
9 otra raza. But uh sucede que that happened and and I couldn't help, you see?
10 So, dice: tu no haces de [pausa] lo que yo te digo, tu quieres ser cabeciduru; pues, ven aca.
11 Me hincaba de rodillas y ella me daba cuatro cinco guantazos y me dejaba hincado de rodillas
12 de penitencia ...
NC: Pero, ?eso fue cuando se llevo a la muchacha?
13 Yeah, yo grande ya.
NC: ?Si? ?Cuantos anos tenia?
14 Dieciocho. Ysee, but yo nunca, nunca, nunca les hice sentir a mi familia, a mis viejos
15 ??? You see?
16 So, nos quedamos ya alli; lleve a la muchacha pa'tras.
NC: Ay, ?que que dijo la familia de ella cuando llevo a la muchacha pa'tras?
17 Oh, el hermano queria hasta pelear conmigo, but ??? Ella se quedo con ellos y yo me
18 vine para aca; el padre no no more ...
NC: ?Esa familia, ellos hablaban ingles, la la familia de la muchacha?
19 ... y ka kanakas eran.
NC: Si, ?Kanakas japonesas?
20 Kanakas japonesas.
NC: Si ...
21 Bueno pues, de alli salimos y yo le dije, me dice la vieja: tu si te vas a casar manana busca
22 una que no te haga traicion. Eh, they thought that everybody was the same that they hacian
23 traiciones. Y eso porque nos dice que ellos que estaban creyendo los chismes por mejor decir.
24 Si, so, you you know mamma, yo si me caso de manana, con obligaciones, la quiero de mi
25 raza: if I get fooled, I get fooled de mi raza. Porque es triste otra raza I get fooled with
26 somebody else.
NC: Entonces, ?su mama creia que de las otras razas las las muchachas salian traicioneras?
27 Uh, que no, que no eran puras.
28 But that's that's bad judgment.
NC: Yeah, y eso de ser pura, ?eso era importante, que la muchacha fuera pura?
29 Yeah, era importante.
NC: ?Era importante para usted tambien?
30 Yeah, so, yo espere hasta que vino una de mi raza.
Commentary and analysis
Lines 1-3 contain another Hawaiian loanword, baole 'foreigner; caucasian, white man,' two switches at clausal junctures, and the use of the pidgin/creole definite article da. Lines 7-9 introduce a theme that is elaborated on as the interview proceeds: attitudes toward interracial marriage. Interestingly enough, the woman that Luis became involved with was the offspring of mixed parentage, but neither mother nor son wanted such a marriage. Luis's use of mixtura in this sense finds parallels in Peruvian Spanish, for example, as early as 1639 (Boyd-Bowman 2003).
Interviews with Elizabeth Lindsey Kimura, a part-Hawaiian female, and Hisao Kimura, a Japanese male (Friends of the Future, Vol. 1, 2005: 200-204; 239-41) reveal that the Japanese and others on the Big Island also harbored similar prejudices against interracial marriage. Just prior to World War II, Hiso (as he was known) and Elizabeth were courting, and extreme measures were taken to discourage their relationship and prevent their marriage. His brothers, prominent members of the community (including the Parker Ranch manager), and the Japanese Association were all involved in these efforts.
The use of so (in lines 10 and 30) as a conjunction in bilingual S-E speech is not uncommon (see Lipski 2008: 235-39, for example), and Luis shows a predilection for the use of English functors or discourse markers in sections where Spanish predominates. Cabeciduru (icabeza dura > cabeciduro) 'stubborn; disobedient' provides an example of unstressed raising of the final vowel. The expression hincarse de rodillas in line 11 is not pleonastic; Corominas (1980: Vol. 3, 364) notes that it is the original expression (attested to as early as the 16th century) that has been shortened in parts of Latin America and Spain. Lines 11- 12 comprise an interesting example of the exercise of parental authority and religious practices.
The appearance of pa tras in line 16 (also echoed by the interviewer) provides yet another instance of a putative phrasal caique (copying the English structure of verb + the particle back, in this regard, see Lipski 1985 and 2008: 226-29; Smead 2000: 169-70, and Clegg 2000). Lines 21-23 demonstrate common bilingual strategies: the mother's injunction occurs in Spanish (which gives it a ring of authenticity) and Luis switches to English for his parenthetical observation on his mother's (biased) beliefs. The parallelism in lines 25 and 26 is an effective use of bilingual resources and highlights the existing prejudices. The remainder of this excerpt deals with the double standard that was in play: the woman was expected to remain pure (chaste), but the man was not saddled with the same requirement.
The third excerpt deals with work in general and the plantation specifically.
NC: Y este ?que clase de luna ... ?como eran los lunas?
1 Los lunas oh, no eran, no eran perros. Los lunas se llevaban con la gente. Habia uno que
2 decian Joe Roxa, pornigues; he was nice man, murio ahora no hace mucho. He was veiy nice
3 man; he had to help you, he help you; that was nice of him. El que era medio asi era americano
4 era medio repugnante; tenia que hacer lo que le decia.
NC: ?Cual era ese?
5 Uno que le decia Johnson.
NC: Yeah, este y uh, um, este ?que que otra clase de trabajo hizo usted en la plantacion?
6 Oh, si yo te voy a decir todo el trabajo que hice en la plantacion estoy aqui seis meses, (risas) NC: No, no, digame, digame (risas) si tenemos que estar seis meses estamos seis meses, digame.
7 Well, te voy a decir la primera. Estabamos recogiendo las vacas esas que yo le digo a
8 usted ... y de alli me soltaron y me echaron a las mulas. Trabajo con las mulas para hacer una
9 calavera; they call 'em calavera, you see? Con una mula, well, alli con el salario que ganaba
10 alli era setenta y cinco centavos [pausa]. De alli me sacaron y me echaron a trabajar con la
11 carreta de bueyes, me fui para la carreta de bueyes. Alli me pagaban un peso, ya yo ganaba
12 mas que los matrimonios, ?si?
13 Well, lo di ... me sacaron de alli y me echaron a trabajar en el tren. Yo fui a trabajar en
14 tren, the brakeman, si el tren. De tren me metieron a fireman, fogonero, estaba ay de fogonero
15 well, and esa vez tuvimos una porfia en el roundhouse y deje el trabajo.
NC: ?Quien, porfia con quien?
16 Con el maquinista.
17 Yeah, but yo deje el trabajo ... uh, el cabecillo decia que no, que no ??? [pausa] na' yo me voy y
18 deje el trabajo ... del trabajo. Y nos vinimos pa'qui pa' Pahala, [pausa] eso fue en Maui, ?si?
19 Nos vinimos aqui a Pahala; en Pahala me fui a pizcar cana. Commentary and analysis
The Hawaiian loanword luna 'foreman, boss' in the interviewer's question and appearing in Une 1 is intimately related to plantation life. Luis's recollection clashes somewhat with the stereotype that the lunas were always harsh taskmasters or slave drivers. Lines 2-5 follow Luis's previously established pattern for code-switching: parenthetical evaluative comments are rendered in the other language. Luis's recounting of his plantation jobs in lines 7-15 gives some idea of the operations in the sugarcane fields. He begins with his stint as a cowboy (line 7), followed by his working with mules to cultivate the fields. Line 9 contains the Anglicism calavera 'cultivator' (Santamaria 1992:184) as well as the pidgin/creole third-person object pronoun 'em [am], invariable for number. The oxcarts referred to in lines 11-12 transported the cut cane to the mill. Luis's reference to being paid a peso in line 12 means, of course, a dollar; as he notes, it was considerably more than the average worker or even a married couple could make in a day.
Freight trains transported the cargo (sugar/sugar products) to locations where they could be shipped when distances rendered the oxcart impracticable. As lines 13- 18 narrate, Luis worked as a brakeman and fireman on Maui until he got into a quarrel with the engineer in the roundhouse (the place where the locomotives were kept). Lines 17-19 include the regularized cabecillo for cabecilla 'gang leader or boss,' popular apocopated forms (na', pa'), as well as popular reflexive forms irse and venirse (usually nonreflexive in Standard Spanish when a destination is specified).
The final excerpt examines some of the business ventures Luis undertook off the plantation. While he uses much less Spanish, several creole/pidgin features or structures are strikingly evident. These will be discussed below.
NC: But how did you save enough, I mean even though everything was cheap?
1 Oh yeah, you save plenty if you, if you if you look at it, me I, I no sleep. I used to come home,
2 work and if I see something cheap I go ahead and buy 'em. You know me, I sell 'em up a little
3 bit higher, and make few dollars on 'em. See, but then I'm in a negocio, negociante, ?si?
4 ... horses and all see? And uh, I used to buy cows and throw them in there. I was sometime, I
5 go back there I find three four calves; vacas parian. Plus I had my milking cows at home.
NC: Did you sell milk?
6 I used to. In those days cheap, seventy-five cents a month for one quart milk a day. And uh,
7 that's how I used to make my living. I used to make better outside with what I do outside than
8 my plantation wages. And I was making nineteen dollars in all plantation; then when they
9 come to sell, to sell I wen buy here. See those days here four and a half acres, I only paid eight
10 hundred dollars, eight forty-nine fifty [$849.50],
NC: What year was that?
11 Forty ... I think forty  I think it was, because when the war wen break out, I was eating
12 fruits from my place already, see?
13 And I had this all in garden vegetables. And I had sugarcane over there, those empty lots
14 over there, I had sugarcane. Then when the union came in, the price didn't go too high,
15 small farmers look at make money, always go in the hole, see? 'Cause you have to work for
16 the union, you have to work for the plantation, for the government, and for yourseli. Si sobra,
17 I get; si no sobra I get nothing, I get to pay the bill though. You see, so I regret ... que ... I
18 went farming, I went on a, vegetables. Se llego la epoca que los llevabamos aqui a Hilo; we
19 stay too full, we stay ... too full; I said I quit.
NC: You mean the vegetables?
20 The vegetables.
NC: They wouldn't sell your vegetables?
21 No, they said they was too full.
NC: Yeah, but from whom did they buy their vegetables to sell in the store?
22 For their own, for their own people Japanese; you see, their own people, but for you nomo,
23 que era algo, de otra raza, ?si?
24 So I quit, I say ...
Commentary and analysis
Line 1 includes an English clause I no sleep (lacking ?fo-support in the negation, but typical of pidgin/creole varieties). The use of plenty (plenny, planny) (Sakoda and Siegel 2003: 114), the invariable object pronoun 'em (Sakoda and Siegel 2003: 33) in lines 2-3, the emphatic negation no more (or nomo) in line 22 and excerpt #2, line 18 (Sakoda and Siegel 2003: 83-84) are also common features of these varieties.
Two pidgin/creole markers present in this excerpt are the particle wen (past tense) in lines 9 and 11 (Sakoda and Siegel 2003: 40) and the particle stay (or stei) with a copula/locative function in lines 18-19 (Siegel 2008: 93-95). Thus, when the war [WWII] wen break out corresponds to Standard English when the war broke out. Stei is thought to be modeled on the Portuguese estar which can function as a locative, a copulative, or as an element in the progressive construction (similar to English to be). Luis appears to quote the Japanese shopkeepers in We stay too full (meaning we already have enough vegetables to sell). Another distinct possibility that has not yet been discussed nor explored in the literature is that stei is modeled on (calqued from) the Portuguese ficar, which may substitute for estar and whose core meaning may be translated as 'stay or remain.'
The use of outside in line 7 parallels the term inside (Sakoda and Siegel 2003: 45), which sometimes replaces in. Luis's usage creates a distinction between what he earned on the plantation and what he could earn on his own.
A further example of Luis's bilingual dexterity is found in lines 16-17. This parallelism contrasts emphatically the opposing potential results of any business venture: one only profits if any money is left over after all obligations have been met. Here, of course, Luis laments the numerous deductions from his pay.
The incident related in lines 17-23 is clarified to some extent in an interview with Yoshio Hara, a man of Japanese extraction residing in Waimea, Hawai'i (Friends of the Future, Vol. 1, 2005: 71-72). In the months preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, he became a farmer and joined the cooperative, but he initially experienced difficulties selling his produce in Hilo and had to plow under some of his crop. After the United States became involved in World War II and the government took over the cooperative, he was able to sell all he could grow. It is apparent that Luis's experience was not unique and may not have been entirely racially motivated.
This article has introduced a little known case of Spanish in the United States, the Local (Puerto) Ricans. Their history provides insights into their general pattern of rapid language shift and renders the bilingual language provided by first-generation immigrants, like Luis P. C., a treasure trove of data. Like many smaller immigrant groups, with few exceptions, the Spanish language was not transmitted to the second and third generations of LR, although they have maintained certain cultural and religious practices. The unique mixture of jibaro Spanish and Hawaiian English has received attention here and merits further investigation. Lo jibaro is evident in Luis's oral production (not well represented in the excerpts themselves) and the use of certain regional or archaic expressions. Bilingual (or multilingual) elements found in the excerpts presented here include loanwords and caiques from Hawaiian and English, effective code-switches meant to emphasize, contrast, or communicate more specific meanings, and particles and expressions unique to Hawai'i Creole English. Further analyses remain to be done, and the linguistic production of other first- generation LR will be brought to light, thanks in large part to the recordings made by Norma Carr.
Robert N. Smead
BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY *
* My heartfelt thanks to the Spanish and Portuguese Department, the College of Humanities, and the Latin American Center at Brigham Young University that provided monetary support for this research. A special thanks to the many individuals who aided in the research process, in particular to Norma Carr, who graciously made available her recordings and with whom I have consulted on numerous occasions, to Bryan Clayton, an MA student who transcribed or summarized several LR interviews, and to Douglas Partridge, an undergraduate in Spanish, who helped prepare the final version for publication.
(1) Quimper and Jose Esteban Martinez, a Spanish captain who had at least one Hawaiian crewman, also collected early word lists for Hawaiian. Schutz (1994: 37) references three Hawaiian word lists collected by Spanish-speakers. One list was prefaced by a three-page letter originating in Mexico City, signed by Juan Eugenio Santeliz es Pablo [sic?] and dated 16 March 1791. Quimper collected his word list in the same year (the previous list may have originated on his voyage); Martinez composed his in 1789.
(2) While originally a pidgin used for communication among different ethnic groups on the sugar plantations, creolists and other linguists agree that it is a creole language as spoken today, having been acquired as a first language principally by second generation immigrants. Nonetheless, the term "pidgin" continues to be used colloquially and in the popular press (see bibliography for examples).
(3) The most complete and detailed study of the LR is Carr (1989). Other sources I consulted for this section include Rosario Natal (2001), Soli's (1995), Silva and Camacho Souza (1982), and Camacho Souza (1984). Blase (originally San Blasia) Camacho Souza's father was one of the first immigrants, and her mother, also of Puerto Rican ancestry, was born in the islands the same year her father arrived.
(4) Eleven groups of immigrants left their homeland for the Hawaiian Islands in 1900-1901. The total of about 5,200 men, women, and children is commonly cited. Rosario Natal (2001: 78) revises that figure upward to 6,000. Technically speaking, the LR were not contract laborers, but they were treated as such. Immigration from Puerto Rico to Hawai'i briefly resumed in 1921 when an additional two groups totaling 683 men, women, and children were brought via the Panama Canal. See Carr (1989) for additional details on these 13 groups of immigrants.
(5) Rosario Natal (2001: 113) in endnote 5 erroneously identifies Kaua'i as the island to which a majority of the Puerto Ricans were probably assigned. It is much too small to support the existence of twenty-five plantations (his count). It is likely that he has confused Kaua'i with Hawai'i (also known as the "Big Island").
(6) Norma Carr (personal communication) has informed me that no consultant was offered or requested anonymity. Indeed, many of these same LR appear fully identified in other sources, for example, Hernandez and Noboa (1988). However, in order to avoid any possible repercussions or invasion of privacy, I have utilized only the initials of Luis's two surnames. Also, it should be noted that the instruments designed to elicit the oral history were carefully and professionally designed and copies are included in Carr (1989: 459-62; 467-71).
(7) According to Carr (1989: 90-91), groups five, six, and seven left from Guanica on the California in 1901. It is very likely that Luis and his family made the trip with one of those groups. However, Luis's recollection that they were forty days on the water and that the passengers numbered just over 300 does not match any of the information Carr provides. It is possible, of course, that the entire trip with a wait in Guanica and the quarantine in Honolulu took that long. The only group that numbered about 300, however, was the last one, group eleven, which left from Mayaguez.
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|Author:||Smead, Robert N.|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2012|
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