Language Story

I grew up in a small plantation town on the island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. A fourth generation Japanese-American, I spent my early childhood speaking mostly English and Hawaiʻi Creole while being exposed to a fair amount of spoken Japanese through the TV programs and radio that my grandparents watched and listened. After starting school I realized that the English my mother used most of the time, made me ostracized at school and that if I wanted to blend in I needed to speak more of the Hawaiʻi Creole my father favored. At the same time, I learned from the reactions of my teachers that English was more highly prized and that the creole was frowned upon by people in authority. I then avoided using the creole for many years while working in white collar job until starting graduate school where while working for the Charlene Sato Center for Pidgin, Creole and Dialect Studies I learned to be proud of my creole heritage. I continue to be a proud user of Hawaiʻi Creole and often teach my students about it in my sociolinguistics courses.

Gavin Furukawa is an Assistant Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. He received his PhD in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His main areas of research are language ideology, mass-mediated discourse, and gendered language use in English, Hawaiʻi Creole, and Japanese. Gavin specializes in teaching courses on general English skills, English composition, global Englishes, and discourse analysis.