Spanish, loanword, loanblend, creole language, Hawai'i, O'ahu


Hawai'i Creole English (HCE) has been the object of much linguistic research. Virtually all researchers agree that its principal lexical sources include English, Hawaiian and Japanese. Other languages, such as Chinese and Portuguese, have also contributed. To date, however, few publications have considered Spanish as an important lexical source for HCE. The research reported herein attempts to remedy that oversight by considering ten putative loanwords and loanblends thought to derive from Spanish. These include ethnic markers associated with and local dishes brought by Filipino and Puerto Ricans immigrants in the early twentieth century. By documenting cultural traditions and consulting authoritative, I conclude that eight of the ten items reported on are unquestionably of Spanish language origin. By also employing survey methodology, I observe that five of the ten terms are used or recognized by at least half of my thirty-three respondents, attesting to their vitality in HCE.

Original Publication Citation

“On Spanish Loanwords and Loanblends in Hawaiʻi Creole English.” Pacific Studies. Vol. 36, No. 3 (December, 2013, published in 2014), 261-288.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Island Studies, BYUH. In Association with Polynesian Cultural Center






Spanish and Portuguese

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor