If you’ve grown up or have lived in the islands, chances are, you’ve encountered, in some way, shape or form, Pidgin English.
For many, it’s the only form of language they know. For some, it’s slang at best. But for local entrepreneur, radio personality and comedian Lanai Tabura, Pidgin English is a part of Hawaii’s culture and heritage, so he decided to package his knowledge of the language and build a new iPhone app around it.
Boasting a clean and simple user interface with an alphabetized list of words and phrases, users can tap a word to view its definition. Each definition includes sample usage in the form of a sentence to give you a better scope of the word or phrase.
“Pidgin 101″ is the newest way for iPhone users (Android coming soon) to translate some of the most popular Pidgin words and phrases we all grew up with.
What made you decide to design/develop the Pidgin 101 app?
I heard there are classes you can take in other states to learn Pidgin and also the fact that my Mainland friends were so intrigued by our language and culture. It’s funny how the word “NOT” became famous because Andy Bumatai showed Dana Carvey during “Wayne’s World” what it meant and so many other situations on a national level. We all came from some line or lineage of plantation living, and a lot of the younger generation don’t know why we use the words we do. Part of my mission is to share our unique culture.
Did you work with a local designer or developer to build the app? How long did it take?
It took me about three to four months to sit and write, and I found these guys through a friend at the Manoa Tech Center. Their company is called IKAYZO. Some great guys that took them four to five days to build out. Of course Vol. 2 and Vol 3. are in the works.
How did you come up with the list of words for the Pidgin app? Are you taking suggestions from outside audiences?
I came up with the list through my everyday life growing up. There are a lot of “old school” Pidgin words that are not in Vol. 1, but will be in Vol 2. There are also a few new ones as well. It’s funny to see people use it and say things like, “Oh man my dad or grandfather use to use that all the time, I didn’t know it meant that.”
Any interesting stories or technical challenges while building the app?
I think the toughest part was spelling. I already can’t spell and trying to put out correct spelling and dictionary form was a challenge for me. The guys at IKAYAZO did a great job at cleaning it up.
What are your future plans to continue to build on the app? Any neat integration into existing products or websites?
The website is almost done. Vol. 2 is done, and I just started working on Vol 3. I haven’t started really marketing it yet, and that will be the fun part. Please pass it on to all your Mainland friends and show the world what a unique place we live in.
Interesting fact: I got emails from two different Hollywood producers and a writer. They all bought the app and are interested in using it on a bigger scale.
If you would like to buy Pidgin 101, download it for 99 cents on the App store and tell us what you think. I found some real gems in there. but I think Cat‘s suggestion of adding “guudjagadja” to Vol. 2 is on point!