H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
home. Maurice P. Dunlap91 offers the following specimen of a conversation between two Americans long resident in Manila:
Porque were you hablaing with ese senorita?
She wanted a job as lavandera.
Ten cents, conant, a piece, so I told her no kerry.
Have you had chow? Well, spera, till I sign this chit and Ill take a paseo with you.
Here we have an example of Philippine American that shows all the tendencies of American Yiddish. It retains the general forms of American, but in the short conversation, embracing but 41 different words, there are eight loan-words from the Spanish (hola, amigo, porque, ese, senorita, lavandera, cuanto and paseo), two Spanish locutions in a debased form (spera for espera and no kerry for no quiero), two loan-words from the Tagalog (komusta and kayo),92 two from Pidgin English (chow andchit), one Philippine-American localism (conant), and a Spanish verb with an English inflection (hablaing).
The American dialect developed in Hawaii is thus described by a writer in the Christian Science Monitor:93
Honolulu, despite the score or more of races which intermingle in absolute harmony, is a strictly American community. English is the language which predominates; and yet there are perhaps a hundred or more Hawaiian words which are used by everyone, almost exclusively, in preference to those English words of similar meaning.
Are you pau? asks the American housekeeper of her Japanese yard man.
All pau, he responds.
The housekeeper has asked if the yard man is through. He has replied that he is. She would not think of asking, Are you through?Paupronounced powas used in Honolulu conveys just as much meaning to the Honolulan as the English94 word through. It is one of the commonest of the Hawaiian words used today.
In Honolulu one does not say the northwest corner of Fort and Hotel Streets.
Note 91. What Americans Talk in the Philippines, American Review of Reviews, Aug., 1913. [back]
Note 92. But here komusta may be borrowed from the Spanish como está (= how are you?). [back]
Note 93. Unluckily, I have been unable to determine the writers name or the date. [back]
Note 94. That is, American; through, in this sense, is seldom used by the English. [back]