Seminar in Rhetoric

Eng709, Sec. (1) Seminar in Rhetoric

Georganne Nordstrom

Monday 6:00-8:30

Spring 2019


Languaging in Hawaiʻi: Language, Literacy & the Politics of Place

The way we use language and the languages we use have real, tangible consequences, both reifying hierarchical structures and reaffirming cultural identity. Unquestionably, in the US, English (in its many forms, as there is no actual standard) has dominated and subjugated other languages and their speakers. In recent years, concepts of languaging, multi/translingualism, and multiliteracies have gained traction and been used to flatten the dominance of English, but the entrenched power dynamics tied to language use in the US are evident in ongoing efforts to make English the national language and in the ways language practices are too often tied to social and economic mobility. Our work in this course will be to examine the influence of language and literacy practices socially, politically, and culturally on communities and individuals. To do this, we will focus on language and literacy practices as they have evolved in Hawaiʻi and situate these practices in theoretical discussions on the politics of language and literacy practices by scholars such as Gloria Anzaldua, Kenneth Burke, Suresh Canagarajah, Brian Street, Vershawn Ashanti Young.


We will begin the course with texts that feature Kanaka Maoli language practices and linguistic repertoires, such as Queen Liliuʻokalani’s (1898, reprinted 2013) autobiography and scholarly works by hoʻomanawanui (2015), McDougall (2016), and Silva (2004). Linguistics scholarship (Bickerton & Wilson, 1987; Day, 1987) will inform our examinations of the early “maritime” Pidgin that evolved during the whaling period. We will then trace the complex relationship between ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and English as it evolved over the next century, including practices enacted to disenfranchise Kanaka Maoli in public discourse following the 1820 arrival of missionaries, and juxtapose colonizer-produced treatise on education during the 19th C, such as An Historical Sketch of Education in the Hawaiian Islands (Alexander, 1888), with more recent representations by Kanaka Maoli, such as Lucas’s (2000) “E ola mau Kakou i ka ‘Ōlelo Makuahine: Hawaiian Language Policy and the Courts.” Any conversation about language in Hawaiʻi necessitates a discussion of Pidgin, or Hawaiʻi Creole English. We will thus compare and interrogate attitudes about ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, “Standard” English, and Pidgin that have been promoted and perpetuated to stratify society, oppress certain ethic groups, and further colonizing efforts by looking at work by socio-linguistic scholars such as Kawamoto (1993) and Sato (1985; 1991), as well as texts written in Pidgin (i.e., Kanae, 2003). We will examine code-switching and code-meshing as linguistic resources, and throughout the course return to the question of how and when language/s have been/are used as a means of resistance in Hawaiʻi. For the final project, students will be asked to conduct fieldwork by interviewing and/or observing speakers in a community of their choice and situate their observations and analysis within and against the theories and treatise on language and literacy practices.


Course Goals:

Demonstrate an understanding of how language and literacy practices are/can be rhetoricized socially, politically, and culturally.


Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of the linguistic and social relationships between ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, “Standard” English, and Pidgin and the corresponding effects in different communities.


Design and conduct (both theoretical and empirical) a research project to investigate language use and literacy practices in a specific community and situate findings within disciplinary conversations.



Responses to weekly readings (15%)

Write Discussion Questions & Facilitate Class Discussion (15%)

Design a Research Proposal for a community-based project (30%)

Conduct a Pilot Study (following your Research Design) in a specific Language Community (this project will be scaffolded and consist of several elements) (40%)



(this list is tentative, and we will read only selections from many of the books on the following list):

Alexander, W. D. & Atkinson, A. T. (1888).  An historical sketch of education in the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu, HI: Board of Education.

Bickerton, D. & Wilson, W. H. (1987). Pidgin Hawaiian. In E. G. Gilbert’s (Ed.), Pidgin and creole languages: Essays in memory of John E. Reinecke, (pp. 61-76). Honolulu, HI: UH Press.

Burke, K. (1966). Identification and ʻConsubstantiality.’ Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley, CA: UC Press.

Burke, K. (1966). Terministic screens. Language as symbolic action. Berkeley, CA: UC Press.

Canagarajah, S. (2011). Codemeshing in academic writing: Identifying teachable strategies of translanguaging.” Modern Language Journal, 95(3), 401–417.

Day, R. (1987). Early pidginization in Hawaiʻi. In E. G. Gilbert’s (Ed.), Pidgin and creole languages: Essays in memory of John E. Reinecke, (pp. 163-176). Honolulu, HI: UH Press.

Fujikane C. & Okamura, J. Y. (Eds). (2008). Asian settler colonialism: From local governance to the habits of everyday life in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu, HI: UH Press.

Gee, James. (2006). What is literacy. Relations, locations, and positions: Composition theory for writing teachers. Urbana, Ill: NCTE.

Green, N. (2016). The re-education of Neisha-Anne Greene: A close looks at the damaging effects of “a standard approach,” the benefits of code-meshing, and the role allies play in this work. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, 14(1).

hoʻomanawanui, k. (2015). Ka liu o ka paʻakai (Well-seasoned with Salt): Recognizing literary devices, rhetorical strategies, and cultural aesthetics in Kanaka Maoli literature. In J. Carroll, B. N. McDougall, and G. Nordstrom, (Eds.) Huihui: Navigating art and literature in the Pacific (pp. 247-265). Honolulu, HI: UH Press.

Horner, B., Lu, M., Royster, J. J., Trimbur, J. (2011). Opinion: Language difference in writing: Toward a translingual approach. College English, 73(3), 303–321.

Kanae, L. (2003). Sista tongue. Honolulu, HI: Tinfish Press.

Kawamoto, K. (1993). Hegemony and language politics in Hawaiʻi. World Englishes, 12(2), 193-207.

Kimura, L. (1983). Native Hawaiian culture. Report on the culture, needs, and concerns of Native Hawaiians. Honolulu, HI: Native Hawaiian Study Commission, 173-224.

Liliuʻokalani. (2013). Hawaiʻiʼs story by Hawaiʻiʼs queen. Honolulu, HI: Hui Hanai.

Lyons, S. R. (2002). Rhetorical sovereignty: What do American Indians want from writing? College Composition and Communication, 51(3), 447-468.

Lucas, P. F. N. (2000). E ola mau kakou I ka ʻolelo makuahine: Hawaiian language policy and the courts. The Hawaiian Journal of History, (34), 1-28.

McDougall, B. N. (2016). Finding meaning: Kaona and contemporary Hawaiian literature. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Reinecke, J. (1964). Language and dialect in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu, HI: UH Press.

Sato, C. (1985). Linguistic inequality in Hawaiʻi: The post-creole dilemma. In N. Woltson and J. Manes (Eds.), Language of inequality (pp. 255-272). Berlin, Germany: Mouton.

Silva, N. K. (2004). Aloha betrayed: Native Hawaiian resistance to American colonialism. Durham. Il: Duke UP.

Street, B. (2006). What’s “new” in new literacy studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice. Relations, locations, and positions: Composition theory for writing teachers. Urbana, Ill: NCTE.

Tanouchi, L. (2004). Da state of Pidgin address. College English 67(1), 75-82.

Wilson, W. & Kamano, K. (2008). For the interests of Hawaiians themselves: Reclaiming the benefits of Hawaiian-medium Education. Hulili: Multidisciplinary research on Hawaiian well-being, 3(1), 153-178.

Young, V. A. (2013) Keep code-meshing. In S. Canagarajah (Ed.), Literacy as translingual practice: Between communities and classrooms (pp. 139-140). New York, NY: Routledge.

Young, V. A., Barrett, R., Young-Rivera, Y., & Lovejoy, K.B. (2014). Other people’s English: Code-meshing, code-switching, and African American literacy. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Young V. A. & Martinez, A. Y. (Eds.) (2011). Code-meshing as world English: Pedagogy, policy, performance. Urbana, Il.: NCTE.