This dissertation offers a comparative study of speech melodies of Hawaiian and Hawaiʻi Creole English (HCE), two languages spoken in the Hawaiian Islands. HCE, which is an English lexified creole, developed from many languages such as Chinese, Portuguese, and Hawaiian. This research proposes that Hawaiian intonation patterns remained even after relexification from a Hawaiian based pidgin to an English lexified creole. This comparative study of speech melodies of Hawaiian and HCE provides documentation of falling yes/no question intonation found in both languages, as well as for other utterance types, i.e. statements, wh-questions, and listing/continuation. Patterns emerged from the major utterance types revealing insights into creole genesis from substrate influence, and language universals and variation.
Of the utterance types examined, the most striking example is that of falling yes/no question intonation, present in both languages. This type of falling intonation is quite rare amongst the world’s languages, which strengthens the hypothesis I claim, that HCE received intonation patterns from Hawaiian. These findings also have implications for creole genesis as well as for language typology research for question intonation as well as universals and sociolinguistics. With regard to creole genesis, the evidence provided supporting Hawaiian as a contributing language strengthens substrate arguments and weakens a universalist view, specifically that of the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis (LBH). Also, the results show a typology of question intonation that makes use of a more latitudinal categorical distinction rather than the commonly used right-edge question intonation, which changes the perspective on language universals and variation, as well as biological codes. This dissertation also addresses language identity and how these two languages interact in the same linguistic landscape in Hawaiʻi . While providing a much-needed inventory of intonation for all utterance types in Hawaiian and HCE, this research project also addresses broader questions and linguistic topics such as creole genesis, language typology, universals, and sociolinguistics.