HAWAI‘I Magazine reader Verlin Bulmahn e-mailed us with a question about da kine:
Based on your Web article (and watching his TV show), I know Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and Beth Chapman’s business is named Da Kine Bail Bonds. But even using Internet-based Hawaiian-English dictionaries, I cannot find the English translation for the word “kine.”
I believe "da" is the equivalent of “the.” I was guessing "kine" might be Hawaiian for "dog" or "man." But the dictionaries indicate I am wrong. Can you answer this question for me?
You ask, we answer.
We can see why this is confusing. Da kine is not Hawaiian. It’s a widely used expression in Hawaii pidgin English.
Roughly translated, it means “the kind,” similar to the pidgin expression any kine, which itself means "any kind." But da kine’s meaning is more complex.
You can use it when you can’t think of a word—sort of like the English words “thingie” or “whatchamacallit.” (“I can’t find da kine.”)
But da kine can also be an adjective (as in Da Kine Bail Bonds). It can refer to a person as well as a thing (Are you bringing da kine to the party?). And it can be a sometimes abstract concept (I wish he didn’t act so da kine).
Da kine sounds like the speaker can’t think of a word. But, really, it implies that the speaker and the listener understand each other so well there’s no need for unnecessary da kine words.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter" airs on cable channel A&E.
Photos: Dawn Sakamoto (top), A&E (bottom)