Sista Tongue

Lisa Linn Kanae was born and raised on O‘ahu and has lived in Waikiki ahapua‘a for as long as she can remember. When she's not teaching composition and literature at Kapi‘olani Community College, she's either writing, reading, Netflixing or wandering. She is the author of the short story collection Islands Linked by Ocean and has had the honor of being awarded the 2010 Cades Emerging Writer Award for Literature.


Sista Tongue
By Lisa Linn Kanae • First Edition 2001 • Second Edition 2008 • $16
Design by Kristin Lipman


A wonderful meditation on language, “handicap,” and the treatment of pidgin speakers in Hawai‘i, Sista Tongue remains Tinfish Press’s all-time best-selling book.

from Sista Tongue:

At firs my madda was supa worried dat Harold-Boy neva start talking da same time as me and my cousin dem.  Now she stay mo worried, because he no can talk like everybody else.  But, not like everybody in dis house talk good English.  My madda, she every time tell me,

“you not going get one good job if you no can talk good English. People going tink you stupid.”


Sista Tongue has been used as required reading at Willamette College, Lewis and Clark, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, University of Minnesota, University of Oregon, and University of Texas.

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