Hawaiian language (Hawaiian: Ōlelo Hawai
i) is a Polynesian language
that takes its name from Hawai i, the largest
island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed.
along with English, is an official
language of the state of
Hawaii. King Kamehameha
established the first Hawaiian-language constitution
in 1839 and 1840.
For various reasons, the number of native
of Hawaiian gradually decreased during the period from
the 1830s to the 1950s. Hawaiian was essentially displaced by
English on six of the seven inhabited islands. As of 2000, native
speakers of Hawaiian amount to under 0.1% of the statewide
population. Linguists are worried about the fate of this and other
Nevertheless, from about 1949 to the present, there has been a
gradual increase in attention to, and promotion of, the language.
Public Hawaiian-language immersion pre-schools called Pūnana Leo
were started in 1984; other
immersion schools followed soon after. The first students to start
in immersion pre-school have now graduated from college and many
are fluent Hawaiian speakers.
A creole language spoken in Hawai i is technically called "Hawaii Creole English
"HCE". It developed from pidgin
is often called simply "Pidgin". It should not be mistaken for the
Hawaiian language nor for a dialect of English.
There are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, plus the
okina which is considered a consonant.
The ISO language code
for Hawaiian is
The Hawaiian language takes its name from the largest island, Hawai
i (Hawai i
in the Hawaiian language), in the tropical
North Pacific archipelago where it developed, originally from a
Polynesian language of the South Pacific, most likely Marquesan or
Tahitian. The island name was first written in english, in 1778 by
British explorer James Cook
and his crew
members. They wrote it as "Owhyhee" or "Owhyee". Explorers Mortimer
(1791) and Otto von Kotzebue
(1821) used that spelling.
The initial "O" in the name is a reflection of the fact that unique
identity is predicated in Hawaiian by using a copula form,
, immediately before a proper noun. Thus, in Hawaiian,
the name of the island is expressed by saying O Hawai i
which means "[This] is Hawai i." Note that the Cook expedition also
wrote "Otaheite" rather than "Tahiti."
The spelling "why" in the name reflects the pronunciation of
in 18th century English (still in active use
in parts of the
pronounced . The spelling "hee" or "ee" in the name represents the
sounds , , or .
Putting the parts together, O-why-hee
reflects , a
reasonable approximation of the native pronunciation, .
American missionaries bound for Hawai i used the phrases "Owhihe
Language" and "Owhyhee language", in Boston prior to their
departure in October 1819 and during their five-month voyage to
Hawai'i. They still used such phrases as late as February 1822.
However, by July 1823, they had begun using the phrase "Hawaiian
In Hawaiian, Ōlelo Hawai i
means "Hawaiian language", as
adjectives follow nouns.
Family and origin
Hawaiian is a Polynesian member of the Austronesian language family
closely related to other Polynesian
languages (e.g., Marquesan,
Tahitian, Maori, Rapa
Nui (the language of Easter Island), Samoan), and
distantly related to Fijian and more
distantly to Malay, Indonesian, Malagasy, and the indigenous languages of
the Philippines (e.g., Pangasinan, Tagalog, Ilokano, Visayan) and Taiwan (e.g., Paiwan, Rukai,
Thao, Babuza, Saaroa, Yami).
The Marquesans colonized the archipelago in roughly 300 AD followed
by another wave of Tahitian immigrants around 1000 AD. Their
languages, over time, became the Hawaiian language.
Continuing back in time, and back up the Austronesian family tree,
the language was various stages of Proto-Polynesian. Going much
further back in history, the language is that of the Philippine
Islands. The linguistic evidence, with the
methodologies of lexicostatistics and comparative reconstruction
applied, takes the language back to Proto Austronesian, spoken in
Taiwan (see next
In recognizing the "Austric dispersal", states
that Reid "firmly established" a genetic relationship between the
Austronesian family and the Austroasiatic family, and that linguist
proposed that the
Austronesian people migrated from continental Asia
to Taiwan around 4000 BC.
Methods of proving Hawaiian's family relationships
The genetic history of the Hawaiian language is demonstrated
primarily through the application of lexicostatistics, and the
is a way of
quantifying an approximate evaluation of the degree to which any
given languages are genetically related to one another. It is
mainly based on determining the number of cognates
(genetically shared words) that the
languages have in a fixed set of vocabulary items which are nearly
universal among all languages. The so-called "basic vocabulary" (or
) amounts to about 200
words, having meanings such as "eye", "hair", "blood", "water", and
"and." The measurement of a genetic relationship is expressed as a
percentage. For example, Hawaiian and English have 0 cognates in
the 200-word list, so they are 0% genetically related. By contrast,
Hawaiian and Tahitian have about 152 cognates in the list, so they
are estimated as being 76% genetically related, according to the
The comparative method
technique developed by linguists to determine whether or not two or
more languages are genetically related, and if they are, the
historical nature of the relationships. For a given meaning, the
words of the languages are compared.Linguists observe:
- identical sounds,
- similar sounds, and
- dissimilar sounds, in corresponding positions in the words
In this method, the definition of "identical" is reasonably clear,
but those of "similar" and "dissimilar" are based on phonological
criteria which require professional training to fully understand,
and which can vary in the contexts of different languages.
Basically, a sound's phonetic manner and place of articulation, and
its phonological features
the main factors considered in investigating its status as
"similar" or "dissimilar" to other sounds in a particular context.
When linguists find in compared languages that compared words of
the same or similar meaning contain sounds which correspond to one
another, and find that these same sound correspondence
regularly in most, or in many, of the comparable words of the
languages, then the usual conclusion is that the languages are
In both methods, it is very important to exclude loan words
from the analysis.
The following table, Decimal Numbers, provides a limited data set
for ten meanings. The Proto-Austronesian
are from . The asterisk (*) is used to show that these are
hypothetical, reconstructed forms. The Tagalog forms are from , the
Tongan from , and the Hawaiian from . In the table, the year date
of the modern forms is rounded off to CE 2000 to emphasize the
6000-year time lapse since the PAN era.
Note 1. For the number "10", the Tongan form in the table is part
of the word ('ten'). The Hawaiian form is part of the word ('ten
days'), however the more common form used in counting and
quantifying is , a different root.
Application of the lexicostatistical method to the data in the
table will show the four languages to be related to one another,
with Tagalog having 100% cognacy with PAN, while Hawaiian and
Tongan have 100% cognacy with each other, but 90% with Tagalog and
PAN. This is because the forms for each number are cognates, except
the Hawaiian and Tongan words for the number "1", which are cognate
with each other, but not with Tagalog and PAN. When the full set of
200 meanings is used, the percentages will be much lower. For
example, Elbert found Hawaiian and Tongan to have 49% (98 ÷ 200)
shared cognacy. This points out the importance of data-set size for
this method — less data, cruder result; more data, better
Application of the comparative method will show partly different
genetic relationships. It will point out sound changes
, such as:
- the loss of all PAN word-final consonants in Tongan and
- lowering of PAN to Tagalog in word-final syllables;
- retention of PAN in word-initial and word-medial position in
Tagalog and Tongan, but shift to in Hawaiian;
- retention of PAN in Tagalog, but shift to in Tongan and in
This method will recognize sound change #1 as a shared
of Hawaiian and Tongan. It will also take the
Hawaiian and Tongan cognates for "1" as another shared innovation.
Due to these exclusively shared features, Hawaiian and Tongan are
found to be more closely related to one another than either is to
Tagalog or PAN.
The forms in the table show that the Austronesian vowels tend to be
relatively stable, while the consonants are relatively volatile. It
is also apparent that the Hawaiian words for "5" and "8" have
remained essentially unchanged for 6000 years.
For Hawaiian language history before 1778, see Family and origin
1778 to 1820
In Hawai i
In 1778, British explorer James Cook made the first reported
European discovery of Hawai i.That marked a new phase in the
development and use of Hawaiian. During the next forty years, the
sounds of Spanish (1789), Russian (1804), French (1816), and German
(1816) arrived in Hawai i via other explorers and businessmen.
Hawaiian began to take form as a written language, but largely
restricted to isolated names and words, and word lists collected by
explorers and travellers.
The people responsible for "importing" those languages were also
responsible for "exporting" the Hawaiian language into new
territory, because there were some adventurous native speakers of
Hawaiian who opted to do some exploring of their own by leaving
Hawai'i and sailing off to "see the world" aboard the wooden ships
of the Caucasian explorers. Although there were not enough of these
Hawaiian-speaking explorers (and apparently no females) to
establish any viable speech communities abroad, nevertheless, there
were a few here and there, in various parts of the world, who may
be said to have spread the use of the language, at least a little
bit. One of them, a male in his teens known as Obookiah (
), had a major impact on the future of the
language. He sailed to New England, and eventually became a student at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall,
He inspired New Englanders to support a
Christian mission to Hawai i, and provided information on the
Hawaiian language to the American missionaries there prior to their
departure for Hawai i in 1819. Some adventurous native speakers of
Hawaiian worked aboard American and/or European ships of that
period, thereby expanding, albeit slightly, the geographical area
in which Hawaiian could be spoken. However, no viable Hawaiian
speech communities were ever established abroad.
Missionaries arrive and royals travel
In Hawai i
The arrival of American Protestant missionaries (from New England)
in 1820 marked another new phase in the development of the Hawaiian
language. Their evangelical mission had been inspired
by the presence of several young Hawaiian males, especially
, at the Foreign Mission
School in Cornwall, Connecticut.
The missionaries wanted to convert all
Hawaiians to Christianity. In order to achieve that goal, they
needed to learn the Hawaiian language so that they could publish a
Hawaiian Bible, preach in Hawaiian, etc. To that end, they
developed a successful alphabet for Hawaiian by 1826, taught
Hawaiians to read and write the language, published various
educational materials in Hawaiian, and eventually finished
translating the Bible. Missionaries also influenced King Kamehameha III
to establish the first
Hawaiian-language constitutions in 1839 and 1840.
Adelbert von Chamisso
have consulted with a native speaker of Hawaiian in Berlin,
Germany, before publishing his grammar of Hawaiian ("Über die
Hawaiische Sprache") in 1837. When Hawaiian King David Kalākaua
took a trip around the world,
he brought his native language with him. When his wife, Queen Kapi olani
, and his sister, Princess
(later Queen) Lili uokalani
, took a
trip across North America and on to the British Islands, in 1887,
Lili uokalani's composition Aloha
was already a famous song in the U.S.
1834 to 1948
In Hawai i
is the 115-year period during which Hawaiian-language newspapers
were published. Missionaries introduced newspaper publishing in
Hawaiian and in English, and played a significant role in
publishing a vocabulary (1836) grammar (1854) and dictionary (1865)
of Hawaiian. Literacy in Hawaiian was widespread among the local
population, especially ethnic Hawaiians. Use of the language among
the general population might have peaked around 1881. Even so, some
people worried, as early as 1854, that the language was "soon
destined to extinction." In spite of a huge decline in the use of
Hawaiian, compared to the era of its peak, those fears have never
The increase in human travel to and from Hawai i during the 19th
century was the means by which a number of diseases arrived, and
potentially fatal ones, such as smallpox
, and leprosy
, killed large numbers of native speakers of
Hawaiian. Meanwhile, native speakers of other languages, especially
, and Ilokano
, continued to immigrate to Hawai i.
As a result, the actual number, as well as the percentage, of
native speakers of Hawaiian in the local population decreased
sharply, and continued to fall.
As the status of Hawaiian dropped, the status of English in Hawai i
rose. In 1885, the Prospectus of the Kamehameha Schools announced
that "instruction will be given only in English language" (see
published opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit,Doe v. Kamehameha Schools, case no. 04-15044, page
8928, filed August 2, 2005).
For a variety of reasons including punishment of Hawaiian children
who spoke Hawaiian in school starting around 1900, the number of
native speakers of Hawaiian diminished from 37,000 to 1,000; half
of these remaining are now in their seventies or eighties (see
Ethnologue report below for citations). There has been some
controversy over the reasons for this decline.
One school of thought claims that the most important cause for the
decline of the Hawaiian language was its voluntary abandonment by
the majority of its native speakers. They wanted their own children
to speak English, as a way to promote their success in a rapidly
changing modern environment, so they refrained from using Hawaiian
with their own children. The Hawaiian language schools disappeared
as their enrollments dropped: parents preferred English language
Another school of thought insists either that the government made
the language illegal, or that schools punished the use of Hawaiian,
or that general prejudice against Hawaiians (kanaka
discouraged the use of the language. (See "Banning" of Hawaiian
A new dictionary was published in 1957, a new grammar in 1979, and
new second-language textbooks in 1951, 1965, 1977, and 1989.
Master's theses and doctoral dissertations on specific facets of
Hawaiian appeared in 1951, 1975, 1976, and 1996.
Kaona or Hidden meaning
According to Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Elbert in the definitive
Dictionary, kaona (kao-na) is a "Hidden meaning, as in Hawaiian
poetry; concealed reference, as to a person, thing, or place; words
with double meanings that might bring good or bad fortune." Pukui
lamented, “in spite of years of dedicated work, it is impossible to
record any language completely. How true this seems for Hawaiian,
with its rich and varied background, its many idioms heretofore
undescribed, and its ingenious and sophisticated use of figurative
language.” On page xiii of the 1986 Dictionary she warned:
"Hawaiian has more words with multiple meanings than almost any
other language. One wishing to name a child, a house, a T-shirt, or
a painting, should be careful that the chosen name does not have a
naughty or vulgar meaning. The name of a justly respectable
children's school, Hana Hau oli, means happy activity and suggests
a missionary author, but among older Hawaiians it has another, less
'innocent' meaning that should not concern little children. A
Honolulu street (and formerly the name of a hotel) is Hale Le a
'joyous house', but le a also means orgasm."
Understanding the kaona of the language requires a comprehensive
knowledge of Hawaiian legends, history and cosmology.
"Banning" of Hawaiian
The law cited as banning the Hawaiian language is identified as Act
57, sec. 30 of the 1896 Laws of the Republic of Hawai i:
The English Language shall be the medium and basis of
instruction in all public and private schools, provided that where
it is desired that another language shall be taught in addition to
the English language, such instruction may be authorized by the
Department, either by its rules, the curriculum of the school, or
by direct order in any particular instance.
Any schools that shall not conform to the provisions of
this section shall not be recognized by the
[signed] June 8, 1896 Sanford B.
Dole, President of the
Republic of Hawai i
This law established English as the main medium of instruction for
the government-recognized schools, but it did not ban or make
illegal the Hawaiian language in other contexts. The law
specifically provided for teaching languages "in addition to the
English language". However, Hawaiian was not taught in any
school, including Kamehameha Schools, and many children who spoke Hawaiian at school,
including on the playground, were beaten with rulers or sticks by
Hawaiian-language newspapers were published for over a hundred
years, right through the period of the supposed ban. list fourteen
Hawaiian newspapers. According to them, the newspapers entitled
Ka Lama Hawaii
and Ke Kumu Hawaii
publishing in 1834, and the one called Ka Hoku o Hawaii
ceased publication in 1948. The longest run was that of Ka
: about 66 years, from 1861 to 1927.
1949 to present
In 1949, the legislature of the Territory of Hawai i commissioned
Mary Pukui and Samuel Elbert to write a new dictionary of Hawaiian,
either revising the Andrews-Parker work, or starting from scratch.
Pukui and Elbert took a middle course, using what they could from
the Andrews dictionary, but making certain improvements and
additions that were more significant than a minor revision. The
dictionary they produced, in 1957, introduced an era of gradual
increase in attention to the language (and culture).
Efforts to promote the language have increased in recent decades.
Hawaiian-language "immersion" schools are now open to children
whose families want to introduce Hawaiian language for future
generations. The local NPR station features a short segment titled
"Hawaiian word of the day" and a Hawaiian language news broadcast.
station KGMB includes a
Hawaiian language segment during their morning local news program
Sunrise on KGMB9.
Additionally, the Sunday editions
of the Honolulu
, one of Honolulu's two major newspapers,
feature a brief article called Kauakukalahale
written entirely in Hawaiian
by teachers, students, and community members.
Today, on six of the seven permanently inhabited islands, Hawaiian
is largely displaced by English, and the number of native speakers
of Hawaiian is under 0.1% of the state-wide population. Native
speakers of Hawaiian who live on the island named Ni ihau
have remained fairly isolated and have continued to use Hawaiian
Ni ihau is the only area in the world where Hawaiian is
the first language and English is a foreign language.
Because of many sufficiently marked variations, Ni ihau
people, when visiting or living in Honolulu, substitute the O ahu
dialect [sic] for their own — apparently easy to do —
saying that otherwise people in Honolulu have trouble understanding
Ni ihau people speak very rapidly; many vowels and
entire syllables are dropped or whispered.
ihau, aka 'the Forbidden Island' to locals, off the
southwest coast of Kaua
i, is the one island where Hawaiian is still spoken
by the entire population as the language of daily life.
Children are taught Hawaiian as a first language, and learn English
at about age eight. Reasons for the persistence include:
- Ni ihau has been privately owned for over 100 years;
- visitation by outsiders has been only rarely allowed;
- the Caucasian owners/managers of the island have favored the Ni
ihauans' continuation of their language;
- and, most of all, because the Ni ihau speakers themselves have
naturally maintained their own native language, even though they
sometimes use English as a second language for school.
Native speakers of Ni ihau Hawaiian have three distinct modes of
- an imitation and adaptation to "standard" Hawaiian;
- a native Ni ihau dialect that is significantly different from
"standard" Hawaiian, including extensive use of palatalizations and
truncations, and differences in diphthongization, vowel raising,
- a manner of speaking among themselves which is so different
from "standard" Hawaiian that it is unintelligible to non-Ni ihau
speakers of Hawaiian.
The last mode of speaking may be further restricted to a certain
subset of Ni ihauans, and is rarely even overheard by non-Ni
ihauans. In addition to being able to speak Hawaiian in different
ways, most Ni ihauans can speak English too.
states that "[v]ariations in Hawaiian dialects have not been systematically studied", and that "[t]he dialect of Ni ihau is the most aberrant and the one most in need of study". They recognized that Ni ihauans can speak Hawaiian in substantially different ways. Their statements are based in part on some specific observations made by . (See below, Processes, under Phonology.)
Orthography (writing system)
Hawaiians had no written language prior to western contact, except
for petroglyph symbols.The modern Hawaiian alphabet, ka pī āpā
, is a variety of the Latin
. Hawaiian words end only
in vowels. The
Hawaiian alphabetical order has all of the vowels before the
consonants, as in the following chart.
This writing system was developed by American Protestant
missionaries during 1820–1826. It was the first thing they ever
printed in Hawai i, on January 7, 1822, and it originally included
the consonants B, D, R, T,
in addition to
the current ones (H, K, L, M, N, P, W
), and it had F,
G, S, Y
for "spelling foreign words". The
initial printing also showed the five vowel letters (A, E, I,
) and seven of the short diphthongs (AE, AI, AO, AU,
EI, EU, OU
In 1826, the developers voted to eliminate some of the letters
which represented functionally redundant allophones
(called "interchangeable letters"),
enabling the Hawaiian alphabet to approach the ideal state of
one-symbol-one-sound, and thereby optimizing the ease with which
people could teach and learn the reading and writing of Hawaiian.
For example, instead of spelling one and the same word as pule,
(because of interchangeable
), the word is spelled only as
- Interchangeable B/P. B was dropped, P was
- Interchangeable L/R. R was dropped, L was
- Interchangeable K/T. T was dropped, K was
- Interchangeable V/W. V was dropped, W was
However, hundreds of words were very rapidly borrowed into Hawaiian
from English, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Syrian, and Chaldean. Although
these loan words were necessarily Hawaiianized, they often retained
some of their "non-Hawaiian letters" in their published forms. For
fully Hawaiianized is Palakila
but retaining "foreign letters" it is Barazila
example is Gibraltar
, written as Kipalaleka
. While and are not regarded as Hawaiian sounds,
, , and were represented in the original alphabet, so the letters
, and t
) for the latter are not
truly "non-Hawaiian" or "foreign", even though their post-1826 use
in published matter generally marked words of foreign origin.
A modern Hawaiian name for the symbol (a letter) which represents
the glottal stop
'cut' plus -na
'-ing'). It was formerly known
as u ina
For examples of the okina, consider the Hawaiian words Hawai
and O ahu
(often simply Hawaii
in English orthography). In Hawaiian, these words can
be pronounced and , and can be written with an okina where the
glottal stop is pronounced.
As early as 1823, the missionaries made some limited use of the
apostrophe to represent the glottal stop, but they did not make it
a letter of the alphabet. In publishing the Hawaiian Bible, they
used it to distinguish ko u
('my') from kou
('your'). In 1864, W.D. Alexander
published a grammar of Hawaiian in
which he made it clear that the glottal stop (calling it "guttural
break") is definitely a true consonant of the Hawaiian language. He
wrote it using an apostrophe. In 1922, the Andrews-Parker
dictionary of Hawaiian made limited use of the opening single quote
symbol, called "reversed apostrophe" or "inverse comma", to
represent the glottal stop. Subsequent dictionaries have preferred
to use that symbol. Today, many native speakers of Hawaiian do not
bother, in general, to write any symbol for the glottal stop. Its
use is advocated mainly among students and teachers of Hawaiian as
a second language, and among linguists.
The okina is written in various ways for electronic uses:
- turned comma: , Unicode hex value 02BB
(decimal 699). This does not always have the correct appearance
because it is not supported in some fonts/browsers (mainly Internet Explorer before version 6).
- opening single quote, aka left single quotation mark:
‘ Unicode hex value 2018
(decimal 8216). In many fonts this character looks like either a
left-leaning single quotation mark or a quotation mark thicker at
the bottom than at the top. In more traditional serif fonts such as
Times New Roman it can look like a
very small "6" with the circle filled in black: ‘.
Because many people who want to write the okina are not familiar
with these specific characters and/or do not have access to the
appropriate fonts and input and display systems, it is sometimes
written with more familiar and readily available characters:
- the ASCII apostrophe ', Unicode
hex value 27 (decimal 39), following the missionary tradition.
- the right single quotation mark, or "curly apostrophe"
’, Unicode hex value 2019 (decimal 146)
A modern Hawaiian name for the symbol (not a letter) which is the
'mark' plus kō
'long'). It was formerly known as
(Hawaiianization of macron
). It can be
written as a diacritical mark
like a hyphen or dash written above a vowel, i.e., ā ē ī ō
, and Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū
. It is used to show that
the marked vowel is a "double", or "geminate", or "long" vowel, in
As early as 1821, at least one of the missionaries, Hiram Bingham
, was using macrons (and
breves) in making handwritten transcriptions of Hawaiian
vowels.The missionaries specifically requested
their sponsor in Boston to send them
some type (fonts) with accented vowel characters, including vowels
with macrons, but the sponsor made only one response and sent the
wrong font size (pica instead of small pica).
could not print ā, ē, ī, ō, nor ū (at the right size), even though
they wanted to.
Due to extensive allophony
, Hawaiian has
more than 13 phones. Although vowel length is phonemic, long vowels
are not always pronounced as such, although under the rules for
assigning stress in Hawaiian, a long vowel will always receive
Hawaiian is known for having very few consonant
phonemes — eight: . It is notable
that Hawaiian has allophonic variation of with , with , and (in
some dialects) with . The – variation is quite unusual among the
world's languages, and is likely a product both of the small number
of consonants in Hawaiian, and the recent shift of historical *t to
modern – , after historical *k had shifted to . In some dialects,
remains as in some words. These variations are largely free, though
there are conditioning factors. tends to especially in words with
both and , such as in the island name Lāna i
( – ), though
this is not always the case: ele ele
or ene ene
"black". The allophone is almost universal at the beginnings of
words, whereas is most common before the vowel . is also the norm
after and , whereas is usual after and . After and initially,
however, and are in free variation.
Hawaiian has five vowel qualities.
Hawaiian has five short
. The short vowels are , and the
long vowels, if they are considered separate phonemes rather than
simply sequences of like vowels, are . When stressed, short /e/ and
/a/ tend to become and , while when unstressed they are and . also
tends to become next to , , and another , as in Pele
Some grammatical particles vary between short and long vowels.
These include a
"for". Between a back vowel or and a
following non-back vowel ( ), there is an epenthetic
, which is generally not written.
Between a front vowel or and a following non-front vowel ( ), there
is an epenthetic
which is never written.
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
| Starting with
| Starting with
| Starting with
| Starting with
The short-vowel diphthongs are . In all except perhaps , these are
. However, they
are not as tightly bound as the diphthongs of English, and may be
considered vowel sequences. (The second vowel in such sequences may
receive the stress, but in such cases it is not counted as a
diphthong.) In fast speech, tends to and tends to , conflating
these diphthongs with and .
There are only a limited number of vowels which may follow long
vowels, and some authors treat these as diphthongs as well: .
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
|| Ending with
| Starting with
| Starting with
| Starting with
is (C)V . All CV syllables occur except for
occurs only in two words borrowed from
English. As shown by Schütz, Hawaiian word-stress
predictable in words of one to four syllables, but not in words of
five or more syllables. Hawaiian phonological
include palatalization and deletion of consonants, as
well as raising, diphthongization, deletion, and compensatory
lengthening of vowels. Phonological reduction (or "decay") of
consonant phonemes during the historical development of the
language has resulted in the phonemic glottal stop. Ultimate loss
(deletion) of intervocalic consonant phonemes has resulted in
Hawaiian long vowels and diphthongs.
Hawaiian is an analytic language
There is no use of inflection
the grammatical meaning of words is marked by adjacent particles
(short words) and their
relative positions. Hawaiian is a VSO
Some example verb phrase patterns:
Nouns can be marked with articles
- ka honu the turtle
- nā honu the turtles
- ka hale the house
- ke kanaka the person
are singular definite articles.
is used before words beginning with a-, e-, o- and k-,
and with some words beginning - and p-. ka
is used in all
other cases. nā
is the plural definite article.
- see e.g.
- citing Elbert
- example 138, quoting McGuire
- Andrews, 1836
- Elbert, 1954
- Andrews, 1865
- quoted in
- Nancy Chun Maui Hawaiian first person experience
- Kahele, Mona. Clouds of Memories
- Plate 7.1
- In English, the glottal stop is usually either omitted, or is
replaced by a non-phonemic glide, resulting in or , and or . Note
that the latter two are essentially identical in sound.
- see Hawaiian headwords.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, In the
South Seas, 1891 page 12, quoted in
- University of Hawai i Ph.D. dissertation.
- . Memoir 19 of the International Journal of American
- . ISBN 0-19-508116-1
- . University of Hawaiʻi M.A. thesis.
- University of Hawaiʻi Ph.D. dissertation.
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- . University of Hawai i M.A. thesis.