Hawaiian may not be the first language that comes to mind when you think of endangered languages. Still, it is one of the most critically endangered in the world today, with only 400 native Hawaiian speakers left. More people speak Hawaiian as their second language than those who speak it as their primary language! Fortunately, groups of dedicated volunteers are working hard to preserve this unique culture by teaching Hawaiian to children and adults throughout the islands, as well as documenting it using stories, photos, music, and other forms of media that help younger generations connect with the language and with their ancestors.
The Language Of Hawaii
The Hawaiian language is endangered. It is not the dominant language in Hawaii and is considered a minority language. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, there are only about 2,000 native Hawaiian speakers left in the world. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters, and the Punana Leo program works to save the language by teaching it in language nests to young children.
However, because English is the dominant language in Hawaii, it may be challenging to keep the Hawaiian language alive. In 2007, the Kamehameha Schools decided to teach all subjects except for math and science in Hawaiian at their elementary school level.
However, with so few people speaking Hawaiian fluently, college courses that teach only in Hawaiian can’t be offered anymore. The department of education reported that in the 1970s, Hawaiians comprised over 18% of the population; today, they make up less than 1%.
This change may have been caused by many factors, including assimilation into American culture, migrations away from Hawai’i (some pushed off their land), or through force by the occupation of military officials or missionaries during specific periods of history.
Today, one way to help preserve the Hawaiian language is by having more bilingual schools where some classes are taught in English and others in Hawaiian. Some schools also offer immersion programs where the students speak exclusively in Hawaiian throughout the day until they graduate. If these measures had been taken sooner, it might have been easier to save the languages that we now call endangered.
The U.S. government does not consider Hawaiian to be an official language, but it does view them as indigenous languages which are protected by law.
Hawaii is currently working to revive its language and culture. Still, it will be difficult because many of its original people were lost due to events that changed Hawai’i from what they knew into what it is today. One thing they can do is take advantage of new technologies to record their history, folklore, and ideas in hopes that their stories will stay alive for future generations.
The History of Hawaiian
Hawaiian is an ancestral language brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the first Polynesians. It is believed to be a divinely inspired language, and for centuries it was the only language spoken in Hawaii. However, with the arrival of westerners in the late 1700s, English became the dominant language. This trend continued throughout the 1800s and 1900s as more and more English speakers arrived in Hawaii. As a result, Hawaiian became endangered. In 1978, however, things began to change when the College of Hawaiian Language was established at the University of Hawaii.
Since then, there has been a growing movement to revive Hawaiian as a spoken language. Thanks to Hawaiian language resources like online dictionaries and classes, native speakers are slowly increasing. Nowadays, many younger Hawaiians are choosing to learn their native tongue alongside their studies in school. Furthermore, some parents have been returning to teach their children this sacred language; one such parent is musician Kamaka Kukona who taught her son Sam Kahikinao before he passed leukemia.
As another example of this slow resurgence, high schools on the island have started offering courses in Hawaiian instead of Spanish or French so students can be exposed to the native tongue during their formative years. Although these efforts may seem small, they’re part of a more significant battle against globalization. And while we may never see Hawaiian flourish as it once did, if we work together and commit to teaching native language nests around the world, then they’ll never go extinct.
Linguistic Characteristics of Hawaiian
The Hawaiian language is unique in many ways, from its origins to its linguistic characteristics. In this essay, we will explore two of the most notable linguistic features of Hawaiian: its use of glottal stops and its lack of grammatical gender.
One of the most distinctive features of Hawaiian is its use of glottal stops, which are pauses in speech produced by closing the vocal cords. Glottal stops are used in place of consonants in many words, and they can change the meaning of a word entirely. For example, the word for “sun” is ʻōlaʻa, but if you add a glottal stop before the second ʻa, it becomes ʻōlā, which means “moon.”
Another exciting feature of Hawaiian is that it does not have grammatical gender, which is common in other languages. This means there are no masculine or feminine forms of words, and all nouns are treated the same regardless of their meaning. This can be confusing for speakers of languages like English, where gender plays a significant role in grammar.
Hawaiian Language Basics and Common Words
Here are just some of our favorite Hawaiian words and their meanings.
Aloha is more than a simple Hawaiian greeting. It expresses compassion, love, and affection and has a deep cultural meaning in Hawaii. Its sentiment is so profound that Hawaiians believe there is no proper English equivalent.
Give or get directions in Hawaii? With this word, you will surely score with the locals. Mauka means “towards the mountain” and refers to when traveling inland.
Makai is another word associated with directions, meaning the opposite of mauka. It indicates that you must go “towards the sea” so that you can invite your new friends to a lū’au makai.
“Ohana means family.” A Hawaiian word made famous by Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, but this word goes much deeper than just family. Ranging from blood relatives to “adopted” or “chosen” family, it implies respect and cooperation.
Common Hawaiian Phrases
‘A’ole pilikia: Pronounced ah-oh-leh pee-lee-kee-yah
Use this phrase if someone thanks you. It means “you’re welcome.”
A ‘o ia!: Pronounced ah-oy-yah
Cheer on your best friend if they get up to do the hula or exclaim this when someone finally catches a wave during a surf lesson. It’s akin to saying, “there you have it!”
Hui!: Pronounced hoo-wee
There’s a polite way of saying “hey you,” and this is it.
E kala mai: Pronounced eh kah-lah mah-yee
Spill your drink or bump into someone in a crowd? You can use this phrase to apologize or say excuse me.
Threats To The Language
The Hawaiian language is under threat from the English language. The number of speakers is declining, and the language is at risk of extinction.
There are several reasons for this decline, including the fact that the English language is the dominant language in Hawaii and that many young people are not learning Hawaiian as their first language. The situation is dire, but people are working to save the Hawaiian language.
They are fighting to keep it alive through education and by working to make it more accessible to everyone in Hawaii. It will take a lot of work, but with enough effort, we can save this divine intervention.
Saving The Language
Hawaiian is not only an essential part of the state’s history and culture, but it is also a central language in the Hawaiian Islands. However, the language is currently endangered, with few people speaking it fluently. To save the Hawaiian language, we must work to preserve it through education and awareness. By teaching future generations the importance of Hawaiian, we can help to ensure that the language does not become extinct. The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) has taken steps to make this happen by providing Hawaiian as a second language for all students.
Several HIDOE programs are dedicated to preserving the native languages. Additionally, ʻAha Pūnana Leo teaches parents how to teach their children Hawaiian at home so they can keep up with their peers in Hawaiian school who are being taught at least one hour per day. What’s more, there are many blogs and websites dedicated to sharing information about the language, as well as online courses which have been developed over time. These efforts have helped increase knowledge about Hawaiiana’s preservation across North America.
The Importance of Revitalization
In the United States, there are currently over 190 endangered languages. Of these, Hawaiian is among the most endangered, with only about 2,000 speakers remaining. Hawaiian is not only a beautiful language, but it is also a critical part of the state’s culture and history. While there are many factors contributing to the decline of Hawaiian, we believe that it is essential to try to save this language from extinction. We hope that by revitalizing the language, future generations will be able to learn more about Hawai’i and its rich cultural heritage.
For example, it would allow people in the US who identify as Hawaiian or Pacific Islander to connect with their roots. For those in Hawai’i who do not speak English or have a limited understanding of the language, revitalization would help them better understand their own home and identity. In addition, children growing up today would be able to have meaningful interactions with elders by speaking Hawaiian. Revitalizing a language is difficult and time-consuming; however, the benefits can last for generations.
How To Help
It is estimated that there are only 2,000 speakers of Hawaiian left in the world. This number is alarmingly low, and something must be done to prevent the language from going extinct. There are several ways that you can help preserve Hawaiian:
1. Learn the language yourself. This may seem complicated, but it is essential to keep the language alive. If more people speak Hawaiian, it will be less likely to die out.
2. Encourage others to learn Hawaiian as well. You can do this by talking about the importance of the language or by teaching it to others yourself.
3. Support businesses and organizations that use Hawaiian. When these groups have enough money, they will be able to continue their work of preserving the language.
4. Talk with your friends and family about Hawaiian. Educating them on its significance could motivate them to learn the language too!
5. Watch movies and TV shows in Hawaiian. These media outlets can show the culture associated with speaking this unique language and motivate you to try it yourself!
What are other efforts being made to preserve the Hawaiian language?
Organizations such as The Polynesian Cultural Center, Bishop Museum, Ka Leo Hawai’i (a public broadcasting company), and The Living Tongues Institute For Endangered Languages all provide opportunities for everyone to participate in saving this endangered language. Check out their websites for ways you can get involved!
The Future of the Hawaiian Language
The Hawaiian language is a beautiful and unique language that is an essential part of Hawaiian culture. The future of the Hawaiian language is uncertain, but many people are working to ensure that it continues to be spoken by future generations. Many efforts are being made to preserve the Hawaiian language. One of the most important is the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, which was started in 1984. This program teaches Hawaiian children in Hawaiian-language immersion schools so that they can become fluent in the language. There are also many Hawaiian-language radio and television programs, as well as newspapers and magazines, that help to keep the language alive.
Despite these efforts, the Hawaiian language faces many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that there are so few people who speak it fluently. According to the 2010 census, only about 2,000 people in Hawaii speak Hawaiian as their primary language. This number is down from an estimated 8,000 speakers in the year 2000. Another challenge is that the Hawaiian language is not taught in most Hawaiian schools in Hawaii. This means that many young people are not learning the language, and it is not being passed down to future generations.
The Hawaiian language was banned in 1896 by the Territorial Legislature of Hawaii. The ban remained in place until 1987 when it was lifted by the Hawaii State Legislature. Hawaiian is now an official language of the state, alongside English.
Hawaiian is not an official language of Hawaii, and it has been illegal to speak the ancestral language in public since 1896. This law was implemented to make English the only language spoken in the islands to make Hawaii more like the rest of the United States. While Hawaiian is now taught in Hawaiian schools, and there are efforts to revive the language, it is still technically illegal to speak it in public.
After the American administration forcibly overthrew the Hawaiian government in 1896, the Hawaiian language was no longer permitted to be taught in schools. From that moment on, English quickly took the place of Hawaiian in practically all public areas.