DID YOU KNOW...?
One of the oldest languages in the world, Hawaiian, only has twelve letters in its alphabet. For centuries, Hawaiian or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi
was an oral language. However, with the arrival of the American settlers and missionaries at the end of the 19th Century a written alphabet was created. It is a variant of the Latin alphabet, with five vowels and seven consonants.
A E H I K L M N O P U W
There are also two symbols to enable correct pronunciation: the ‘Okina
is used to mark a pause in the word and the kahakō
prolongs vowels. This Malayo-Polynesian language is, along with English, the official language of the state of Hawaii. Despite almost disappearing at the beginning of the 20th Century (there were only 1,000 people who still spoke the language), it is re-emerging thanks to government policies and local initiatives. ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi
is now taught in certain schools and there are local newspapers that publish weekly articles in the indigenous language. In fact, if you are thinking about going to Hawaii, you will notice that the Hawaiian language can be seen everywhere, in the name of places, such as “Honolulu”; streets, such as “Kamehameha avenue”; food, such as “lilikoi”; music, such as Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole; on the radio, etc. Although it is in danger of extinction, it represents the true hallmark of the fiftieth state of the United States.