views updated May 23 2018

HAWAIIAN A Pacific language belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family and cognate with Samoan and MAORI. It has eight consonants, /h, k, l, m, n, p, w/ and the GLOTTAL STOP, and ten vowels /a, e, i, ɔ, ʊ/ (each long and short). Hawaiian words end in vowels (lei, kahuna), consonants are separated by vowels (Kalakaua, Lapakahi), and many words have no consonants at all (aia there, oiaio truly) or more vowels than consonants (heiau temple). Among the differences between Hawaiian and some other Polynesian languages are: /k/ for /t/ (kapu for tabu), /l/ for /r/ (kalo for taro), a glottal stop where some have /k/, marked in technical writing by a reverse inverted apostrophe (') and in general usage by an ordinary apostrophe (') (mu'umu'u or mu'umu'u for mukumuku shapeless, a loose-fitting woman's dress). The glottal stop is phonemic and therefore contrastive: ka'u mine, kau yours. The sound written as l may have been close to /r/. When missionary printers standardized the language in Roman after 1820, they voted six to two in favour of l; when the personal name of King Kamehameha II was set in type, he preferred Liholiho to Rihoriho. Repeating a word base usually has a special meaning: lau leaf, laulau a bundle of food baked in leaves; pai slap, paipai to drive fish by slapping the water. BORROWINGS into Hawaiian have generally been adapted to its phonology: hokela hotel, kelepona telephone, kula school, nupepa newspaper, pipi beef, puke book, and such biblical names as Apikaila Abigail, Kaniela Daniel, Malia Maria, Kamaki Thomas. borrowings from Hawaiian into English are common locally but few in the general language: a'a and pahoehoe lava which cools rough and smooth respectively, ukelele/ukulele a jumping flea whose name was given to an adaptation of the Portuguese guitar.


views updated Jun 27 2018

Ha·wai·ian / həˈwīən; -ˈwoi-ən/ • n. 1. a native or inhabitant of Hawaii.2. the Austronesian language of Hawaii.• adj. of or relating to Hawaii, its people, or their language. ∎  Geol. relating to or denoting a type of volcanic eruption in which fluid basaltic lava is produced, as is typical of volcanoes in Hawaii.

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