HAWAIIAN

About

Hawaiian, or Olelo Hawai'i, is a Polynesian langauge which is most prominent in the American state of Hawaii. The language itself, which existed long before Europeans arrived, originally had no written form. Today, the alphabet consists of only 13 letters (five vowels and eight consonants), which results in the creation of crazy words like humuhumunukunukuapua'a, which means 'reef triggerfish'. At one point, English was made the primary instruction in Hawaiian schools and this alongside other cultural pressures reduced the Hawaiian speaking population drastically. Over time though, there have been revitalization efforts to help preserve Hawaiian culture and language and now there are immersion school opportunities for young Hawaiians looking to learn their native language. The English words 'ukulele' and 'taboo' come from Hawaiian.


Online Resources

Oleo Online has various resources for learning Hawaiian

LearnHawaiian is a videos series for learning Hawaiian

Niuolahiki Distance Learning offers a paid but affordable self-teaching course

Kamehameha Schools has some nice resouces

Hawaiian Words has lists of essential words and accompanying audio


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Where Can I Study It?

University of Hawaii - Hilo offers a BA in Hawaiian Studies and an MA in Hawaiian Language & Literature

University of Hawaii - Manoa offers multiple degrees in Hawaiian language and cultural studies


Famous Hawaiians

Kamehameha I
This king is famous for uniting the peoples of the Hawaiian islands

Barack Obama
44th President of the United States

Jack Johnson
Former professional surfer, musician, and founder of the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.


Cultural Products