Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hawaii's Legacy of Literacy

I found the following TEDxManoa talk by Puakea Nogelmeier quite fascinating. At the time when James Cook landed in Hawai‘i in 1778, Hawai‘i did not have an alphabet/script. Yet, by 1840 Hawai‘i boasts a literacy rate of almost 100%. At the same time, deceases brought in by “the discoverers” decimated the Hawaiian population heavily during the 19th century. Considering that, it is amazing what Hawaiians achieved as a society.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hawaiian Language Resources

If you are trying to learn more about the Hawaiian Language, you will realize that resources are not as plentiful as let's say for French or German. Wouldn't it be nice if I could just hop over to Duolingo and do a few levels of Hawaiian just to get a feel for the language? After all Hawai‘i is an extremely popular destination for mainlanders and mahalo does not mean trashcan. It is in fact extremely surprising how hard it is to find good resources. And Duolingo is not an option as of this writing.

Although, it should be possible with enough bi-lingual volunteers to add Hawaiian to the incubator.

Hawaiian is an official state language besides English. In fact it is the only state with Alaska with a non-English state language. Yet, even Google Translate does not offer an Hawaiian option which I did not expect (C'mon Google).

Cloud Forest Trail in Kaloko-Mauka (April 2014)

Here are the options I found so far:

Wikipedia, of course, is a good starting point:


Kamehameha Schools provides a website with various resources at:
The site provides a list of videos (Youtube) and corresponding transcripts at:
Furthermore, there is another language series called Ka Leo ʻŌiwi which is provided by ʻŌiwi TV at:


I found the following online language courses, which while not free, are seemingly reasonably priced.

Niuolahiki Online Hawaiian Language Courses by ‘Aha Pūnana Leo (Non-profit)
Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning
Although incomplete, you may also want to check our the Hawaiian language tutorial which is provided by the Society to advance indigenous Vernaculars of the United States (S.A.I.V.U.S.):


I found the following online dictionary:


And lastly, if you like to learn more about the state of the Hawaiian language in general, check out the following PBS recording "PBS Hawaii - INSIGHTS: What Role Does Hawaiian Language Play in Our State?" which is available at:
If I missed any good resources (which is likely), please provide those as comments. Mahalo!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hawaiian Alphabet Song

My kids love the song…Oh and yes not only the Germans have some rather long words.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mind the ʻokina

I started to look beyond the common Hawaiian words everyone is using such as "mahalo" and "aloha" and I finally realized that Hawai‘i is written with an ʻokina letter between the i-letters. You can create the character easily by pressing Option-] on a Mac.  See more at:ʻOkina.