The Language Of The Hawaiian Islands

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Worldwide four languages die every two months. Of the 6,000 known only 3,000 will be left by the end of the 21st century (Schwetizer). Hawaiian, one of the two languages in the state of Hawaii, is spoken by 8,000 of 400,000 ethnic Hawaiians and used in all domains, including oral literature, songs, and religion (“The Hawaiian Language”). Although Hawaiian was once the major language spoken in the Hawaiian Islands, today only a few thousand of Hawaii 's inhabitants claim it as a mother tongue (“Hawaiian”). The term "Hawaiian" comes from the name of the largest island, Hawai 'i in a North Pacific archipelago. The name of the island first appeared in written English when the island was discovered by British explorer James Cook, who wrote the name as "Owhyee or Owhyee" in 1778 (“Hawaiian”). He described Hawaiian as "primitive, childlike, lilting, effeminate, and simple (Schwetizer). Hawaiian became endangered due to the native speakers wanting their children to speak English in order to succeed, so they refrained from using Hawaiian at home (“The Hawaiian Language”). The Hawaiian language is classified as part of the Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian language family, and is closely related to a number of other Polynesian languages including Maori or Tahitian. The Hawaiian language went into a rapid decline due to the annexation by the USA in 1899. Captain Cook and his men noticed that the Hawaiian language was similar to Tahitian and Maori which made it easier for the missionaries to create a written version of the language ("Hawaiian Language"). The American board of Commissioner for Foreign Missions sent the missionaries to Hawaii to transform and civilize the people by introducing churches, schools and the press (Rhodes; Gr... ... middle of paper ... ...waiian. To make sure they continue to use to correct pronunciation, they video tape the voices of native Hawaiian speakers. In Spite of the multiple successes of recent years, the Hawaiian community faces intimidating challenges in attempting to revitalize the language (Warschauer). There are 30,000 speakers of Hawaiian at different levels of fluency but the language is sill endangered and will continue to be until they reach critical mass ("Hoʻokahua"). The passage of House Bill needs to elevate ʻōlelo Hawaii to an actual language of the legislature again, instead of just for ceremonial use on the opening day. If the governor start delivering and stirring well executed, state of the state address in Hawaii, it will bring prestige and power back to the language. The community of speakers is still relatively small and mainly consisting of ethnically Hawaiian speakers.

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