‘Ōlelo Hawai’i ‘oe?
According to a couple of articles (here and here) I found today, a new PhD program focusing on the Hawaiian language and culture has recently been set up at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. This is apparently the first doctorate in the United States in a Native language. Five students are undertaking research into Hawaiian and indigenous language and culture revitalization. One the things they’re working on is to come up with Hawaiian versions of scientific and technological terms, such as World Wide Web – Punaewele puni honua (network around the world) and photosynthesis – ka’ama’ai (acting through light to produce food).
When people are bilingual in a ‘large’ language like English and a ‘small’ one like Hawaiian, they might be tempted to simply use English words to fill in any gaps in their Hawaiian vocabulary, rather than coining new Hawaiian words. The new terms being created by the PhD students should help with this problem.
Did you know that wiki, as in Wikipedia comes from the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki, which means quick?