Word of the day – puke wehewehe ʻōlelo

Today’s word, puke wehewehe ‘ōlelo, is the Hawai‘ian for dictionary. It means literally ‘book [that] explains words’. I found a good Hawai‘ian-English dictionary today, and also some online Hawai‘ian lessons.

According to this article, the Hawai‘an language is in a slightly more secure position today than it was 20 years, when the most of those who spoke were adults, and there weren’t many of them either. Nowadays about 2,000 children are educated through the medium of Hawai‘ian each year, and Hawai‘ian medium education is available from kindergarten to college. Few of the students in the Hawai‘ian medium schools speak the language when they start, and most of them speak English outside school, so there is a long way to go to revive Hawai‘ian.

This entry was posted in Hawaiian, Language, Language revival, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to Word of the day – puke wehewehe ʻōlelo

  1. AR says:

    I know of one native Hawai‘ian lady who, along with her sisters, went through Hawai‘ian medium education. She grew up emersed in the culture and is one of the two-thousand who are actual native speakers today.

  2. d.m.falk says:

    Having just been to Hawai`i, I noticed that the Hawaiian language is widely interspersed with everyday English (as well as Hawaiian pidgin). The Hawaiian language gets well-used in local music, regardless of genre, of which the local music scene is rather strong in Hawai`i. Despite this, there isn’t much in the way of print or broadcast media predominantly in Hawaiian, as the total estimated number of speakers of Hawaiian is just over 1% of the island state’s total population. (Only the westernmost main Hawaiian island of Ni`ihau’s population exclusively speak in Hawaiian.)

    The only daily newspaper in Hawai`i that correctly uses the modern Hawaiian orthography (with macron and `okina) is the Honolulu Advertiser.


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