Thursday, June 24, 2010


I’LL GIVE YOU A RED “S”... AND A BLACK EYE TOO: Apropos of this weekend’s “What does it mean to be a haole?” confab and our recent differentiation between the descriptive and adjective-preceded versions of the word, we happened to be perusing the comment section of the local newspaper’s letters to the editor section today and we found this, apropos of nothing.

“spiritualkauaian” asked:

How do you pronounce the name of (our) Island, Kaua`i, now? In the 50's, we (Ha`oles and kama`aina) all spoke 2 syllables: "Cow-eye."

But now the diacritic mark between the a and the i means you're supposed to pause, right? , 3 syllables: "Kau-ah-ee" ?????

Just curious. We'll be there in November and at the least we'd like to get the name of the island right per current Local speech.

Well, at least they’re trying.

But the answer was really trying- of our patience. “Kathmandude” replied:

Kauai is pronounced KA-'WY-EEE with the accent on the second syllable. See you in November!!


No- there is only one “i” in Kaua`i. The “Kaua” part- as with any string of vowels in the `Olelo ‘Hawai`i (the Hawaiian language) is a diphthong, as it’s called in linguistics and the string of vowels is always one syllable.

All vowels in Hawaiian are pronounced- none are “silent”. The vowels are all pronounced with a “soft” sound so the “i” at the end is pronounced like the letter “e”.

“spiritualkauaian” had also asked about how to find the `okina on the keyboard was delighted with Kathmandude’s answer to that and the bungled answer to the question of the pronunciation of Kaua`i saying:

Kathmandude: It works! Thanks, er Mahalo. Now I can ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ in Ha‘ole, Kaua‘i and humuhumunukunuku‘apu‘a to my pu‘uwai's delight.

Nooooo- as we said before it’s haole not ha`ole and please stop the idiotic “no breath” explanation of the derivation unless you want to be a “stupid f-ing haole”. And stop using a possessive apostrophe “s” with Hawaiian words. The construction doesn’t exist in Hawaiian which has no verb “to have”.

If in doubt please- look it up. And if you want to learn more about the language it’s easy to do on line.

You don’t need a symposium for that. We haole will never be Hawaiian Supermen but you don’t need an “S” on your shirt to have some respect.

1 comment:

Punohu's Politics,Environment and Culture said...

pats ya on the back and gives ya a huge shaka nui for this one, Andy.

I wonder if I will be there? Hmmmm.

If there is no heavy pupu count me OUT.

That is if I can find this cow's eye everyone is talking about.