There are two ways to determine the Hawaiian derivation of your name. The first is to determine the meaning of your name and then find the Hawaiian word for your name's meaning. The second, and the most common, is by through transliteration which replaces the letters in the English name with Hawaiian letters. This is not as easy since the Hawaiian language has only has twelve letters.
So here is the formula:
Replace B, F, P with P
Replace C, D, G, J, K, Q, S, T, X, Z with K
Replace H with H
Replace N with N
Replace L, R with L
Replace V,W with W
Replace Y with I
Vowels always remain the same. Be sure to separate all consonants with a vowel for example, Barbara would translate to PALAPALA in Hawaiian because we must insert a vowel between the "r" and "b" letters of the name.
A few rules may help you in properly pronouncing your Hawaiian name. Unlike English, there are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet: AEHIKLMNOPU and W.
Hawaiian Language Consonants
Pronounce PK as in English but with less aspiration. Pronounce HLMN as in English. W after I and E is usually pronounced like V, but after U and O usually pronounced like W; initially and after A, it can be pronounced like V or W.
Hawaiian Language Vowels
Each of the 5 Hawaiian vowels is generally uniform with some exceptions such as: A like A in far, tar; also like UH. E like AY in bay, lay; also like E in bet; I like Y in city; also like E in Eve O like O in no, so U like OO in moon; also like U in true.
Hawaiian words, phrases and the Hawaiian language as a whole are basically simple and easy to pronounce if you sound out the words.
Here are some examples of Hawaiian Vowel Pronounciations:
A pronounced: ah as in "star" as in the Island word ALOHA
E pronounced: ey as in "stay" as in the Island word LEI
I pronounced: ee as in "see" as in the Island word HAWAII
O pronounced: oh as in "glow" as in the Island word MAHALO
U pronounced: oo as in "soon" as in the Island word HONOLULU
The History of Language and Culture may well have begun with the first settlers in Hawaii who arrived from Hiva in the southern Marquesas Islands around 400 A.D. These settlers brought with them their gods, plants, culture and their language. The Olelo Hawaii, (the Hawaiian Language) belongs to a family of languages from central and eastern Polynesia, which includes Hawaiian, Tahitian, Tumotuan, Rarotongan and Maori.
The arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778 marked not only the beginning of major changes for the people of Hawaii, but also changes in their language, religion and cultural traditions. Following Captain Cook other Westerners arrived including missionaries from New England around the year 1820. The missionaries were determined to educate the Hawaiians, including teaching them to read and write. In order to do this, they needed to give the Hawaiian language a written and recordable form.
The missionaries who were untrained in linguistics were unable to distinguish between many of the sounds in the Native Hawaiian language. They could not distinguish between t and k, l and r, or b and p. When they were finished, the alphabet for the Hawaiian language consisted of just 12 letters found in the English alphabet and the 'Okina, (a symbol that looks much like a backwards apostrophe). The new alphabet consisted of the vowels a, e, i, o and u, and the consonants h, k, l, m, n, p and w. When Hawaiian Names and Words were given written form, many appeared quite different from their original spoken form. For example Honoruru became Honolulu. Ranai became Lanai, Mauna Roa became Mauna Loa and taboo became kapu. The Hawaiian Language was changed forever.
The Hawaiians were voracious learners. In a very few years they became one of the most literate people on earth. By the mid-to-late 1800s, Hawaiian became the language used in their courts, school systems, the legislature and in government offices. When the Hawaiian Monarchy was overthrown in 1893, things again began to change for the language. The new, predominantly white, provisional government had by 1896 prohibited the speaking or teaching of the Hawaiian Language in the Public School system in Hawaii. This suppression of the Hawaiian language would continue following U.S. Annexation in 1898 and last for most of the twentieth century.
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