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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
the language of a small indigenous minority,
continue to be passed down beyond
slack-string guitar songs?
Language information: Hawaiian (or Hawai‘ian) is known natively as ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (“Hawaiian Speech,” pronounced “ohlelo hava’ee”). It is also known as ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Makuahine (“Hawaiian Mother Speech”). Sometimes it is simply called ‘Ōlelo (“Speech”), also in other languages used
by people on or from the Hawaiian Islands, much like various New Zealanders
refer to Maori as
Te Reo (“The Language”) among themselves.
it is the indigenous language of the Hawaiian Islands (formerly known as “Sandwich Islands”), now a US state, the number of speakers of Hawaiian is now small, currently
the population of Hawaii. Most of this drop occurred between the 1830s and
1950s and was mostly due to lack of support in combination with massive immigration
from the American mainland states as well as from numerous other countries. Lately,
there have been claims that use of Hawai‘ian was outlawed for some time.
in Hawaii and elsewhere, most
people that are of partly Hawaiian descent
not learn or maintain the language, and many people that are genealogically fully
by the rapid spread of a predominantly English-speaking world on their ancestral
land. Economic needs draw many of them to Honolulu, to other cities and
to tourist centers where most of the little Hawaiian that can be heard
is heard within the context of entertainment.
predominant everyday languages of ethnic Hawaiians, as of many citizens of other
ethnic backgrounds, are Standard English and Hawaii English for formal
Creole English (commonly known by the misnomers “Hawaii Pidgin English” and “Pidgin”).
Polynesian Triangle with the best-known
Hawaiian remains the primary language of currently approximately two hundred
indigenous Hawaiians on Ni‘ihau,
island (often referred to as “the Forbidden Island”) that serves as an indigenous reserve and is off limits to outsiders. It needs
to be seen if isolating a tiny enclave will be sufficient to secure the future
culture as has been claimed.
The Hawaian variety
of Niihau is somewhat specific. It seems to be phonologically more conservative,
which is apparent in its “fleeting t,” namely retention of [t] in certain words, while in other varieties the shift
of t to [k] is consistent. Retention of t appears to be found in kinship terms, including quasi kinship terms, such as
in tūtū (elsewhere
kūkū) ‘grandparent’, keiti (elsewhere keiki) ‘child’ and Atua (elsewhere Akua) ‘God’.
in the Hawaiian language and rediscovery of the rich heritage with which it
is associated has
increasing lately, irrespective of ethnic background. New Hawai‘ian resources
the Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani (College of Hawaiian Language), a branch
the University of Hawaii (Kulanui o Hawai‘i) at Hilo. Foremost among examplary online efforts
are Ulukau : The Hawaiian Electronic Library and Kulāiwi (electronic Hawaiian language distance learning). It is to be hoped that among
those taking advantage of these opportunities there are those with purposes
that will benefit the language beyond tourist entertainment
and ethnic tokenism.
Hawai‘ian is one of the Polynesian languages. Thanks to the extraorinary maritime
migration of their ancestral speakers, the Polynesian
languages, and certainly the Austronesian family to which they belong, constitute
the world’s language group that is geographically most widespread across water.
there are no ancient recorded Polynesian texts, comparison of the widely scattered
Polynesian languages of today reveals numerous phonological and semantic shifts
during past centuries. This enables us to study genetic relationships among member
languages and identify changes within each of them, and it furthermore enables
reconstruct proto-Polynesian word forms. Such studies show that Hawaiian phonology
has undergone possibly the most extreme changes, closely followed by its relatives
within the Marquesic group (Marquesan languages, Mangarevan and Puka-Puka of
Polynesia), also by those of the Rapan and Tahitic groups. The examples below
(with generalized spelling)
may serve to illustrate some of the most notable Hawa‘ian feature is a greatly