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Hawaiian, the indigenous language of the Hawaiian Islands, is steadily losing ground to the all-pervasive influence of English. It is estimated that at present only 15,000 peopleabout 1½ percent of the Islands' populationare still fluent in Hawaiian. On one island, Niihau, a few hundred speakers are kept out of contact with the outside world, and it is probably only here that pure Hawaiian is spoken. Elsewhere the language has been strongly influenced by English. Conversely, local English speech contains many Hawaiian words.
Hawaiian is a Polynesian language, brought from the Society Islands, 2,500 miles to the south, between the 2nd and the 8th centuries. It is considered one of the most musical in the world, containing only the five vowels and seven consonantsh, k, 1, m, n, p, and w. The paucity of consonants, plus the fact that every Hawaiian syllable and word ends in a vowel, produces curious renditions of certain English expressions, such as the Hawaiian equivalent of "Merry Christmas," Mele Kelikimaka. Perhaps the best known Hawaiian word is aloha, meaning "love" or "affection," but also used both for "hello" and "good-bye." Ukulele is also a Hawaiian word, as are hula, lei, luau, and poi.
Hawaiian is spoken/used in the following countries:
Hawaii (U.S. State), United States of America.
Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.
AKA AND THE SHARK
Aka was a fat little men-e-hu-ne.
One day when Aka was diving,
A shark bit off his big toe.
Then the shark was very angry,
Because he was very hungry.
The menehunes were also very angry,
Because they were Aka's friends.
So they made a basket of bindweed
And filled it with bait.
In this they captured the shark,
Pulled him up onto the sand to die.
His bleached bones warned other sharks,
"Do not touch a menehune."