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member of the Polynesian group of the Austronesian family of languages. Of the fewer than 10,000 people who speak Hawaiian, only a few hundred are native speakers, but the language is taught in some Hawaiian schools and remains important as a symbol of ethnic identity. It also is an official language of the state of Hawaii. Proto-Polynesian, the parent language of Hawaiian, was spoken in W Polynesia c.1500–1200 B.C. Hawaiian bears significant phonological similarities to the other Polynesian languages; consonant and vowel correspondences among the languages is common. Hawaiian has five long and five short vowels and eight consonants. It differs from most of the other Polynesian languages by its lack of the consonant t, which became k in Hawaiian as it diverged from the parent language.



the language of the Hawaiians, one of the Polynesian languages, which is spoken in the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian was spoken by the entire population of the Hawaiian Islands until the beginning of heavy contact with the Europeans and North Americans (early 19th century). Hawaiian had a rich oral literary tradition which gradually began to disappear after the conversion of the population to Christianity (first half of the 19th century), although missionaries managed to transcribe much of it. In the first half of the 19th century the Roman alphabet was adapted to suit Hawaiian, and newspapers in Hawaiian were first published in 1834. After the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the USA in 1898, Hawaiian continued to be used by the ethnic group of Hawaiians, which consisted of the descendants of the earlier Polynesian population of the islands, among the prevailing majority of mixed-bloods (total population, approximately 115,000, according to a 1967 estimate). The Hawaiian language is used in everyday life, but many present-day Hawaiians now speak English.


Blinov, A. I. “Iazyki polineziitsev.” In Narody Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1956.
Pukui, M. K., and S. H. Elbert. Hawaiian-English Dictionary. [Honolulu,] 1957. (With a brief grammatical sketch.)
Pukui, M. K., and S. H. Elbert. Place Names of Hawaii and Supplement to the Third Edition of the Hawaiian-English Dictionary. [Honolulu,] 1966.
Emerson, N. B. Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula. Washington, 1909.



1. a native or inhabitant of Hawaii, esp one descended from Melanesian or Tahitian immigrants
2. a language of Hawaii belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family
References in periodicals archive ?
All agree that Hawai'ian political organization developed from an ancestral, simple-ranked Polynesian form, which Kirch describes well.
1995) (suggesting this problem in the context of native Hawai'ian art).
Anthropologists have offered a range of interpretations for this Hawai'ian event, ranging from idealist to materialist.
The American Pacific concentrates on the indigenous Hawai'ian literary resurgence and its investment in sovereignty activism.
University of Hawaii political science professor Noenoe Silva, author of the book "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawai'ian Resistance to American Colonization," will discuss the political movement for Hawaiian sovereignty and the needs of indigenous Hawaiians for self-determination.
Alvin Schwartz weaves this riveting tale involving Tibetan monks, Hawai'ian kahunas, quantum physicists, and, of course, his own creative role in the comic-book industry back in the '40s and '50s.
It then moves through essays that present the struggles of specific indigenous communities, which include Maori protests of genetic engineering (New Zealand), legal battles for Native Hawai'ian land entitlements (United States), the Chamorro battle for land rights (Guam), maintenance of Makah whaling culture (United States), and the American Samoan expression of sovereignty through communal land ownership.
From November to April, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to whale-watching excursions in the Hawai'ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
This kick-off celebration features the state's natural beauty and heritage, and will include many local delicacies including mango, papaya and renowned Hawai'ian beef.
News report of the failure of the most written-about benefit sharing partnership from India--involving the Kani tribes in Kerala, the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) at Thiruvananthapuram and a pharmaceutical company--comes at a time when Hawai'ian lawmakers are under pressure to put a hold on research based on Hawai'i's endemic species until it is decided how to regulate such research and how to share any profit that discoveries might produce.
All the trees on the lush Hanalei coast were stripped bare--as if winter, so long a stranger to the Hawai'ian Islands, had decided to pay a surprise visit and left in its wake a January landscape of bare branches haunted by isolated mynah birds.