Nhsc-v1-179

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nhsc-v1-179

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marking from ordinary words in sentences. Personal names often incorporate ancestral place names and contain references to family history. Without a knowledge of Hawaiian language, remaining within the traditional concept of word power, poetic Hawaiian names cannot be understood or properly pronounced, thus diminishing the power of the names and the person. Compared to Hawaiian culture, American culture puts small emphasis on names. In fact, many Americans treat their own names with little respect, abbreviating them until they seem to lack dignity (for example. Deborah-Debby-Deb, Randolph-Randy- Ran). In a Western sense, reaction to Hawaiian names has been to develop a folk myth that Hawaiian names are poetic, while the beauty of "large-storage-gourd," "the-name-of-the-father's people," "the-casket-of-the-ali'i" is not appreciated because of a lack of understanding of the poetic images, history, and traditions specific to the Hawaiian people.

The result of the difference between Western and Hawaiian treatment of names has been generally one-sided, that is, negative toward the Hawaiian. Unless one considers negative, the Hawaiian tendency to call Deborah, Deborah rather than Deb, which is the name she is usually called by her family in Oregon. Hawaiian names, on the other hand, are abused in their spoken form by English speakers, even in the face of Hawaiian protest, as has been the case with media usage of "Kal" for Kalaniana'ole and "Molahkay" for Moloka'i. It has been shown, in fact, that with minimum effort English speakers can pronounce Hawaiian words, since close approximations of all the sounds of Hawaiian are found in English, including the 'okina or glottal stop. Abusive pronunciation of Hawaiian names is humiliating from any viewpoint, but from a cultural viewpoint, it weakens the name carrier due to the neqative influence on the power of the word.

Ironically, some younger Hawaiians deliberately mispronounce or allow mispronunciation of their own personal, family, and place names in order to avoid embarrassing English speakers. From a traditional viewpoint, this attitude is most destructive. Western ignorance of Hawaiian culture is another problem, since English speakers cannot understand the culture without the language and yet inquire into the "meaning" of a name. The best approach in such a situation is simply to say that the name is a special family one, and leave it at that, rather than try to make "large-storage-gourd" sound poetic to non-speakers of Hawaiian who cannot properly appreciate the name without the language.

Place names also fare poorly, since Westerners often want to change the original name of a place to socething with a more romantic translation (in the Western view), instead of preserving the history of the place. Attempts are constantly made to change place names, which causes suffering to those families who are rooted in the locations of proposed name changes. Such families believe in the old traditions and to eliminate the name damages the power of the word. For these reasons, Hawaiians protest changes to place names, which far too often are for the convenience of non-speakers of Hawaiian. Hawaiians then bear the risk of being labeled radical, even though without these names the culture as expressed in Henry West's tribute associated with 'Uplloa and Pana'ewa cannot live.

Our last simple illustration (from the record Na Leo Hawai'i Kahiko 13/)

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