Nhsc-v1-194

From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

nhsc-v1-194

Text Only

entry in the missionary journal The Friend, September, 1878:

I've studied Hawaiian for 46 years but am by no means perfect...it is an interminable language...it is one of the oldest living languages of the earth, as some conjecture, and may well be classed among the best...the thought to displace it, or to doom it to oblivion by substituting the English language, ought not for a momemt be indulged. Long live the grand old, sonorous, poetical Hawaiian language! 24/

Strong support from the English-speaking leadership of the Department of Education for the English medium schools had a negative financial impact on the Hawaiian medium schools and school teachers. Appropriations given the English medium schools were considerably higher, as were the salaries paid teachers in those schools. Loss of pupils to the better-supplied English medium schools resulted in loss of jobs for many Hawaiian teachers, and increased job opportunities for the English-speaking community.

Hawaiian interest in English was primarily economic. The period of greatest interest occurred during the reign of King Kalakaua (1874 to 1891). There was also at this time, however, a correspondingly high interest in restoring Hawaiian poetry, dance, and traditional culture among all Hawaiians, including Kalakaua. The expanding establishment of English medium schools intensified the study of English and foreign languages and took a serious toll on the Hawaiian language. The prestige of Hawaiian language diminished, as did teaching in Hawaiian, as a result of poor salaries and facilities associated with Hawaiian schools. The English medium schools further removed Hawaiian vocabulary for technical and academic matters relating to the Western aspects of life in Hawai'i, hence employment alternatives. The schools affected the status of Hawaiian as a means for bringing different races together by removing the growing immigrant children population from an atmosphere in which their command of the national language could be improved. Hawaiian language lost an opportunity to act as a racial catalyst when the growing population of immigrant children was denied improvement in the national language. Also destructive was the direct exposure to Euro-American philosophy (in a way, propaganda) of that era, which proposed that non-Western peoples were inferior, further weakening confidence of Hawaiian children in themselves, their native language, and their culture.

To credit the English Schools of the monarchy, a good number of Hawaiians became bilingual and very fluent in an English that was characterized by a certain British flavor, due to a preference for the British by upper-class Hawaiians. This competence in a high-value, prestige dialect of English was exactly what the Hawaiians needed to regain control of the positions that had been overtaken by an English-speaking group claiming that they alone could serve the nation in this capacity. Further strengthening the Hawaiian speakers in this area was the group of talented Hawaiian youth who had been sent abroad to Japan, Italy, Germany, and England to be educated. They returned with broadened perspectives and languages to better serve Hawai'i in dealing with foreign nations. 25/

Growing Hawaiian competence in what the English-speaking community had

-p194-

Previous Page Next Page