Nhsc-v1-221

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nhsc-v1-221

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memorization that early visitors considered remarkable. It is also recorded, however, that many Hawaiians applied the traditional attitude towards memorization to reading, and memorized whole sections of books in the form of chants. It is still bad form in Hawaiian culture to hold a script before you when chanting, in the manner of sheet music in Western culture. Therefore, the tradition of using one's memory is still alive today even though writing exists as a means for preserving old chants. The greatest stumbling block to exercising the memory in reciting Hawaiian chants today is not writing, but the inability of chanters to speak Hawaiian.

21/ Mentally, long vowels appear to be actually two adjacent short vowels; e.g., a is a written representation of what is mentally aa. We have evidence for the mental reality of double vowels in the occurrence of long vowels when a word with an initial short vowel is doubled; e.g., awa, "harbor," awawa, "valley." Hawaiians themselves writing in the nineteenth century sometimes wrote awawa as awaawa rather than awawa, as was standard missionary practice. The writing of awawa as awaawa, however, can lead to confusion with the missionary spelling of 'awa'awa (sour), because the missionary orthography does not indicate the 'okina.

22/ The use of the apostrophe to represent an 'okina appears to have grown out of a mistaken etymology in the Bible. In the Bible the elision of an a is indicated by an apostrophe; e.g., e ola ai (by which one is saved) is often written e ola'i in the Bible to indicate a pronunciation e olai in which one a has been elided. First-person singular possessive words like na'u (for me) were always written with an apostrophe in the Bible, apparently based on an idea that they represent an elision (i.e., na, "for," plus au, "I, me," gives na'u). The spelling of these common words with an apostrophe became fixed in Hawaiian speakers' minds and since the apostrophe was located in a place where an 'okina was pronounced in actual speech, the apostrophe came to be associated with the 'okina. As time went by, Hawaiian speakers came to use the apostrophe more and more to represent the 'okina and less and less to represent the predictable elision of a before another vowel.

23/ A lax attitude toward the spelling of Hawaiian words is commonly found among English speakers in Hawai'i and even among Hawaiian speakers who have attended only English medium schools. English speakers often brush aside criticism of their sloppy treatment of Hawaiian spelling in comparison with their insistence on high standards in English spelling with a remark that Hawaiian is an oral language and not a written one like English. This shows ignorance of both the histories of Hawaiian and English. Hawaiian speakers have a history of one of the world's highest literacy rates. English itself has a history of missionary introduction of the Latin alphabet to the British Isles. It is interesting to note that one of the most remote and least-Western-influenced part of Polynesia, the Kingdom of Tonga, is the area in Polynesia with the most careful spellers of an indigenous language. All signs, personal names, and reading material in Tonga is printed with the kahako and 'okina and school children use them consistently, properly, and as easily as any other part of the writing system, just as they are pronounced in the spoken language.

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