Hawaiian has now been included as a language option in Hawaiian ATM machines. This initiative was initially started as a pilot program, but plans are now underway to install the Hawaiian language option in ATM machines all over the country. This was done in an effort to solidify the Hawaiian culture and help propagate the popularity of the language among tourists. Various efforts have been put in place over time to preserve the language. 1996 was proclaimed “The Year of the Hawaiian language.” This was in an effort to create awareness about the language and the people’s culture. The various phrases and tones of the Hawaiian language helps to capture the natural beauty of the Islands.
Hawaiian belongs to the Austronesian group of languages. It is primarily spoken in the Hawaiian Islands and other Islands that neighbor it. There are about 8,000 speakers of the language on the Island. English is also spoken in Hawaii. The Hawaiian alphabet is made up of 13 letters; 5 vowels and 8 consonants. All Hawaiian words end in a vowel as all consonants are always followed by a vowel. No two consonants can appear next to each other. To truly understand the meaning of any Hawaiian word, you have to understand the context in which it is spoken. This is because Hawaiian words have multiple meanings. Hawaiian words can be quite long and challenging to pronounce. The trick lies in viewing a long word as a string of short words which have been linked together.
The Hawaiian language went into rapid decline as a result of different causes. The main reason being the banning of the language in 1899, after Hawaii was annexed by the US. The language was banned from schools. By the 1980s, there were only about 2000 people who could speak the language fluently. Also, the fact that the language is almost exclusively spoken in Hawaii makes it crucial to preserve the language, as revitalization efforts can become hard if the language was to disappear. There are several language programs that mainly focus on teaching Hawaiian. Also, Hawaiian is currently being used as a means of teaching students in schools at different levels of education.