Explanation of Hawaiian Language Display on This Site
Written Hawaiian uses two diacritical markings as pronunciation guides:
- The `okina, which is typographically represented as a reversed apostrophe. In spoken Hawaiian, the `okina indicates a glottal stop, or clean break between vowels. If your browser supports this display (and it may not, depending on browser type and settings), this is what an `okina should look like this: ʻ . If browsing conditions do not support this display, you might be seeing a box, a blank space, or odd-looking character instead.
- The kahako, or macron, which is typographically represented as a bar above the letter, as in ā (again, you will see it correctly only if your browser delivers it correctly). The macron on a vowel indicates increased duration in pronuciation of the vowel that it appears over.
Web browsers sometimes have difficulty reproducing these markings without the use of graphics, special fonts, or special coding. Even correctly authored Web pages that use Unicode coding may be transmitted through a server that displays the symbols incorrectly or the browser may use a replacement font that displays these incorrectly.
Since most browsers can and do display the ASCII grave symbol (`) as coded, this site uses the grave symbol to represent the `okina. We do depict the correct `okina on all pages in the title graphic because in the graphic it is embedded in the graphic and not displayed as text.
The kahako / macron is more problematic. Given the problems with displaying this with current technology, some websites resort to displaying these with diaeresis characters instead, as in ä, which will appear in most browsers (but not all) as an "a" with two dots over it. However, this is not a desirable solution because it doesn't work uniformly in all browser situations. Until Unicode fonts are more universally displayable, the site reluctantly omits the kahako from most text.
For an up-to-date information on how to display the Hawaiian language on websites, see: http://www.olelo.hawaii.edu/enehana/unicode.php by the Kualono Hawaiian Language Center of the University of Hawaii. General information on these issues can also be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E2%80%98Okina and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macron.
Why is This Important?
The Hawaiian language is an official language of Hawai`i. Although English is widely used , the Hawaiian language is also used and is vital to current culture and understanding. We wish to express this to the extent possible. As technology improves, and as resources become available, we will improve the site to incorporate and use more accurate versions of written Hawaiian language to the fullest extent possible.