On the state of the Hawaiian Language, 1920.


Mr. Editor of the Nupepa Kuokoa, Aloha oe:—In the Kuokoa of Friday, May 21, 1920, I saw your thoughts supporting Mr. Coelho on the Hawaiian Language, and about the lack of use of the Hawaiian language in some churches and Hawaiian organizations when they meet; English is what is spoken in meetings; not because Hawaiian is not understood, but because of their great embarrassment in speaking Hawaiian; there is English and it is attractive to speak, yet all the while they understand that it is not appropriate at all to be speaking in English.

It isn’t in some churches and Hawaiian associations that it is not spoken, but in markets, on streets, in homes in which true Hawaiians live, and all around this island of Oahu, only a very tiny fraction of true Hawaiians speak the Hawaiian language; most of the men, women, and children, all they speak is English.

It is not something that I’ve heard from a friend; no, I have seen it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears; a Hawaiian father and a Hawaiian mother, and children born of their loins, born here in Hawaii, yet the strange thing is that the language they speak is English, and not Hawaiian.

Who are the true Hawaiians that are snuffing out the Hawaiian language? The ones that are too haughty and the ones who are too ashamed to speak in Hawaiian, like with some churches and some Hawaiian organizations that don’t want to speak Hawaiian when they meet.

I do not oppose the speaking of English or other languages perhaps that we true Hawaiians know; it is a great benefit that we can converse in those languages, but the problem is that we’ve abandoned the Hawaiian language.

How can we Hawaiians say that we defend dearly [makee] the Hawaiian lahui from dying off and from coming into great difficulties if we do not cherish our mother tongue?

It is true, a people are known by their language, and language is of a great importance in the histories of the all enlightened people of this world; by our not understanding this important idea, we true Hawaiians show that we are indeed unworthy of being called a people who defend dearly the well being of the Hawaiian lahui.

By our not talking in our mother tongue in our homes, in churches, and in our very own associations, true Hawaiians are showing that they very much hold in contempt the Hawaiian language and the Hawaiian blood flowing within us, the Hawaiian people. O Hawaiian parents from Hawaii to Niihau, do not fail to teach your children the Hawaiian language.

I greatly support Hawaiian being taught in schools proper, and for Hawaiians to be the teachers that teach Hawaiian to the children, should that be approved by the legislature of 1921.

With great appreciation to you, Mr. Editor, and Mr. Coelho, for your putting in motion the electric key of the Hawaiian language.


(Kuokoa, 6/4/1920, p. 2)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LVIII, Helu 22, Aoao 2. Iune 4, 1920.


1 thought on “On the state of the Hawaiian Language, 1920.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s