Hauoli La Hanau, e Mary Kawena Pukui! 1964.

Isle Scholar Celebrates Birthday With New Work

By MARY COOKE

Mary Kawena Pukui, dean of Hawaiian scholars, has two reasons to celebrate today.

It’s her 69th birthday, and the English-Hawaiian Dictionary, part of a project for which she started the research 30 years ago, is just out.

It is a companion volume of the Hawaiian-English Dictionary published in 1957. On both works her collaborator was Dr. Samuel H. Elbert of the University of Hawaii who studied the language with her. Both were published by the University Press.

“IT IS such a relief,” Kawena began in the light, unhurried conversational tones of a Hawaiian tutu, “to have the dictionaries finished.”

But her dark eyes sparkled with the intensity of the scholar as she added, “now I can go ahead with the Kamakau.”

She explained that some years ago she translated the writings on Hawaiian religion, arts and crafts by the early Hawaiian author, Samuel Kamakau. Now she is reviewing the work for publication with Dorothy Barrere of the Bishop Museum.

“AND THERE are lots of other things I want to do, too,” she said with characteristic forward-looking zeal.

Kawena is modest about looking backward. But the record shows 40 years of persistent, scholarly accomplishment as researcher, translator, compiler and writer of authentic Hawaiiana.

Thirty-seven titles in Bishop Museum listings covering ethnology, sociology, natural history and linguistics are the work of Mary Pukui alone or in collaboration with scientists and other writers.

HER MOTIVATION is the urgency she feels to research and record all possible knowledge of the indigenous culture of Hawaii.

When she began writing and translating years ago she started a card file of Hawaiian words “for whoever would do a new Hawaiian dictionary… I never thought I was going to be the one to do it,” she said.

Her source material was Hawaiian newspapers and magazines, the Hawaiian Bible, catechisms and religious writings of all denominations, legends, folk lore, chants and writings of early native scholars.

Legal terms and land law terms were translated, and from the modern Hawaiian vocabulary, such contemporary words as “air raid” and “blackout” were also included.

KAWENA, with Eleanor Williamson of the Bishop Museum, also traveled remote areas of the Islands with a tape recorder to garner all she could from living memories about pronunciation and meanings of words.

She says the Hawaiian language frequently is complicated by multiple meanings.

Advertiser Photo by Charles Okamura

MARY KAWENA PUKUI Continue reading

Advertisements

Lorrin Andrews’ Hawaiian language dictionary, 1862.

Kumu Olelo Hawaii.

We are thrilled to hear that the Hawaiian Language Manual being assembled by the esteemed L. Andrews [ka mea Mahaloia L. Aneru]. It is a Book that explains the essence of words, like the haole; only the letter P remains, and then it is finished. There was a great resolution by the Legislature to set aside funds for this endeavor; but not a penny has been given by the Government Treasury. It can be made ready for printing should there be a skilled Hawaiian, and if there is not, it will take about three months before it can be printed. And now, there are many haole who want to know the Hawaiian language; and so too of the Hawaiians, they want to know English; therefore, we believe that it is appropriate that the money is spent on this. Continue reading

Lorrin Andrews, “A Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language, to Which is Appended an English-Hawaiian Vocabulary and a Chronological Table of Remarkable Events,” 1865.

Hawaiian Dictionary of Andrews [Anaru].—We were told that this book will be completed next week; one section will be from Hawaiian to English, and the another section from English to Hawaiian, and at the very end is placed a timeline of famous events. This work by Andrews will stand as a monument to him for all times, with generations to come. The book is dedicated to the haole of Honolulu nei, and to the Hawaiians as well.

[This dictionary is indeed useful today, 150 years later! The alphabetization is not done ABC, but AEIOUHKLMNPWBDFGJRSTVZ. Check it out here online at Google Books.]

(Au Okoa, 4/24/1865, p. 2)

Buke Unuhiolelo a Anaru.

Ke Au Okoa, Buke I, Helu 1, Aoao 2. Aperila 24, 1865.

Place name list, 1883.

Here is the beginning of a list of place names found in  Saturday Press.

It is introduced like this:

“DICTIONARY OF HAWAIIAN LOCALITIES.

“[The names given below are Hawaiian geographical names—towns, districts, estates, mountains, valleys, bays, rivers, etc., which English readers are likely to come across in historical or newspaper reading. Translations are given when a satisfactory English rendering is possible. This dictionary will be continued as complete as possible.]”

(Saturday Press, 8/11/1883, p. 4)

Hawaiian Dictionary, 1913.

Hawaiian Word Dictionary

A great number of experts makes a Book a highly valuable Book, divided into many categories, each of which is given to a certain leader to think over, should it be intended to become a useful book; however, if it is composed by just one or two, the explanations will be limited and not complete.

When the English Dictionary, known as the “Standard Dictionary,” was published, it is said that the number of people who produced it is 500 or more, and that is one of the most complete dictionaries of the English language known these days. Within it, there are some Hawaiian words found within the language of the Maoris. And so too with the Hawaiian language, the producing of a Dictionary which clearly defines each word, is now being considered.

We have been told that our Queen Liliuokalani has been asked to help in this great endeavor, and she agreed. It is true, our Queen is very adept at English and understands that language, as well as her own mother tongue, and it is rare to find a person like her amongst the Hawaiians; therefore, it is proper that she agreed to give her assistance to this big project which will become an unforgettable monument for her people and for all people in the future.

(Holomua, 10/4/1913, p. 4)

Ka Buke Wehewehe Huaolelo Hawaii

Holomua, Buke I, Helu 1, Aoao 4. Okatoba 4, 1913