The Hawaiian Language

“Aiea,” the name of a town on Oahu, is spelled only with vowels. The Hawaiian language contains words composedly entirely of vowels, as a Montana newspaper notes in 1898:

“Its most prominent characteristic is the great use of vowels. Besides the five vowels it needs only seven consonants to make up the alphabet, and … two consonants shall never come together and … no word or syllable shall end with other than a vowel. On the other hand, vowels may string along in indefinite succession. The speech abounds with whole words which have not a single consonant to hold them together.”

The article notes that “aaa” means friendly, “eee” means rise up, “ooo” means to shrink, and “uuu” means to stammer.

Read more about an outsider’s view of the Hawaiian language in “The Hawaiian Speech.”


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