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Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian Language Today


Despite the efforts of the new government, the Hawaiian language would not die. However, the number of those who could speak the language dwindled to several thousand.

In the 1970's a renaissance of the Hawaiian culture emerged, and a renewed respect for the native language of the Hawaiian people was born.

In 1978, Hawaiian once again was made an official language of the State of Hawaii. By 1987, schools were again allowed to teach the language.

Immersion programs began in the islands. The immersion approach teaches students Hawaiian language, history, and culture. In the schools that have adopted the immersion program, the students speak and write in Hawaiian each day, for the entire day. The teachers for the programs also incorporate other Hawaiian subjects into their class such as a Hawaiian dish, if the class is dealing with home economics.

In 1990, the United States government established a policy recognizing the right of Hawaii to preserve, use and support its indigenous language.

Today, we continue to see a renaissance in the study and use of the Hawaiian language in schools, in government, in print, in music and in many other aspects of Hawaiian society.

The year 1996 was proclaimed the "Year of the Hawaiian Language." Many special language-related events were held throughout the islands, intended to "raise awareness in the general public about Hawaiian and encourage groups and individuals to study, use and respect the language."

It is an interesting thought to consider that, other than in Hawaii, there is no other place where Hawaiian is spoken. If the Hawaiian language were to become extinct in Hawaii, there would be no place to re-learn it.

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