This Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is a celebration of our beloved language, and it is also a celebration of our Hawaiian identity! Every time you think, speak, read or write in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, you play a role in restoring and revitalizing our language, which in turn deepens cultural connection.
For many, the biggest leap in their language-learning journey is the ʻōlelo (speaking) component. It’s one thing to see a word and understand it. However, speaking involves putting yourself out there and that can be intimidating.
To holomua (progress), takes time and repetition. Keoni Kelekolio, director of Hawaiian language advancement with Hoʻokahua Cultural Vibrancy Group offers this manaʻo: “E ahonui a e noke mau – be patient and persistent. People may be hesitant to try because it’s uncomfortable or they’re afraid to make mistakes. But it’s in the new, uncomfortable spaces that the learning takes place. We need to reframe our thinking around mistakes, as mistakes help us to learn. And we should also agree to support each other in the learning by helping and gently correcting – with aloha.”
Still feeling nervous about taking the plunge? Language kumu in the KS ʻŌlelo Kahua class offer up “replacement strategy” as a simple and practical way to get started. “When we say ‘replacement strategy’ we mean replacing frequently occurring English words with Hawaiian counterparts. When building with blocks, the more blocks you have, the bigger and better the building,” said Kelekolio.
When out and about, try using these well-known words instead of their English counterparts:
Meetings. Most of us have them quite often. If you’re an organizer or participant, there are numerous opportunities to utilize ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. Here’s a list of some common words and phrases to use at your next hālāwai:
Another great way to practice your ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi will also leave a big impression on others – changing your voicemail message. Here’s how to do it:
Throughout this Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, “Ola Ka ʻĪ” events offer great in-person opportunities at a kikowaena kū’ai (shopping center) near you.
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