There Are Only Twelve Letters, But Some Of These Are Made
To Do Double Duty, As K Is Also T, And L Is Also R. The Most
Northern Island Of The Group, Kauai, Is As Often Pronounced As If It
Began With A T, And Kalo Is Usually Taro.
It is a very musical
Each syllable and word ends with a vowel, and there are
none of our rasping and sibilant consonants. In their soft
phraseology our hard rough surnames undergo a metamorphosis, as Fisk
into Filikina, Wilson into Wilikina. Each vowel is distinctly
pronounced, and usually with the Italian sound. The volcano is
pronounced as if spelt Keel-ah-wee-ah, and Kauai as if Kah-wye-ee.
The name Owhyhee for Hawaii had its origin in a mistake, for the
island was never anything but Hawaii, pronounced Hah-wye-ee, but
Captain Cook mistook the prefix O, which is the sign of the
nominative case, for a part of the word. Many of the names of
places, specially of those compounded with wai, water, are very
musical; Wailuku, "water of destruction;" Waialeale, "rippling
water;" Waioli, "singing water;" Waipio, "vanquished water;"
Kaiwaihae, "torn water." Mauna, "mountain," is a mere prefix, and
though always used in naming the two giants of the Pacific, Mauna
Kea, and Mauna Loa, is hardly ever applied to Hualalai, "the
offspring of the shining sun;" or to Haleakala on Maui, "the house
of the sun."
I notice that the foreigners never use the English or botanical
names of trees or plants, but speak of ohias, ohelos, kukui (candle-
nut), lauhala (pandanus), pulu (tree fern), mamane, koa, etc.
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