Why do we have a Hawaiian language

The Hawaiian language - 130 words for rain

Aloha! This time we will deal with the Hawaiian language, which comes from the family of Polynesian languages.

Many associate the archipelago in the Pacific Ocean with colorful floral shirts and necklaces, beautiful landscapes, good weather and a friendly mentality. Belonging to the United States of America as the 50th state is also known to many. But did you know that English is not the only official language? Hawaiian is used as the second official language today spoken by around 8,000 people and is one of the oldest living languages ​​in the world. When James Cook landed on the Hawaiian coast in 1778, there were an estimated 400,000 to 800,000 native Hawaiian speakers who were gradually transitioning to English.

Only 13 letters, but 130 words for rain

The Hawaiian language has only 13 letters: the five vowels a, e, i, o and u in short and long versions and the eight consonants h, k, l, m, n, p, w and ʻ. You may not be familiar with the last character, as the so-called glottal plosive sound in German is not a single consonant, but appears as a tone in the spoken language. It is a sound in which air suddenly escapes between the vocal folds. It is mostly produced in German when vowels are at the beginning of the syllable, as in Spiegel’ei, be’ve, ‘Acht.

The tropical climate on all Hawaiian islands ensures regular rain and winds. Both are of great agricultural importance for the cultivation of sugar cane, pineapple and macadamia nuts, among others. The importance of rain and wind is reflected directly in the language: In Hawaiian there are approx. 130 words for different types of rain and even about that 160 words for different winds. We don't want to list all 130 or 160 here, but we have gathered a few examples: