The News Site of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

Ka Mō'ī

  • Dec 7, 12:00 am
The News Site of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

Ka Mō'ī

The News Site of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

Ka Mō'ī

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Niʻihau

Kaʻie Naboa-Cordy

This month we are celebrating Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, but were you aware that there is more than one way to speak ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi?

This past month I was fortunate to travel to Kauaʻi with my Makahiki 6 ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi class. On one of the days, we traveled out to Kekaha to learn how to learn from kānaka Niʻihau or people from Niʻihau, specifically Kaleohoʻomana Kaʻohelauliʻi, a master pūpū Niʻihau crafter.

I have been learning Hawaiian since Kindergarten, and for the first time, I found myself stunned into silence. I could not understand what ʻAnakala Kaleo was telling me.

It is not a surprise that people from Niʻihau speak differently, especially since they are separated from the rest of the islands. Niʻihau is known as the “Forbidden Island,” as tourists are not allowed to visit there. There are less than 200 residents on the island, and the primary language spoken on Niʻihau, is Hawaiian. Therefore their dialect of Hawaiian, is slightly different from how we are taught here.

The Niʻihau dialect uses “t” instead of “k.” They also tend to string together vowels and words to make continuous sounds, which often times masks the word they are saying. Additionally, they speak very very quickly, and it is quite easy to miss multiple words.

But despite the difficulty of understanding the Niʻihau dialect, it is a remarkable thing to experience. Many people from Niʻihau are manaleo, meaning Hawaiian is the first language they learned, and it is always an honor to learn anything one possibly can from them.

E ola mau ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi!

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About the Contributor
Kaʻie Naboa-Cordy
Kaʻie Naboa-Cordy, Reporter
Aloha Kākou! My name is Kaʻie Naboa-Cordy I am a senior and this is my first year with Ka Mōʻī. In my spare time, I like to read, write, research, listen to music, and watch TV. I do not plan on pursuing a journalism degree, instead, I plan on going to college to be involved in healthcare and medicine. I do love writing though, especially creative writing, and in the next few years I am trying to fit in the time to learn more about writing so when my career and life settle down, I will be able to be an author on the side. But anyways, this past summer I was able to do a research project based on journalism, and intern with the Hawaii Pacific Health Communications department, which focused mainly on journalism. Through my project and internship, I realized how important journalism is for all careers. Specifically, I witnessed many doctors and nurses write and publish articles about their patients and careers in order to reveal the reality of healthcare and some patients' situations. Through their writing, they were creating transparency about health care and its needs. The simple version of why I want to work in healthcare is to be able to help people in their time of need. And the reality is, sometimes, just fixing their injury or sickness won’t do the job, sometimes like I mentioned above, patients’ voices need to be heard. Journalism is a way for me to achieve this goal. I hope to develop my writing and journalism skills for the future through this class. This year, I aim to advocate for our school, students, staff, and community, and to make sure that their voices are heard and acknowledged.  
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