Modern Hawaiian Orthography Using Macrons (Kahakō)
Welcome to the second video in the Pronunciation series. This is where you should be if you are just starting out with Hawaiian and want to understand the meaning of the bar line on top of certain vowels in written Hawaiian (for example, "manō"). We call these lines "kahakō" in Hawaiian, or "macrons" in English.
If you have arrived here and somehow missed the first video in the Pronunciation series, please go to 0401V Pronunciation #1: The Hawaiian Alphabet.
Macron Diacritical Markers
The macron line is technically known as a diacritic or diacritical marker in English:
- diacritical (di·a·crit·i·cal) marker
- a mark or a sign serving to indicate a different pronunciation of a letter above or below which it is written.
Audible Examples of Kahakō
Click on either one of the speaker icons below to hear both words being pronounced one after the other. Do you hear how the second word ("lōlō") has longer sounding vowels? Try saying them along with the reader.
- lolo (brain)
- lōlō (paralyzed, numb; Fig., "stupid" or "crazy")
You can see that there are lines over each letter "o" in "lōlō". Those are the macrons. As mentioned above, we call them "kahakō" in Hawaiian; the word is made from kaha, a mark or line + kō, to draw out or lengthen.
In the video below, you will learn how kahakō change the pronunciation and meaning of those words in which they appear, as well as some other facts about modern Hawaiian orthography. You will be able to practice your pronunciation by comparing pairs of words with and without kahakō. The links for the video are at the bottom of this page.
Vocabulary Used In The Video
The following section has been included in case you wish to learn the meaning of some of the words in included in the video (below). I don't expect that you go and try to memorize all of these words; the most important thing at this point is that you practice actually saying the variations with and without kahakō. Therefore, the words are included in a box with a "disclosure triangle" which you can use to either show or hide the list. (I think the disclosure triangle defaults to being open in Firefox, however.)
Words from 0402V in the order presented
|kahakō||macron (literally, a lengthened sound)|
|lanai||stiff-backed (same as nanai)|
|lānai||a veranda, porch, or deck|
|hālau||a place of learning or working (as in a hālau hula, hula school)|
|mala||sore, as after working out or exercising too much|
|māla||a patch of ground for planting food|
|kala||to forgive; a type of fish with a rough skin|
|kālā||money (from the American "dollar"; sometimes written dālā)|
|mākaukau||to be ready or prepared; to be capable of doing something|
|ahe||a light breeze|
|āhē||the sound you make when you breathe a sigh of relief|
|akēkē||possibly a type of puffer fish|
|aue||tall or far apart (essentially unused today)|
|auē1||the sound you make when you say "gosh", "oh my", "alas", etc.|
|hanapepe||a common mispronunciation of the place name|
|Hanapēpē||a place on Kauaʻi (lit, hana+pēpē, crushing bay)|
|auī2||the sound you make when hurt, like "ouch!"|
|hakalī||a spot high up in the air|
|hihi||to entwine, as a vine; to be infatuated with someone|
|nōkī||deep inside something|
|lō||an earwig (insect)|
|lupo||a wolf (from Latin lupus or Greek lukos)|
|lūpō||possibly same as ulupō, dark color of dense forest growth|
|mano||many (about 4000)|
|pōhānō||wheezing (from hānō, asthma or similar problem)|
|pupu||smallness, either actual or imputed to convey affection, scorn, etc. (cf. "wee" in Scottish)|
|pūpū||a shell; something small to eat (like an appetizer)|
|malu||shade or protection|
|malū||underhanded or secretive (as in doing something bad)|
|kūhulukū||"goosepimples" or "chicken skin"|
|kupu||to sprout out of the ground, as a plant|
|kūpū||to gel or thicken, as a sauce or gravy (cf. mākū)|
- 1. the word "auē" is often written "auwe" or "auwē", but we should not continue this practice, because it is not possible to ever say "auvē" (with the V sound). The word contains a "w-glide" which American missionaries wrote using a "w" because that's how they were used to writing such things. There are several words of this type in Hawaiian.
- 2. as with "auē" above, you may see this written with a "w-glide" as "auwi" or "auwī". It is never possible, however, to say "auvī", so we must drop this artifact of English-American spelling.
Following this video is 0402P Pronunciation Practice for Kahakō which will allow you to practice distinguishing similar pairs of words both with and without kahakō. Then, you should move on to the next video in this Series, 0403V Pronunciation #3: The Glottal Stop all about what we call the ʻokina.
If you wish to see a listing of all the content in the 0400 Series on Pronunciation, please find it here.
This video was recorded in my original 480 by 360 pixel size using a “slideshow” presentation style when ʻŌlelo Online first started. I am hoping to re-record it in the newer "blackboard" format as soon as possible. Please be patient while the video begins to load; this may take up to 30 seconds or so depending on your internet connection.
- Markings over letters
- The Macron
Video links for 0402V: Macrons (Kahakō)
Streaming or Downloading Videos
All videos are in MP4 format except the WebM file and the OGG file (if available). The MP4's should play on all Macs, Windows PCs, iPads, iPhones, and most Android or similar devices. Most up-to-date web browsers on both desktops and mobile devices should be able to play the MP4 files. Just select the small, medium, or large link to match your network connection speed (bandwidth).
Note that you may have to wait up to 30 seconds on a medium speed connection for the video to load enough to play.
If you are using Firefox on Windows, you may find that the MP4 versions do not play. In this case, try playing the WebM file in your browser, or else download it and play it using VLC Player on your PC.
If you wish to download any of the files rather than showing them in your web browser, you should right-click on the links above and select "Save Linked File As..." or whatever similar choice your browser has. You can use QuickTime Player or VLC Player on Macs or Windows PCs to play the files on your desktops and there are many apps which can play videos on tablets such as iPad, including VLC Player for iOS and Android.