Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

What is the correct characters/punctuation/spelling for this Hawaiian Proverb?

I'm not Hawaiian and don't know anybody that knows about this so taking a shot in the dark. They are both pretty similar but little differences with "ā ō" and the top one has an extra "e" which i assume all these differences would make the pronunciation different. If anybody could direct me to somebody of Hawaiian culture that would know or knows themselves would be awesome... Has great personal meaning to me and looking to get tattooed on my shoulder so needs to be correct and yes i'll be looking else where to double check the answer on here. Thanx in advance.

'O ka makapō wale nō ka mea e hāpapa i ka pōuli


O ka makapo wale no ka mea hapapa i ka pouli.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is simply an orthographic question. The macrons (ō and ā) are there to help you in pronouncing the words, just like acute accents in French or any other language that uses them. "Makapō" would be the correct way of spelling the word, but a Hawaiian working on a word processor would be likely to type "makapo" since his keyboard may lack an ō key.

    It is similar to a Spaniard using "pais" instead of "país" for the sake of being able to type more quickly. With the macrons would be the "correct" spelling, but without is perfectly acceptable. Of course, if you're going to get this tattooed on your shoulder, use of the macrons is almost obligatory.

    The macrons represent long vowels in places where the vowels would generally be short in the Hawaiian language. This means that they denote a change in length, not pronunciation. It's also acceptable to substitute "oo" for ō and "aa" for ā though this is somewhat rare.

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