Island Speak (language)

Julia Sallabank julia at TORTEVAL.DEMON.CO.UK
Fri Nov 7 21:22:21 UTC 2003

Dear Andre

I am interested in the development of language revitalisation movements. You
say that 'Hawai'ian immersion saved the language', and what has bee achieved
is certainly impressive, but do the children who have been taught Hawai'ian
speak the language out of school, and will they raise children speaking it?

Many thanks


----- Original Message -----
From: "Andre Cramblit" <andrekar at NCIDC.ORG>
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 5:49 PM
Subject: Island Speak (language)

> Posted on: Sunday, November 2, 2003
> Hawaiian immersion saved the language
> Unique in the nation, Hawai'i has two official state languages: English
> and Hawaiian.
> The latter was pulled back from the brink of extinction two decades ago,
> thanks to Hawaiian-speaking kupuna, University of Hawai'i language
> students and the 'Aha Punana Leo Hawaiian-immersion program.
> Only a fraction of Hawai'i residents speak fluent Hawaiian, but the number
> of children being educated in Hawaiian is growing and creating a
> generation of bilingual citizens. This is a standard that is common and
> accepted in Europe but is relatively rare in the United States.
> And we all have to admire an effort that strives for educated literacy in
> two languages at a time when a troubling number of Island residents have a
> hard time speaking English competently as a first language, let alone a
> second.
> This week, the 'Aha Punana Leo celebrates "20 years of living through
> Hawaiian," and will honor Sens. Daniel Akaka and Dan Inouye for their
> contributions to Hawaiian language and culture. A fund-raiser honoring the
> two senators is set for this Sunday ( a week from today) at the Hilton
> Hawaiian Village.
> The 'Aha Punana Leo is a private, nonprofit corporation supported by
> federal and charitable grants.
> According to the 'Aha Punana Leo, nearly 2,000 children have been educated
> in Hawaiian, and some have gone on to attend such prestigious institutions
> as Punahou, Stanford and Oxford University.
> That said, the program is not for everyone. The 'Aha's curriculum requires
> that students learn only in Hawaiian through the fourth grade, based on
> the premise that children should gain a firm grasp of Hawaiian before
> adding English in the fifth grade.
> The controversy of when to introduce English contributed to a split at Ke
> Kula Ni'ihau O Kekaha on Kaua'i in 1999. Some parents and teachers felt
> the children, who were raised speaking Ni'ihau Hawaiian, should learn
> English earlier, and started their own charter school in Waimea.
> It took courage to make a move they felt was best for their children.
> The bottom line is, whether you wish to learn Hawaiian as a first language
> or simultaneously with English, the state Department of Education, the
> University of Hawai'i and the 'Aha Punana Leo offer these options, and
> that's what keeps the Hawaiian language alive.
> This is more than an interesting academic exercise, as important as that
> alone might be. It is also a critical part of the effort to keep the
> entire Hawaiian culture vibrant and real.
> That is a direct benefit to everyone in these Islands.

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