[An-lang] Hawaiian phonetics

Emily Hawkins ehawkins at hawaii.edu
Tue Jul 22 20:28:52 UTC 2003


I have an answer for #3 and have forwarded the message to others who may
be able to answer #1 better than I could.

Ni'ihau Hawaiian definitely still has the t.  It is quite prevalent as a
replacement for k, but it is also conditioned both by the specific word
and by the presence of more than one k in the word.  The pattern seems to
favor k in the first instance and t in the second as in ketahi 'a, one'
and katou (1st person,pl, incl), makahiti 'year', kute 'cook'  -- but,it
is variable.  Part of the variation may arise from Ni'ihau speakers
interacting with non-Ni'ihau speakers and the written form of Hawaiian,
especially the Bible.

Emily Hawkins ('Ioli'i)
Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages
Univ. of Hawai'i at Manoa

On Mon, 21 Jul 2003, Yoram Meroz wrote:

> A couple of questions on Hawaiian phonetics:
> 1. In several contexts, some Hawaiian vowels sound to me as if they are
> pronounced with a retracted tongue root, or something like it. I notice it
> with /a/ and /o/, particularly near /?/ and velarized /l/, though this might
> apply to other vowels and contexts as well. Is this a known phenomenon? Does
> it extend to other environments? Does it occur in other Polynesian
> languages?
> And if the above is true, would it have anything to do with the general
> Polynesian trend for the place of articulation of consonants to move
> backwards?
> 2. In Helene Newbrand's  1943 thesis on Hawaiian phonetics, her Ni'ihau 18
> year old informant's production of the /t/ phoneme is in free variation
> between [t] and [k]. Is that still the case? Do speakers from Ni'ihau still
> use [t]?
> Thanks in advance,
> YM
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