Songdog, newly returned from Hawai’i, is “having a hard time deciding what to do about representing some Hawaiian words in HTML.” It seems the glottal stop is correctly represented by the ‘okina (a reversed apostrophe) rather than the straight quote/foot mark I’m using here, and long vowels should have a macron (kahakô) over them rather than the rounded mark I just used over the ô, and Songdog finds “the use of alternate fonts and plug-ins” a royal pain. (You may think this stuff is trivial, but a bill has been introduced in the Hawaiian legislature to “require the use of the kahako and the ‘okina diacritical marks when Hawaiian words are included in county and state documents.” So it’s not just proper diacritics, it’s the law!) If anyone has any suggestions, drop by his comment section. Me, I’m just happy I’ve learned how to do italics and links.
Addendum. I have acquired a new version of my moniker, thanks to Songdog; in Hawaiian, I’m ‘ôlelo pâpale!


  1. Thanks, languagehat! Incidently, your italicized foot mark looks just about right in italicized sans serif type 😉

  2. Maybe I should italicized proofread my italicized comments.

  3. I used to live in Hawai`i, where a friend and I would amuse ourselves by pronouncing the `okina à la Victor Borge. (He lives on Kapi[click]ôlani Boulevard.)

    Perhaps the proposed legislation has to do with the fact that without the `okina, some Hawaiian words look and sound rather amusing to English-speakers, a fact that is undoubtedly a source of constant grief for the residents of Po`opo`o Street in Lanika`i.

  4. Did Borge live on Kapi‘ôlani, or did your friend?

  5. Unfortunately, Mr. Borge is no longer among the living, so by using the present tense I meant to imply that the person residing on Kapi`ôlani Boulevard is, in fact, my friend.

    No sloppy writing here, no sir!

  6. Yes, I was waiting to check who you were referring to before I broached the subject of Borge’s death a few years ago–I didn’t want to seem either presumptious or callous.

  7. the glottal stop is correctly represented by the ‘okina (a reversed apostrophe) rather than the straight quote/foot mark I’m using here

    You had a straight apostrophe (U+0027) in 2003 (as seen in the earliest archive capture), but over the years, meddling software has changed the one in Hawai’i to a right single quotation mark, and the one in ‘okina to a left single quotation mark. So it goes.

    Pedantic note: the Unicode terminology is “turned”, not “reversed”, for this character: “turned” is rotated 180 degrees around an axis perpendicular to the screen, “reversed” is reflected in a vertical plane.

    20 years down the line, it’s much easier to get a U+02BB ʻ Modifier Letter Turned Comma, or characters with macrons, although they may still be stink.

Speak Your Mind