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Hawaiian Fonts

The names of some writers and especially the names of places used in the titles of these essays has created a challenge for archival staff in transferring the finding aid into html code for use on the web.

Hawaiian language, having first been put into writing by American missionaries in the 1820s, uses an alphabet which is not native to it and hence not totally satisfactory. Two major problems exist in representing Hawaiian language using the roman alphabet. Vowels in Hawaiian may be long or short, usually with the same sound but varying between the two in length and stress. The differences are phonemic: at times they make a difference in meaning. In order to represent this distinction in sound, written Hawaiian language now employs a macron, a solid line, over a long vowel.

The second weakness of the roman alphabet in representing Hawaiian language grows from the existence of a consonant sound in Hawaiian which is not represented in the roman alphabet and which is not phonemic in English. Hence the American missionaries ignored the sound distinction and left it out of the alphabet they devised for Hawaiian. This consonant is the glottal stop, now represented in written Hawaiian by a symbol similar to a superscript #6 but inked solid.

WordPerfect has symbols in its repertoire for making these characters. The symbols, however, do not translate into html code needed to markup a document for mounting on the web. To convey the macron/vowel letters universally in readable html markup, I have resorted to using the umlaut over the long vowels. Since in Hawaiian, the vowels are not umlauted -- there is no alteration in pronunciation, but in length -- using the umlaut is inaccurate. I felt this web page needed some distinction between long and short vowels, however, so I used this method to show the distinction. To convey the glottal stop in readable html markup, I have resorted to using the apostrophe.

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