What the Survival of the Hawaiian Language Means to Those Who Speak It
Smithsonian examines the importance of the Hawaiian language and why it’s important to preserve.
The Hawaiian language has no term for “virtual reality.” At least, it didn’t in 2017, when the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center held its first event in Hawai’i. Visitors to the Honolulu festival—called “ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence”—could learn about Hawaiian fabric-making and surfboard-crafting or watch Hawaiian films and poetry readings. Most of the presenters were native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and the signs were in the Hawaiian language. But organizers faced a problem: Some of the words needed to describe the exhibits didn’t exist yet.
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