Kumu ʻAlika
Speaking ??lelo Hawai?i
by Kumu ʻAlika - Monday, November 3, 2008, 07:25 PM
 
Kaumakaiwa Kanaka?ole speaks Hawaiian fluently.

Spoken Hawaiian once verged on extinction. A new generation has brought it back.

I was part of the first class of the P?nana Leo o Hilo Hawaiian immersion program, in 1985. Prior to that, I was raised speaking the language. My mother could speak Hawaiian, and so could my grandmother and her mother, Edith Kanaka?ole. And using the language as part of the ceremony and protocol of hula, I had an understanding of the metaphor and poetry of Hawaiian language even before I had the skill to converse.

Today, there are more than enough people around me to be able to speak Hawaiian on a daily basis. On average, I