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  • Alison Kilvington

MIN452 - Lore and Culture

Now this is something I spent quite a bit of time on! Since the island of Hawai`i is my main source of inspiration, I used many elements from their culture and traditional language. The native Hawaiian language was purely verbal and did not have a written form. However, we created a written system for it using the Latin alphabet.

The Hawaiian language only consist of 12 letters, not including the glottal stop. These letters are: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N,P, and W. The glottal stop is characterised by the grave accent, or `. The glottal stop actually has its own unique punctuation mark, however since it is not available on keyboards, the grave accent is an acceptable substitute. Using the apostrophe to indicate a glottal stop is actually incorrect and is mistakenly the most used.

What is the glottal stop? You probably use it without even realising it. When you say "kitten", do you pronounce it as "ki-en"? By not verbally pronouncing the Ts that are present, you have used a glottal stop. It is a short break between letters, and is present in the state name of Hawai`i. It's why the two Is make different sounds even though they're right next to each other! The glottal stop is considered part of their alphabet, actually making it consist of 13 characters. The glottal stop is particularly important because certain combinations of letters will create unique sounds. Below I have provided a screenshot of my phone notes from where I studied this last June and July.

The reason why I focused a lot on the language aspect is because I want to give the island some sense of realism, like you could actually go there. While the cultures and lore from each pacific island can vary from island to island, they generally have a very similar structure. This is why Maui in the Disney movie Moana is a demi-god. In some myths, he is only human, while in others he is a fully fledged god. Disney decided to meet in the middle for all of these myths and label him as a demi-god. Despite the differences, the tale of Maui is a shared one across all of the islands. And this is true for many other aspects of their cultures as well. Their commonalities outweighs any differences they may have.


To be continued...

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