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Glottal Goofs: Sign Photos

Signs of Identity, Signs of Discord: Glottal Goofs and the Green Grocer’s Glottal in Debates on Hawaiian Orthography.
Suzanne Romaine

Most of these photos were taken in and around Hilo on the eastern side of the island of Hawai‘i. The majority illustrate variable spellings of place names on state highways or street signs, where both the new and old orthographies are used. Even where the new orthography appears, a variety of symbols is used for the ‘okina. Most do not conform to the typographically correct ‘okina recommended by ‘Ahahui ‘?lelo Hawai‘i (1978). The variation on state and county signs indicates a lack of agreement on the shape of the symbol. Other photos show a variety of quasi-official signs of federal and state agencies which also contain variable spellings.

Figure 1: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A US Park Service sign using the old orthography located at the entrance to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Highway 11 on the eastern side of the island of Hawai‘i. (click on the thumbnail for a closer view)

Figures 2a-2c: Volcano/Keaau/Pahoa/Kalapana

Figures 2a, 2b, and 2c show three current spellings of the place name Kea‘au, and two of the place name P?hoa, towns located on the eastern side of the island of Hawai‘i.

Figure 3: Hale O’Luea Clubhouse

This sign is located on K?lauea Avenue in Hilo, the largest town on Hawai‘i island.

Figure 4: Alu Like Sign Hui Ho’ona’auao i n? ‘?pio

This sign appears on the Hilo branch office of Alu Like, a service organization offering a variety of assistance programs to Hawaiian families.

Figure 5: Hawaiian Home Lands Panaewa Agricultural Lots

This sign appears on Kaha‘?pe‘a Road in Hilo.

Figure 6: Downtown/Hamakua Coast/Honokaa

This sign using the old orthography appears on Kamehameha Avenue leading into downtown Hilo at the turnoff for Highway 19 heading north in the direction of H?m?kua and Honoka‘a.

Figure 7: P?pa‘ikou/Honoka‘a

This sign on Highway 19 uses the new orthography for the place names P?pa‘ikou and Honoka‘a.

Figure 8: Honokaa/Pepeekeo/Onomea Bay

This sign on Highway 19 uses the old orthography for the place names Honoka‘a and Pepe‘ekeo.

Figures 9a and 9b: ‘Auli‘i/Aulii Street

Figures 9a and 9b show street signs with the name ‘Auli‘i in the old and new orthography in Orchidland Estates, Puna, on the island of Hawai‘i.

Figures 10a and 10b: Freeway Signs on the Island of O‘ahu

Figures 10a and 10b show freeway signs on the island of O‘ahu that have the place names Waik?k? and K?ne‘ohe spelled in the old orthography.

Figure 11: Hawai‘i Kai’s Glottal Goof Corrected

This sign is located on the island of O‘ahu at the intersection of Kalaniana‘ole Highway and Hawai‘i Kai Drive to mark the entrance to the East Honolulu community of Hawai‘i Kai (a newly invented place name meaning ‘sea Hawai‘i’).


‘Ahahui ‘?lelo Hawai‘i
Fujimori, Leila

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