Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >
Apr 6, 2011 09:25 PM

A Small Request...

To the Powers That Be:

Would it be possible to correct the spelling of Hawai'i in the local area index?

The 'okina (the character between the i's, used to signify a glottal stop, essentially its own letter) is important in the Hawai'ian language, and it is, perhaps unintentionally, culturally insensitive to omit it. You can have a pass when it comes to O'ahu and Kaua'i.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The name of the state is spelled without the 'okina on the official state government website at :)

    13 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      And that's a problem, too. The official pronunciation is with the 'okina, hiki no? Or maybe you say HawY instead of Hawai-EE?

      The federal govenment has taken steps to honor the correct spellings using the 'okina in renaming several national parks, and the state quarter features the 'okina in the state's motto. Hawai'ian IS one of the official languages of the state.

      Is my request a big deal to anyone?

      1. re: kaleokahu

        Does any other state have an official language in addition to English? The 140-character text message has already eviscerated the importance of spelling correctly. We don't make much if any effort to include diacritical marks when spelling French, German, or Spanish words on this site or anywhere else online. Hawaii's going to have to live with it.

        1. re: greygarious

          Hey, if the H state gets its 'okina then I am going to lobby hard to change the Los Angeles board name to: "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula"

          1. re: greygarious

            Hi, greygarious:

            I dunno, I doubt there's another state with a second official language.

            This is a placename that is already pronounced the way it *should* be spelled. I was just asking if the Board's name could be corrected. I reiterate: Is that any big deal, or are we back to "CH is perfect in each and every way" again?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              CH reflects its users. Imperfect but interesting.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Kaleokahu, amen. The tone of "get over it" rubs me the wrong way. And I think your request is perfectly reasonable, easy to accomplish, and respectful. It's like people mispronouncing the place names with native origins in my area poorly, and not caring. When I hear a radio ad botch Puyallup, that tells me an insensitive non-local didn't care enough to check.

                And we all like our own names spelled correctly, eg. Katherine with a K, Katharine with an A, etc. Why does a whole state deserve less courtesy?

                1. re: Vetter

                  I don't know ... my name is Krystyna ... I take what I get and don't get put out if people screw up the Polish spelling of Christina (and variations) ... and you don't want to know what people do with my last name. Rather than being annoyed for those who get it wrong, I always give a little praise to those that get it right.

                  1. re: rworange

                    And here I thought it was Stanley Stephen... ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      And that was pronounced Ste-fan ... not Steve-an ... being Polish and all

                      1. re: rworange

                        Now there is a hard one to get when looking at it online (unless you provide a "rhymes with" or "stress" spelling!)

                    2. re: rworange

                      Rather than being annoyed for those who get it wrong, I always give a little praise to those that get it right.
                      i wish i could say i've become as tolerant as you have after a lifetime of people misspelling my name and mangling the pronunciation...but i still get annoyed when someone who's reading the correct spelling - for example, off a credit card or my cable account - spits out something that sounds like they're speaking in tongues. it's just rude not to take a second to actually *look* at the name and think about what the appropriate pronunciation might be.

            2. re: nsxtasy

              Hawai'i Revised Statutes allow for glottal stops and macrons to be used in official documents but does not require it. HRS § 1-13.5

              It is an on-going project throughout Hawai'i to move from the Westernized spellings to the more correct spellings, including glottal stops, etc.

              1. re: akq

                E, akq, Aloha:

                Mahalo for that, hiki no? What is the Hawai'ian word for supererogatory?


            3. A noble request, but you've probably noticed that the text generator used on Chowhound occasionally has trouble with much more common characters like apostrophes and ampersands. I shudder to think what would happen to an 'okina.

              23 Replies
              1. re: BobB

                Hi, Bob: Really? CH's text generator's gonna tilt it's self over an apostrophe's penultimate character? C'est encroyable! '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  You haven't seen that? Here's a typical example - for some unknown reason, all the quote marks got replaced by weird little boxes full of numbers.

                  I've seen quite a few of these.

                  Although - having said that, I notice that this is a really old post, and possibly the others I've seen are too, so maybe it's something they've fixed since then.

                  Carry on your campaign!

                  1. re: BobB

                    Hi, BobB; THAT's bizarre. But the numerical boxy-thingies' location doesn't suggest they are apostrophes.

                    Did my prior reply to you make the same errors?

                    Actually, I've found that when I cut and paste *real* Hawai'ian diacriticals (the 'okina character isn't the same as an apostrophe), CH takes them just fine. For example: ʻōʻili (heart).


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Yes, they were apostrophes and other special characters. Most of that happened when the old database was converted to the present format..

                      It is mainly corrected, but every now and then some installation gone wrong will cause this to happen, especially in topic titles. Personally, I try to stay away from characters in titles other than ones I know don't have the potential for problems.

                      I'm not sure what you mean by local area index. However, search at best, is unreliable. So one thing to think about is using that character would problably make search useless if someone was searching on Hawaii (sorry, you never provided an example of how you wanted the word to look, so I'm not being culturally insensative, just uneducated aout the issue. Actually, this was the first I've ever heard of this issue, so I'm thinking that if this is desirable outside of Hawaii, there needs to be more information about it in other parts of the country and world. I mean, I'm from California which is uber pollitically correct and about as close to Hawaii as the mainland can get. Never heard of this. The people of Quebec made sure that their language needs are addressed and I think few people are unaware of the issue there).

                      1. re: rworange

                        Not to overlook the fact that CH has always avoided the PC bug with acute vigor (and seeing how being PC has swept across the US is no mean feat). In fact this site has always been a "spell free and grammar free" zone, where function beats form into submission every day of the year.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Hi, servorg:

                          Not trying to police members' misspellings. Just asking if the Board name can be spelled right. Nothing political here to be found.


                          1. re: Servorg

                            Sadly, too many people forget that grammar has a function. It ensures (as much as possible) that a message will be decoded as encoded. Increasingly I'm finding it impossible to make sense of some posts (here and elsewhere) and can't help but see this as a sign of waning respect and empathy for others.

                            1. re: Lizard

                              That's why the world will come to an end on May 21, 2011. Probably because of that.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                Doesn't the Mayan calendar running out in 2012 foreshadow the end of the world based on a "dangling participle?" ;-D>

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  The Mayans don't dangle their participles.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    I must have gotten them mixed up with the ripped out beating hearts... ;-D>

                                2. re: linguafood

                                  I appreciate that it's difficult to see the connection. However, I do think that clear expression is a sign that the writer is thinking about the reader and not simply him or herself. Clarity is of use for the reader even if assuring it is a pest for the writer. However, there are those who don't care whether the reader can follow or how many times the reader must review the passage before understanding.
                                  Of course, I can see how I am one of the few who cares about this sort of thing. It's one of those old-fashioned things. I also cringe when I see LOL or someone write 'u' in the place of 'you' so I'm an easy target for mockery.
                                  (As for the waning empathy thing, it's actually a genuine concern as a study revealed a drop in empathy by 20% among this incoming generation of university students. It's a preoccupation of mine. Pathetic, yes...)

                                  1. re: Lizard

                                    Lizard - I'm another dinosaur, like aptly-screen named you. Have you seen this?:

                                    1. re: Lizard

                                      "However, I do think that clear expression is a sign that the writer is thinking about the reader and not simply him or herself. Clarity is of use for the reader even if assuring it is a pest for the writer. However, there are those who don't care whether the reader can follow or how many times the reader must review the passage before understanding. "
                                      i wouldn't rush to judgment so quickly. i agree that it can be exasperating to follow poorly written posts, but it's not as though everyone who writes them does it with the express intention of annoying the rest of us. some people unfortunately aren't as proficient with language as others are, and there are also many Hounds for whom English isn't their first language. i have several friends and family members with varying degrees of dyslexia, and i've seen how much some of them struggle with writing, grammar and spelling despite their best intentions and as frustrated as i get sometimes when trying to decipher what the heck a poster is trying to say, i try not to judge too harshly.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Sadly, GHG, the most poorly written English seems to come from the native speakers. Trust me, I am well aware of and sympathetic to those struggling in a 2nd or 3rd language.
                                        Also, fair play on dyslexia, but again, I know those who struggle and their writing is often better. I am frustrated, however, that there are so many with abilities who cannot be bothered.

                                        1. re: Lizard

                                          oh, you & i are in agreement on this, i just try to limit my judgment here on CH because since most of us are true strangers to one another, there's no way to know what's really behind someone's poor writing. with people i actually *know* it's an entirely different matter ;)

                                    2. re: linguafood

                                      If the world is to end so soon we better start eating!

                                3. re: rworange

                                  I assume Kaleo is requesting that the name of the "Hawaii" board be changed to "Hawai'i" which I think makes sense. However the posters spell (or misspell) Hawai'ian names in their posts is up to them.

                                  I don't really see the controversy over this request since it just corrects the spelling of a non-English place name. CH would certainly correct a misspelled place name of Spanish origin, right?

                                  1. re: akq

                                    >>> it just corrects the spelling of a non-English place name. CH would certainly correct a misspelled place name of Spanish origin, right?

                                    Actually, no.

                                    If you look at the boards, all the English names are used. It is Mexico, not México. Ditto on every other foreign country.

                                    Not that I ever thought there was going to be a change to the way Hawaii was spelled, but pointing that out actually would make it less than zero chance, eh? I mean, if every place in the world has the English spelling, changing Hawaii would be inconsistant.

                                    >>> However the posters spell (or misspell) Hawai'ian names in their posts is up to them.

                                    Of course. The people who spell things a different way will just not pick up on posts that spell things in another way.

                                    Not that I have any say in this at all. I was just pointing ot the problems with search on this site.

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      Hi, rworgange:

                                      This all started as my small kine request to just relabel the board. There are no greater search ramifications, and no expectations of posters, and certainly no confusion as to whether Hawai'i is Hawaii (as might be the case changing Florence to Firenze, Munich to Munchen).

                                      It would just be a nice thing to do, above and beyond the call of duty. But as with many things on this Board in particular, anything that questions the infallibility of prior decisions is generally unwelcome. Sorry if my request perturbed anyone.


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        I can't say whether or not requests are unwelcome. IMO, if people express what they like and the powers that be paid attention, there might not be an outcry for each installation. I believe people want to work with rather than against Chow.

                                        However, there are lots of things in the que, and the little things seem to get bypassed for the grander things such as share tabs that are important to the people at Chow. When the site was converted, there were some locations incorrectly spelled on a few boards and it took years for them to get fixed ... I assume they are fixed as I haven't seen anyone posting about those lately.

                                        So that's just why I think there was zero chance of this change. Like everyone says, doesn't hurt to ask.

                                        Personaly, I'm not perturbed in the least. Just wanted to note that if people plan to use that spelling in their posts, then the search on this site doesn't handle it that well.

                                      2. re: rworange

                                        Apples and oranges. Mexico is not a misspelling. But using "h" instead of "j" (halepeno) or "y" in place of "ll" to spell Spanish words in phonetic English would be misspelled. Imo, "Hawaii" is a misspelling or rather an erroneous phonetic representation of a non-English word. it's silly to get too far into the history of it all, but suffice to say that I agree with Kaleo. Small kine request. Maninis!

                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                Dear Kaleohahu,
                                No shortage of pointless apostrophes on chowhound. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone write "it's" for "its" (possessive) or "Martini's" for "Martinis". If only there were a way for all these errors to come together to be made right. In the meanwhile we'll have to go with paraphrasing Servog's useful summary, "CH reflects its users. Imperfect but [occasionally] interesting".

                            2. The original comment has been removed
                              1. Fight the good fight, man! I sympathize, I'm tired of having to give up my apostrophe when I shop online.

                                (Duchess O'Nukem)

                                1. kaleo, i have no idea if the Powers That Be will oblige your request, but i think it's great that you asked :)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I agree, always ask! I think the question is valid and personal to those using that Board.

                                    OTOH, the number of assumptions made about English as a 1st, 2nd or unspoken language for CH's;especially when we are typing not speaking always surprised me. Do we come to CH to be corrected for our natural speech, typing skills, grand language usage? Let the wordsmith shine if they must and forgive the rest of us. Some global (food) world we all live in!

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      The main attraction of CH for me is the new places I find to eat, or the new things being offered at places I already know about. So I tend to keep my eye on the prize. Chow tips can come in all lower case, grammar lite or they can come in a well edited essay. But the thing is the tip, and not the prose, that mostly drives my continued participation here.