Inoa Matters: Series of short audiograms launched on correct pronunciation of Hawaiian place names

“The pronunciation of names is important because it’s essential in conveying the manaʻo or meaning behind these places we often navigate during our day-to-day life.” -Bruce Torres Fischer

By Susan Enright

Bruce Torres Fischer
Bruce Torres Fischer

Producers of the new  podcast series Ka Leo o ka Uluau, which takes listeners holoholo around Hawai‘i Island to learn more about the moku (traditional districts), today released the first few segments of a series of short audio lessons called “Inoa Matters,” or “Name Matters,” that explore the pronunciation and meaning of specific place and street names. This first group is to supplement the Ka Leo o ka Uluau podcasts on the moku of Hilo.

Ka Leo o ka Uluau’s producer and sound engineer, Bruce Torres Fischer, is creating these quick audiograms to supplement the podcast series because, he says, “The pronunciation of names is important because it’s essential in conveying the manaʻo or meaning behind these places we often navigate during our day-to-day life. It is also a way to celebrate the rich history and culture of the place in which we live and love, and accustom our mouths to ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language.”

Did you know the proper pronunciation of the area in Hilo commonly called Kaumana is actually pronouced Ka‘ūmana? Fischer points out that it can be tricky to pronounce Hawaiian place names because not all public signage includes the diacritical marks like the ʻokina (glottal stop) and kahakō (macron or line over a vowel).

Listen to these quick audio lessons to learn more about pronunciation and some background information on street and area names that are part of everyday life in Hilo.

Visit the “Inoa Matters” webpage for more!

 

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.