Why we use diacritics
You may have noticed that throughout this website we try to incorporate diacritical marks when using Hawaiian words. We realize these marks may not be showing up correctly in some web browsers, but we feel it is very important to include them anyway.
These marks – the ‘okina (a backwards apostrphe) and the kahakō (the macron over a vowel) – are very important in pronouncing Hawaiian words correctly.
The ‘okina is a glottal stop that separates the sound of two vowels (e.g., o‘o would be pronouced oh-oh versus oo which is an elongated oh sound).
The kahakō is an elongation of the vowel sound. It does not change the sound of the vowel, it lengthens its sound (e.g., ohhhh versus oh)
For more information on Hawaiian pronunciation, please click here and listen to lesson one.
If we get a lot of feedback asking us to go to a more PC friendly display format, we will think about changing how we indicate diacritical marks.