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Webster's Third and the Pronunciation of Hawaiian Loanwords in English: A Different View of Usage T AlbertJ. Schütz University of'Hawai'i at Mänoa he last line in a well-known hapa-haolè song contains what is undoubtedly the longest Hawaiian borrowing in English:2 Where the humuhumunukunukuäpua'a go swimming by.3 Ifyou were a singer, unfamiliar with Hawaiian and learning this song from the sheet music, how could you find out how to pronounce the word? The standard advice is: look it up in a dictionary. And the word does indeed appear in the 2003 electronic version of Merriam-Webster III (MW), with the following pronunciation transcription (followed by the original, divided into measures (stress units), which are explained later): \ihüm3lhüm3inük3lnük31äp3lwälä\4 (humu humu nuku nuku ä pua'a)5 1 As a musical genre, hapa haole refers to a song whose lyrics are on Hawaiian themes, but are mainly in English, usually with a few Hawaiian words or phrases included. 2 Mahalo (thanks) to Carolyn Andrews, who inspired this study by requesting that I write an article on pronouncing Hawaiian words borrowed into English for her website, Carolyn's Corner (Schütz 2006). For their help with editing, mahah to Laurie Durand, George W. Grace, and 'Öiwi ParkerJones. 3 Cogswell, Harrison, and Noble 1933. 4 The MWpronunciation symbols that are cited in this paper are: a hl, â Ici, ä IaJ, au/ au/, e /e/, ê /i/, i hl, ï /ai/, ö loi, ü IvJ. Other conventions used are: italics for orthographic forms, square brackets for phonetic transcriptions, // forward slashes for phonemic transcriptions, and W back slashes for MW transcriptions. 5 This line shows the accent units for this especially long word. Dictionaries:Journal ofthe Dictionary Society ofNorth America 30 (2009), 1-17 Albert J. Schütz Here are the problems with the MW pronunciation. (1) The five unstressed uvowels would never be pronounced as [o] . (2) A primary stress would better reflect /ä/. (3) The \w\ is unnecessary. (4) English does not permit a sequence of identical vowels (\ä(ä\) within a word. (5) The alternating stress levels represent neither the usual Hawaiian or English pronunciation . Turning to a different genre, volcanology, we check the dictionary pronunciations of two well-known terms for types of lava: pähoehoe and 'a'??. MWgives: \po'höe|höe\ and Va1 ä, ,ä'ä\ (pä hoe hoe)('a'ä) The first pronunciation is recognizable, but would be more so if the first syllable were transcribed as Apä/ (with a secondary stress) and the final vowels in the next two syllables as \a\ or \e\. As for the rendering of 'a'ä, the second alternate better represents the final long and stressed vowel of the original, but as in #4 above, this sequence runs counter to English phonological and phonetic patterns. In this article, I discuss how MWhas represented the pronunciation of Hawaiian words borrowed into English. It is not entirely a catalog of errors; many words are handled satisfactorily. But the data do not appear to have been approached systematically. To correct those that have not, I recommend ways in which the transcription can more accurately reflect an authentic Hawaiian pronunciation and still stay within the phonological system of Standard English. And, just as important, I explain why in 2009 — as opposed to 1961, when MWwas published — it is advisable to do so. Introduction Most studies of borrowing concentrate on the direction of the major flow, as it were — that is, words borrowed from the introduced language into the local language. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the figures for the lexical exchange in that direction are so much higher. For example, there are anywhere from 1800 to 3,000 loanwords from English to Hawaiian (ParkerJones forthcoming; p.c., 27/5/08) .6 This is a striking 6 This topic has also been the topic of studies by, e.g., Denzil Carr (1951) and AlbertJ. Schüu (1976, 1994). ______Webster's Third and the Pronunciation of Hawaiian Loanwords in English3 figure, compared with 180 Hawaiian borrowings into English that are included in the current electronic MW? Still, even this much smaller corpus has been the object of some study (see, for example, Tsuzaki...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 1-17
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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