View Full Version : "Ka Huila Wai" pronunciation

11-02-2010, 01:37 AM
A question to the hawaiian natives on this forum. I'm learning Ka Huila Wai by Israel Kanakawiwo'ole and I'm a bit confused about the correct pronunciation. First there is a verse that goes:
Hale ani ani ku
And he pronounces "Hale" like "Hail". I would have read it like "Ha-Le".
Then there is a verse that goes:
I sa lele ahea
But as far as I know there is no letter "s" in the Hawaiian language. But he sings an "s".
And last there is a verse that goes:
I kahi pikake, ulu ma`ema`
And he pronounces all the "k"s like "tz". That's confusing.

Well noone I know speaks hawaiian so it wouldn't make a difference if I do some mistakes, but I want to do it right. Thanks for your answers. :)

11-02-2010, 05:26 AM
I am not an authority on the Hawaiian language, but I think there are Polynesian languages that use the the "S" in certain words. I've heard the version with the "S" substituted for the "K" and I've also heard the version where he pronounces it as written. I also listened to a version where that verse is not used. The lyrics can be found here (http://www.huapala.org/Ka/Ka_Huila_Wai.html). If you want to emulate Iz, that's cool. As far as the mele goes, lIMO, I would pronounce it as written by the songwriter. Hopefully one of the other locals will chime in . . .

11-02-2010, 10:37 PM
Thanks Kanaka :) I took the lyrics from ultimate guitar, and there it was written "sa" instead of "ka" as in the version you posted. I also read the wikipedia article about hawaiian language and found this interesting fact:

It is notable that Hawaiian has allophonic variation of [t] with [k], [w] with [v], and (in some dialects) [l] with [n]. The [t][k] variation is quite unusual among the world's languages, and is likely a product both of the small number of consonants in Hawaiian, and the recent shift of historical *t to modern [t][k], after historical *k had shifted to [ʔ]
If it's up to you to say "k" or "t", maybe in Iz' dialect it's also ok to say "ts" or "s" instead of "k". I think I'll learn Iz' pronunciation.