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About Hawaiian diacritical marks

The Hawaiian language uses two diacritical markings. The ‘okina is a glottal stop, similar to the sound between the syllables of "oh-oh." In print, the correct mark for designating an ‘okina is the single open quote mark. The kahako is a macron, which lengthens and adds stress to the marked vowel. For example 'pau,' depending on placement of ‘okina and kahako, can mean completed, smudge, moist or skirt.

The State of Hawai‘i and University of Hawai‘i strongly encourage use of Hawaiian diacritical markings. (See UH Style Guide.) Technology, however, is still catching up.

Choose the level of Hawaiian font display

Depending on your browser, operating system and installed fonts, you may be able to display Hawaiian diacritical marks. If not, they will generally appear as boxes or question marks. In that case, you can choose either to use a foot mark (') as an approximation of the ‘okina or display text without diacritical marks.

Your setting selection will be maintained for this browser and this session only.

Click on the links above and watch the demo text below change. If you see boxes instead of diacritical marks, you do not have the fonts installed and should turn off the diacritical option for your session.

Hawaiian language demo

The University of Hawai‘i System consists of 10 campuses, 7 community colleges and 3 university level campuses. The Manoa campus, on the island of O‘ahu, is the flagship campus with more than 18,000 students enrolled.

Ua haku ‘ia ke Kualono e ka Hale Kuamo‘o, Ke Kulanui o Hawai‘i ma Hilo e kako‘o ai i na kaiaulu ‘olelo Hawai‘i a puni ke ao. ‘Oiai, ma ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i ka hapanui o na ‘ike, he mau palapala ‘olelo Pelekane no ho‘i ko loko no ka po‘e hoihoi i ke a‘o ‘ana i ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i a i ‘ole no ka po‘e hoihoi i ka ho‘ona‘auao ‘ia no ka ‘olelo ‘oiwi o Hawai‘i nei a me ka holomua o ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i.

The Scoop on Hawaiian Fonts

To determine when diacritical marks should be used, refer to Hawaiian Dictionary and Place Names of Hawai‘i, published by UH Press.

For assistance in computer and online use of Hawaiian diacriticals, see UH Hilo College of Hawaiian Language.