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"ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi" (Hawaiian: Hawaiian language ) in single English quotation marks , font : Linux Libertine . The glyph of the two ʻokina is clearly differentiated from that of the opening quotation mark.

ʻOkina is the Hawaiian name for the voiceless glottal plosive . It is represented in the Scriptures by the sign ' which is itself also called ' Okina . It is an inverted comma (and is similar to the German closing or English opening single quotation mark ). In contrast to the latter, in fonts that allow it its own design, it does not protrude above the cap height .

The character is also used in the spelling of the Uzbek language , but in a different function.

Since the different pronunciation of Hawaiian words leads to different meanings, the spelling with ʻOkina and Kahakō is an essential requirement for the use of Hawaiian names and terms.

The use of the ʻOkina in writing is closely related to the revival of Hawaiian since the late 1950s. This revival is having an impact beyond the state. So in were Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 by the United States Senate renamed national parks in Hawaii, where the letters with diacritical marks 'Okina and Kahakō was the subject of a federal law. The United States Board on Geographic Names , the federal agency responsible for geographical names , has also changed its longstanding practice since 1995 and switched to using the Hawaiian spelling in the Geographic Names Information System .

ʻOkina in Polynesian languages

The ʻOkina is also found in many other Polynesian languages ​​under different names:

language National name Literal meaning Remarks
Hawaiian ʻOkina separation officially
Samoan koma liliu reverse comma officially
Tongan fakauʻa
(honoring fakamonga )
throat maker officially
Tahitian ʻEta ʻEtaʻeta = to harden no official or traditional status, ' or ' or ' can be used
Wallisian fakamoga throat maker no official or traditional status, ' or ' or ' can be used

Coding and display of the Polynesian glottic beat

Old conventions

In pure ASCII , the glottic stroke is sometimes indicated with the apostrophe ('), which has the ASCII value 39 in the decimal system and 27 in the hexadecimal system . In most fonts this is represented as a straight typewriter apostrophe, as it is also used in data processing and is defined as a Unicode character. In some older fonts, however, especially those based on Unix derivatives and related systems and MS-DOS, the right single quotation mark (English typography) is output, which should not be used as ʻOkina. It is just a supposedly better, but actually incorrect, method to use U + 0060 gravis (`) (incorrectly referred to as " back-quote character " ) for pure ASCII text , which in some older fonts is added to the left single quotation mark (English Typography) results in a similar character. In most of the newer typefaces, it tends to tilt to the left, making it unsuitable. When it comes to alphabetical sorting of word lists, it also means that ““ ”is usually classified after“ z ”instead of ignoring the ʻOkina, as would be appropriate in almost all Polynesian languages. However, it is still useful as an alternative solution if words are to be entered into a database with a limited number of characters so that the character can be distinguished from the apostrophe.

New standard and transition problems

The official Unicode value for the glottic stroke is the Unicode character U + 02BB modifier letter turned comma  (ʻ) in the Unicode block Spacing Modifier Letters , which is indicated in HTML by coding ʻ(or hexadecimal as ʻ).

However, the lack of support for this character in older fonts and the large amount of old data combined with the cost and time required for conversion prevented the swift introduction and extensive use of the character. However, the sign no longer causes problems.

Keyboard input

On keyboards with the assignment E1 according to the German standard DIN 2137 : 2018-12, the ʻOkina (i.e. the Unicode character U + 02BB) is entered with the key sequence Keyboard Symbol for German Layout E1 C04-3.svg- ,(comma) (with the keyboard assignment T2 according to the previous version DIN 2137: 2012- 06 with the key combination Alt Gr+ ,(comma)). This possibility results from the design requirement for the named DIN keyboard layouts that all characters for all primary official languages ​​written in Latin must be enterable, and that Tongan (in contrast to Hawaiian, a primary official language of a state) uses the same character as fakauʻa .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ʻOkina in Hawaiian Dictionaries
  2. ^ Suzanne Romaine: Signs of Identity, Signs of Discord. Glottal Goofs and the Green Grocer's Glottal in Debates on Hawaiian Orthography . In: Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, December 2002, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 189-224.
  3. “The presence or absence of glottal stops and macrons changes both pronunciation and meaning,…” (p. 226); “I call particular attention to the symbols for two important elements in the spoken language: the glottal stop (reversed apostrophe) and lengthened, stressed vowels (macron). Without these symbols in the written language, pronunciation of a great many Hawaiian words cannot be determined - nor, it follows, their meanings can be accurately deciphered. " (S. VI): Mary Kawena Pūkui, Samuel H. Elbert: New pocket Hawaiian dictionary. With a concise grammar and given names in Hawaiian. University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu 1996. ISBN 0-8248-1392-8 .
  4. Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 (p. 939) ( Memento from August 14, 2013 on WebCite ) (PDF file; 123 kB) (English)
  5. US Board on Geographic Names: Collection and Dissemination of Indigenous Names (United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Twenty-third Session Vienna, March 28 - April 4, 2006, Working Paper No. 82; PDF file; 18 kB), S. 3: "An example of this has been the addition of the glottal stop (okina) and macron (kahako) to placenames of Hawaiian origin, which prior to 1995 had always been omitted. The BGN staff, under the direction and guidance of the Hawaii State Geographic Names Authority, has been restoring systemically these marks to each Hawaiian name listed in GNIS. "
  6. ^ Karl Pentzlin: German PC keyboard extended for international correspondence . In: DIN-Mitteilungen 2/2011, p. 31 ff.