Some corrections to the blog from yesterday
After my little essay on the Hawaiian language was posted here yesterday, I received a scathing e-mail from my literary agent's assistant, Nikki Van De Car. Turns out Nikki grew up in Volcano, a little town right near the Kilauea crater where she apparently inhaled so much sulfur she forgot that you never insult the client. But she did, more than likely in gleeful retribution for all the abuse I most certainly never heaped on her. Herewith her unsportsmanlike corrections to my scholarly ditherings.
1- First you tell your readers every letter is pronounced, and then you tell them to say "pahoehoe" without pronouncing the H's. Have you gone soft in the sun? It's "pa-ho-eh-ho-eh."
2- No wonder that copy editor at Random House tried to have you whacked. It's spelled "wahine," not "wahini."
3- "HWAH-la-lai?" Don't you ever actually read the stuff you write? Four syllables, buster: "Hu-WAH-la-lai." (Ain't no diphthong when she's gone…)
4- Finally, even brand new immigrants know "Hawai'i" is pronounced "Ha-VA-ee."
Yeah, well, you blew that last one, Nikki. First of all, "ai" is a diphthong and pronounced like "aye." Second, the W is a W, not a V, as per the definitive authority represented by this joke:
A tourist walks up to a native Hawaiian and says, "So is it Hawai'i or Havai'i?"
The native answers, " Havai'i."
"Thank you," says the tourist.
"You're velcome," replies the native.