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ERIC Number: EJ1158138
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1934-5275
He nui na ala e hiki aku ai: Factors Influencing Phonetic Variation in the Hawaiian Word "keia"
Drager, Katie; Comstock, Bethany Kaleialohapau'ole Chun; Kneubuhl, Hina Puamohala
Language Documentation & Conservation, SP13 p65-93 2017
Apart from a handful of studies (e.g., Kinney 1956), linguists know little about what variation exists in Hawaiian and what factors constrain the variation. In this paper, we present an analysis of phonetic variation in the word "keia," meaning "this," examining the social, linguistic, and probabilistic factors that constrain the variation. The word "keia" can be pronounced with a constricted glottis (e.g., as creak or a glottal stop) or without one (Pukui & Elbert 1986: 142) and, like many words in Hawaiian, it can undergo phonetic reduction. The analysis was conducted on interviews with eight native-speaking "kupuna" (elders) who were recorded in the 1970s. We find that the likelihood of the word being realized with a constricted glottis decreases if the word immediately following "keia" begins with an oral stop or if the speaker is a man. Additionally, we observe a higher likelihood of phonetic reduction as word sequences ("keia" + the following word(s)) are repeated during the interaction. The results contribute to current models of speech production and planning, and they inform work aimed at supporting the ongoing efforts to conserve and revitalize the Hawaiian language.
National Foreign Language Resources Center at University of Hawaii. Department of Linguistics, UHM Moore Hall 569, 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Fax: 808-956-9166; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A