Aloha kākou. Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, our College of Hawaiian Language at UH-Hilo, is having a new building constructed on the UH-Hilo campus. Some of the foundations and concrete columns are already done, and we are anticipating the building’s completion in December of next year. We are having one issue that I would like to get out there and seek some advice and/or help.
As our college functions in Hawaiian, we are very picky about language use in the new building. Most of the office and other signs in the complex will be either Hawaiian-only or perhaps Hawaiian and English, with the Hawaiian being larger in size and prominence. What we are having issue with is the Braille. We want the signs to have Hawaiian in Braille, and include the ‘okina and kahakō. The sub-contractor handling the signs says he cannot manufacture the Braille signs with the diacritic marks, even though they are in the IPA Braille spec. We’ve made numerous inquiries, and cannot find a Braille sign manufacturer that can do this. We need help in finding someone who can make these signs for us. To be clear, these are the hard plastic signs that are found outside of each office and in other areas of the building.
According to the IPA Braille spec, these are the two characters we need for the ‘okina and kahakō:
If there is anyone out there that knows anything about making signage in Braille, or knows someone who might know something about them, please contact me. We can find no prior use of these diacritics in Hawaiian in Braille, but like much of the work we’ve done with technology, we hope that we can blaze a trail for the use of Hawaiian in Braille. Mahalo.
A new iPhone was announced today, the iPhone 4S, and the response to Apple’s press conference was a bit lukewarm. Many were expecting the iPhone 5 and/or iOS5 today. But one of the more exiting developments for us was found on the specification sheet for the phones (tip o’ the cap to Joseph Erb for the heads up): there will be a Hawaiian keyboard and spell-check document included. Yes, we’ve had support for the ‘okina and kahakō in the iPhone and iPad for a while; however, while you can generate them from the soft keyboard by long-holding your finger on a vowel, you could not type it when your device (iPads, mostly) was attached to an external keyboard. With this new development you will be able to do so. As soon as these features show up I’ll discuss them further. I believe all you will need to do to activate the Hawaiian spell-checker is select the Hawaiian keyboard.
Mahalo e ko Apple i ke kāko‘o mau ‘ana i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i!
Kevin Scannell have corresponded for many years in regards to issues that face indigenous and endangered languages and the use of technology in their revitalization. I was honored that he asked me to do this interview and talk about the work that I’ve done at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani over the years in regards to Hawaiian language and its use in technology. His website, Indigenous Tweets, keeps track of the use of various indigenous languages around the world.
I laid out $9.95 for the iPhone 3.0 update for my iPod Touch last night, and just discovered why it was worth it – the standard US Keyboard now allows you to insert the vowel-kahak? characters and ‘okina. Here’s how you do it:
When you want to type an ‘okina-vowel, touch and hold down your finger over the vowel for a second or two, and it will pop-up a list of available diacritic characters (see the graphic at right to see how this list looks when I held down over the letter “a” on the keyboard). Whether the vowel-macron is to the right or the left depends on which vowel you are trying to type.
For the ‘okina, press the “123” button to get to the keyboard with numbers and other characters. Hold down your finger on the apostrophe, and it will pop-up a list of curly quotes. Select the one that looks like a small number “6”.
That’s it! Another small step forward for Polynesian languages.
One day I saw a Facebook status update from my friend Kama Hopkins, noting that he was on the Pali Highway and it was raining. I thought to myself, “why the heck is he updating his Facebook status while he’s driving?”. I wrote a single verse of a song to tease him about it and to remind him not to do such dangerous things (turns out he was stuck in traffic at the time and not speeding down the road). Within about 15 minutes I had 7 verses and posted it on Facebook. Kama (a member of the N? H?k? Hanohano Award-winning group Holunape) then recorded it. Read the rest of the story here.
I posted a few days ago about finding the Hawai‘i region in the iPod Touch, and apparently the system-level support is even better than I thought. I set up a few locations using the Weather application, and found that it displayed the days of the week in Hawaiian as well. Too cool.
What would be cooler would be to have the Hawaiian keyboard, too.
I did find that I could not post this screenshot to this blog using WordPress for iPhone application – I kept getting: “Communication Error. Operation could not be completed (NSXMLParserErrorDomain error 5.” Hmmm.
Today was a state holiday in Hawai‘i, but I was in the office trying to upgrade Leok?, our FirstClass server, along with our other techie. Everything seemed to go fine, took four hours or so to back up the post office (where all user and conference data is stored) and migrate it to a new Mac Pro. There we discovered that the administrator account was borked. After a few hours on the phone with a consultant we use on the mainland, we decided to go back to our backup of the system and try again next week after we figure out what is wrong with and fix the administrator account.
So when was the last time you wasted 12 hours working on a perfectly good holiday?