HONOLULU (KHON2) — ʻŌlelo Hawaiian is the indigenous language of Hawai’i. When the islands were colonized by foreign merchants, explorers and religious groups, missionaries moved the language from an oral tradition to a written one. In this process, the missionaries needed ways of indicating how words were pronounced and introduced diacritical marks.

The diacritical marks eventually became optional, particularly when it came to non-Hawaiians using the language in political, economic and social scenarios.

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The Hawai’i Department of Transportation announced that they will be adding the Hawaiian diacritical marks to road signs on the Leeward coast of O’ahu.

It is HDOT’s move to be a part of revitalizing the Hawaiian language.

The policy was announced on March 1, 2022. HDOT will be opening a two-week comment period that will allow residents to make suggestions to the master list.

The proposed changes include:

  • Piliokahe Avenue
  • Heleakalā Avenue
  • Lualualei Naval Road
  • Helelua Street
  • Mōhihi Street
  • Princess Kahanu Avenue
  • Hakimo Road
  • Ka‘ukama Street
  • Ma‘ipalaoa Road
  • Kaukamana Street
  • Mā‘ili‘ili Road
  • Leihōkū Street
  • Pūhano Street
  • Lualualei Homestead Road
  • Ala ‘Ākau Street
  • Mākaha Valley Road

HDOT said that “as a part of this effort, proposed correct spelling for Piliokahi Avenue in Nānākuli is “Pilioahe” to match the name used in the region for geographic features. Similarly, the proposed correct spelling for Haleakala Avenue is “Heleakalā” to be consistent with the name of the pu‘u nearby.”

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Comments will be accepted through Friday, Jan. 24.