Re-inventing Hawaiian Identity Conception of Ethnicity and Language in the Language Revitalisation Movement

  • Yumiko Ohara (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


An indigenous language revitalisation movement is conspicuously one of the most overtly contested sites of cultural identities and language ideologies. In the Hawaiian language revitalisation processes, for instance, “Hawaiianness” is a main theme that is frequently left open to negotiation through discursive and other means. In this article, the focus will be placed on the cultural politics of identity that capture the fluid nature of race and ethnicity while emphasising the strategic ways language revitalisation activists manipulate the processes of constructing identities as a Hawaiian and a Hawaiian language speaker. Inevitably, the notion of Hawaiian language plays a central role during this process and the concept of scale and scale interpretation brings insight into this seemingly complex phenomenon. Based on linguistic data gathered at various revitalisation sites, the author carves out competing conceptions of Hawaiianness, Hawaiian language, and the relationship between ideologies of the Hawaiian language and construction of Hawaiian identities.