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Humuhumunukunukuapuaa
Wednesday, 2006 April 19 - 8:32 pm
No, really. Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Yesterday I read an article about a drive to reinstate the rectangular triggerfish as Hawaii's official state fish. The fish's Hawaiian name is "humuhumunukunukuapuaa", so I kept repeating that to myself over and over for the rest of the day. It's really not as hard to say as it looks. If you break it down, it's "humu-humu... nuku-nuku... a-pua-a". Say it to yourself. You'll enjoy it.

I have a Hawaiian-English dictionary that I picked up in Hawaii when our family went there on vacation, when I was a kid. There's a section in it that lists the Hawaiian equivalents for common English names. The names don't always translate directly because Hawaiian has only seven consonants. (Well, eight if you count the glottal stop.) "Ken" translates pretty cleanly to "Keni"... which also happens to mean "small change" in Hawaiian. If you ever want to give me a new nickname, I suppose you can call me Small Change.

In college, we had great fun with the fact that "Brad" becomes "Palaka" in Hawaiian. The word means "indifferent", which isn't all that crazy... but the word just sounds so funny that if you know someone named Brad, you just itch to call him Palaka. And sure enough, the guy in the dorm room next door to mine was named Brad, and we mercilessly called him Palaka for an entire year.

There was another guy I knew in high school and college named Jon Uy. "Uy" is pronounced "wee"... or more like oui for you French-speaking types. His middle initial was "P", though, and he would often insist on using the initial on papers and his signature and such. So of course, we started calling him "Pee Wee". He sure did hate that nickname at first, but it stuck. After about three years, he even started calling himself Pee Wee. Maybe he got tired of having people say "Jon Who?" when he called them on the phone. "Jon Who?" "Jon Uy." "We who?" "Not we, me." "You?" "Oui." "What?"
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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahainteresting

Comments

Comment #1 from Jen (Guest)
2006 Apr 19 - 11:25 pm : #
In elementary school, my friend Matthew and I both had salt-water aquariums, including triggerfish. We loved humahumanukanukaapuah, and said it all the time. We thought we were very cool.

I had completely forgotten about that. Thanks for "triggering" the memory. Yes, groan.
Comment #2 from JuanC (Guest)
2006 Apr 20 - 9:38 am : #
You know, Brad is a bit indifferent sometimes...
Comment #3 from Javi (Guest)
2006 Apr 20 - 11:30 am : #
i think malkovich gave a great performance as humuhumunukunukuapuaa in the hitchhiker's movie.
Comment #4 from Amy (Guest)
2006 Apr 25 - 8:36 am : #
Did you know the official fish of New York is Abe Vigoda?

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