Olelo Hawaii was the primary language spoken by the people of Hawaii, but it was slowly taken over by English through different government policies. Most of the young people today in Hawaii can only speak English as their first language as a result of English assimilation by different institutions as the primary language used. English is used in offices, schools and even general community-based functions today while few people left in the community can speak Olelo Hawaii.
The annexation of Hawaii into the United States of America reduced the state independence and the ability to dictate their own language since the state had to fit into the practices and norms practised by the people in other United States of America states. The schools adopted English as the main language of instructions, and also stringent measures were put in place to suppress Olelo Hawaii speakers in public institutions in Hawaii. Students in schools were punished for speaking Olelo Hawaii which further led to the eradication of the language. Students, as they grew adapted to English and after generations Olelo Hawaii traditions, have been lost, and today most of the people in Hawaii use English as the primary and dominant language in the whole state.
The government created a culture in which knowing English indicated that an individual is educated and made many people opt to study English to acquire government jobs. As many students gained interest in English through education, their interactions with the parents reduced using Olelo Hawaii and instead used English because of its association with education. The increased emphasis of English in education over Olelo Hawaii is to blame for the reduced use of Olelo Hawaii as the primary language in Hawaii.
After the annexation of Hawaii, the state was made a second generation state in which to earn its place amongst the other states the state had to adopt English as the major language. To belong and fit the American popular culture Hawaii had to teach its sons English over Olelo Hawaii which contributed mainly to the extinction of Olelo Hawaii in Hawaii. Further, due to the annexation of Hawaii and its inclusion as the United States of America states increased the association of the people of Hawaii with people from other cultures which required basic knowledge of English to support the interactions.
It is important to carry out further studies that can help identify the extent to which government policies such as the National Act of 1940 has contributed to the extinction of Olelo Hawaii as the primary language spoken by Hawaiians. There is need to dig deeper into the archives to establish the motivations behind the creation of the National Act of 1940 and how it has impacted the people of Hawaii. Further, there is need to look deeper into government policies libraries to ascertain the extent to which education also led to the extinction of Olelo Hawaii to identify the main factor behind the extinction of Olelo Hawaii.
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