I love my name! It sings to me when I say it or hear it… singing to me of my island home, of ku‘u one hānau. Singing of the cool trade winds, the rainbows in Mānoa Valley where I was born and raised, of the scent of flowers, the sounds of pidgin, the ono grindz, the Hawaiian music. I love that back home everyone knows how to pronounce it!
Not so on the mainland, however. It’s absolutely amazing to me how mainland people can so demolish what looks to me like a pretty straightforward pronunciation. It’s real easy, even if you don’t know Hawaiian, to apply the rules of phonics and sound it out. Apparently, however, phonics has nothing to do with how Hawaiian is pronounced over here. Mokihana. Pretty straightforward, yeah? NOT!
No fooling, these are variations on my Hawaiian name as spoken by mainland people, who, mind you, have my name written out right in front of them:
** Mokahana (far and away the most used one… I’m not even related to Starbucks)
** Moochie (kinda like mochi crunch?)
** Lucky (LUCKY?????? How did they get that from M-O-K-I-H-A-N-A???)
** Nokiana (sounds like a cell phone)
** Monica (no, I don’t know Bill Clinton)
** Minihana (by the shores of Gitche Gumee?)
** Milkyhana (no, I’m not a candy bar)
** Moheeka (last of the….??)
** Makimaki (not even a humuhumunukunukuapua’a)
One guy, when introduced to me, asked if he could call me:
“No”, I replied, “you can’t”. “Well, why not?” he kinda whined.
“Because”, I replied, “first of all, that’s not my name. And secondly, I’m not even Native American!”
I don’t get mad. Really I don’t. I try to take it with lots of aloha and a smile. Gives my friends and I at Alohaworld real good laughs, especially when they think up variations of their own. But when I talk to other locals for the first time, what a relief to know that not only do they know how to spell my name, they can actually pronounce it correctly!
See da update here.