Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Vocabulary: Mauka and Makai

I have long known that Hawaiian had direction words meaning "away from the ocean" and "toward the ocean," those being much more useful on islands compared to north-east-south-west.  But I didn't have the actual terms until I stumbled across them today while looking for something else altogether.

Mauka (mow-kah) means on the mountain side of the road in the context of directions.
Makai (mah-kigh) means on the ocean side of the road in the context of directions.
-- "Do you know your mauka from makai?" by Sheila Beal

To keep them distinct: Mauka sounds more like mountains.  Kai  means ocean.

Tags: ethnic studies, linguistics, networking, vocabulary
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