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Economic And Educational Gains From Linguistic Genocide


The intentional destruction of the Hawaiian language was first realized when the American missionaries and businessmen came to the island of Hawaii. These colonizers came with the leadership of Captain James Cook in the late eighteenth century. Later events from that day unfold with remarkable changes in the Hawaiian culture. The natives of Hawaii found that the only way they can attain survival is through assimilation. Thus, Hawaii became the melting pot of the United States of America, wherein religion and education were inculcated to numerous natives for them to achieve economic survival and literacy. This paper would like to discuss two important benefits that Hawaiians gained during their assimilation with American colonizers, who implemented intentional destruction of the Hawaiian language.

This inculcation of the Americans to the natives led to the assimilation of the majority of native Hawaiians, especially during the nineteenth to twentieth centuries. Despite some efforts of the Hawaiian Renaissance from the late 20th century until the present, one cannot deny that the assimilation experienced in the earlier period has led to the destruction of the Hawaiian language. This destruction of their native language allowed the Hawaiians to survive economically amidst the capitalization of their land. The leading trade at the time of the colonization of Hawaii was from sugar plantations. In order for the business people to work well with their native employees, they need to teach them English. Natives, meanwhile, accommodated this instruction so they can earn and live.

Many may have attempted to revive the Hawaiian language, but it is still important to consider that one of the reasons English remains dominant language in the State is the educational benefit that Hawaiians gain from learning English and forgetting their native Hawaiian language. Hawaiians learning the English language did not only learn lessons from the set curricula, but it was also their way of learning to become civilized and improve their moral ethics and behavior. This also meant that the natives did not only advance educationally, but also economically as they are able to be competitive in learning the trade. The proficiency that the native students gained from learning through English instruction gave the highest hopes for themselves, their parents, and their nation to develop and improve.

Many may regard linguistic genocide as a bad term, but Hawaii was once a land filled with natives who benefited economically and educationally through it. The intentional destruction of the Hawaiian language allowed the natives to become educated and thus economically developed, as they were to advance to the future.