January 31, 2022, 11:55 a.m. HST
Just in time for the start of “Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i” (Hawaiian Language Month), Dr. Keola Donaghy, assistant professor of music at the University of Hawaiiʻi Maui College, released a Hawaiian-language version of the popular online game “Wordle”. .
The Hawaiian game is called “Hulihua” and can be found at http://hulihua.net. It is played over the Internet and users do not need to download any program to play. A new word is provided to players every day.
Like Wordle, players try to identify a five-letter word and receive clues from the game that help them solve it. Wordle was released in October 2021 and quickly went viral. “Hulihua” was created using open source code originally published by Hannah Park and later modified by Aidan Pine, a linguist and software developer from British Columbia. Park’s modifications allowed language activists such as Donaghy to create localized versions of “Wordle”.
“I thank Noelani Arista from McGill University in Canada for pointing me to Aidan and his work. Aidan helped me immensely with his code changes to build and deploy an ‘ōlelo Hawai’i version of Wordle,” Donaghy said. “There are several other native languages that have their own versions of this game and many more are in development. The fact that it happened so close to the beginning of Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i makes it even more special.
February was declared Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i in 2012 to celebrate and encourage the use of the Hawaiian language. “It’s a wonderful time to learn ‘ōlelo Hawai’i.” says UHMC Chancellor Lui Hokoana. “There are more courses and programs than ever, many of which are available online, and having a growing number of learning resources like ‘Hulihua’ makes it even better.”
The program currently contains a list of approximately 400 five-letter words assembled from some older texts. Donaghy says that although the vocabulary list is incomplete at the moment, he will continue to increase the word count in the months to come.
Mākaukau anei? E pa’ani! (Are you ready? Go play!)