The earliest Hawaiian word lists

Anderson - 1778    Samwell - 1779    Beresford - 1787    Martinez - 1789    Santeliz es Pablo - 1791    Quimper - 1791    
Lisiansky - 1804    Campbell - 1809    Gaimard/Arago - 1819    Bishop/Ellis - 1825    Botta - 1828    Dumont - 1834    

William Beresford's List

The British ship Queen Charlotte, under Capt. George Dixon, stopped at Hawaii on the way from the west coast of America to China, in May, 1786, initiating the fur trade on the northwest coast of America. Dixon's account of the voyages, except for the introduction and navigational details in the appendix, was actually written by William Beresford, described in the introduction as 'a person on board the Queen Charlotte, who has been totally unused to literary pursuits, and equally so to a sea-faring life'. Each chapter is in the form of a letter, signed 'W. B.'.

Beresford's word list appears as letter 41, dated September 1787, after the ships' return to the Hawaiian Islands. Because they were six weeks too early to head north, they spent the longest time at Kauaʻi — specifically Waimea Bay, where they apparently had more personal contact with the Hawaiians, more leisure, and more time for observation. (The use of t, rather than k, adds strength to the argument that a speaker from Kauaʻi [or Niʻihau] was the informant for the list.) Interestingly, Beresford also went up the Waimea River, following the path that William Anderson had trod nearly a decade earlier.

adapted from Albert J. Schütz, "Voices of Eden" pp. 35-36.

analyzed and annotated by Albert J. Schütz

click on column heading to sort

num.list wordmodern Hawaiianlist gloss
1.Taniekānea husband
2.Whaheenewahinea wife or woman
3.Madooa taniemakua kānefather
4.Madooa whaheenemakuahine [makua wahine]mother
5.Titu naniekaikunānebrother
6.Titu whaheenekaikuahinesister
7.Titu? kaiku (keiki)child
8.Myre? mōʻīa king
9.Areealiʻia chief
10.Towtow? kauāa slave or menial servant
11.Tata___a man or Mr.
12.Boapuaʻaa hog
13.Manumanua fowl
14.Ei hahe iʻafish in general
16.Neehuniucocoa nuts
17.Tosugar cane
19.Tarokaloa large root so called
20.Poepoitaro pudding
22.Manomanōa shark
24.Oofe, or oougheuhiyams
25.Malamamalama ('light')the sun
26.Maheinamahinathe moon
27.Booboopūpū ('shell')a button
28.Poreemapūlimaa number of buttons on a string
29.Houhaoa nail
30.Mattoumakaua fish-hook
31.Araia___a feather necklace
32.Taheidykahilia fan or fly-flap
33.Pahou___a spear
35.Avaʻawaan intoxicating root
36.Matanomakanaa present
37.Avahahe waʻaa canoe
38.Toa? hoea paddle
39.Tiboipua gourd or calabash
40.Hi dirrohele (i) lalogo below
41.Tabahouka pahua pail or bucket
42.Tabookapuan interdiction
43.Tourokaularope or line of any kind
44.Toekoʻia stone in the shape of an adze, a flat piece of iron
45.Marowmalocloth wore by the men
46.Ahouʻahua piece of cloth wore by the women round the waist
48.Mytymaikaʻigood, pretty, fine, right
49.Areeaalia ('wait')presently, by and bye
50.Pe emy? piʻi maicome here, bring it here
51.Mere mere___shew me
52.Arreheleget away, march off
53.Areutahele (i) ukaon shore
55.Heeva___a song in chorus
59.Moemoeto sleep
62.Mememimito make water
63.Tootikūkaeto ease nature
64.Hone honehonihonito salute
65.Pahapahamay be, perhaps
66.Arou arou___great plenty
67.Emotoomokuold, broke, much wore
68.Matte mattemakedead, to kill
69.Oureʻaʻolea denial of any kind
70.Owhytoenoaʻo wai kou inoawhat is your name
71.Poota pootapukaa hole
72.Poone poonepunipunia liar or deceitful person
*(misprint for earua?)


[Beresford, William]. 1789. A Voyage Round the World, but More Particularly to the North-west Coast of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon ... By Captain George Dixon. London: Goulding. xxix, [2], 360 pp. [Although Dixon is listed as the author, he was actually an editor; the forty-nine chapters appear as letters signed W.B.. HAW word list, pp. 268–70.]