Ka hua i ka umauma
He wahi e kukakuka ai i na ano mea like ole e pili ana i ka olelo makuahine.
A place to discuss any and all things about our mother tongue.
The phrase “ka hua i ka umauma” is one I have always been fond of. I first came across it in the Hawaiian Dictionary and, like so many other gems that Pukui chose to put between those pages, I found it a beautiful expression of Hawaiian thought. Pukui translates it literally as “the thought in the heart” but the words themselves evoke lovely imagery and emotion. Indeed, when we have something to tell another person or something to say, it can feel like our chest (or “heart” – both translations of umauma) is full, like a large fruit or seed (hua) has grown inside us that must be plucked and given out.
A quick search in the online Hawaiian language newspapers (nupepa.org – kahi mea mahalo NUI ia) shows the use of the phrase in a variety of contexts. There were several examples of one person going to another with a thought in mind, with something in particular to tell them. There was also a case where it was posed casually as the question, “He aha ka hua i ka umauma?” or, as I read it, “What’s on your mind?” So, a specific message, or what one is thinking and feeling inside were ways I interpreted this turn of phrase. A slightly different understanding was gleaned from a short piece where the editor of Ka Makaainana reminded his readership that the Hawaiian people had not been asked what they thought of annexation and that the ballot box was where people could make their thoughts known: “…a ilaila hoi ka hapanui e kue ai i ka hapauuku me ‘ka hua i ka umauma’ o kela a me keia kane, wahine, a me keiki oiwi o ka aina nei.” I interpreted the phrase in this instance to mean ones true stance or position on something, in this case something very important and “close to home,” as the olelo haole saying goes.
So, whether big or small, it is something to say, words to be expressed, thoughts to be shared, the fruit of the heart offered generously. Olelo Hawaii is something close to many of our hearts, so I thought this phrase fitting for a place to discuss all things pertaining to our language. Twice a month, you can find a little language something here to contemplate and comment on. As a student of the language, I have long wanted a place to discuss and learn more along with others who also share a passion for walaau kanaka. I mea no hoi e nanea ai. So, please comment, discuss, and share (in olelo Hawaii, olelo haole or a mix of both). E hai mai no i ka hua i ka umauma! What comes to mind when you hear this beautiful olelo a na kupuna?