Irwin: What’s in a word?

In the first column I wrote for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald I misused the word “kama‘aina.” I quickly learned that there are haole ways of using some Hawaiian words and the authentic Hawaiian ways of understanding those words. That lesson sticks with me. Language is a complex thing; it can provide a pathway to understanding, but it can also harm when used with bad intentions. It allows us a window into culture, however, and it empowers those who understand it and know it well.