Albert J. Schutz began studying Pacific languages in 1960, when, as a graduate student from Cornell University, he conducted a dialect survey in Fiji. This focus on Fijian, which later included heading a dictionary project and writing both a reference grammar and a tourist guide to the language, widened to include a language from Vanuatu to the west and Tongan to the south.
His interest in Hawaiian, long dormant since taking a course in the language in 1962, was revived in the early 1980s. This concise, conveniently sized mini-book serves as a friendly introduction to the Hawaiian language, teaching the native alphabet, proper pronunciation, and commonly used words and phrases with wood-block illustrations. Since that time, he has written about Hawaiian's sound system and how the language has been viewed by scholars from 1778 to the present.
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