Although Hawaii was first inhabited by humans 1500 years ago, the origins of the Hawaiian language is much older as it is derived from a Malayo-Polynesian language used by the first sefarers to discover the island. When Captain James Cook visited the islands in 1778, the descendents of these seafarers had developed a long established preliterate agricultural society.
Although English is the most frequently used language in Hawaii today, Hawaiian is still spoken. A Pidgin English, which uses the vocabulary of both languages and differs from standard English in both word use and inflection, is also spoken. Interestingly, the Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, and u, and the consonants h, k, l, m, n, p, and w (sometimes pronounced as v). Each vowel is pronounced separately.