|ʻOkina letter forms|
|The Tongan fakauʻa letter or Hawaiian ʻokina encoded as U+02BB (in Unicode), derived from the Lucida Sans font.|
|The Tahitian ʻeta letter (or Wallisian fakamoga), currently not encoded correctly, derived from the Lucida Sans font.|
|quotes, font: Linux Libertine. The glyph of the two ʻokinas is clearly different from the one of the opening quote.|
The ʻokina, also called by several other names (see examples below), is a unicameral consonant letter used within the Latin script to mark the phonetic glottal stop, as it is used in many Polynesian languages.
|Area||Vernacular name||Literal meaning||Notes|
(honorific for fakamonga)
|throat maker||officially formalized|
|Wallisian (in ʻUvea)||fakamoga||by throat||no official or traditional status, may use ' or ‘ or ’|
|Tahitian||ʻeta||ʻetaʻeta = to harden||no official or traditional status, may use ' or ‘ or ’|
|Cook Islands Maori||ʻamata or ʻakairo ʻamata||"Hamsah" or "Hamsah mark"||no official or traditional status, may use ' or ‘ or ’ or nothing|
|Samoan||koma liliu||"inverted comma"—inverted (liliu) comma (koma)||often replaced by an apostrophe in modern publications, recognized by Samoan scholars and community.|
|Uzbek||No formal name||When the Uzbek language is written using the Latin script, either the single opening quotation mark (‘) (U+2018) or the ʻokina (ʻ) (U+02BB) is used to write the letters Oʻ (Cyrillic Ў) and Gʻ (Cyrillic Ғ). It has not been officially specified which character should be used to form these letters. While some websites including the Uzbek Wikipedia use the ʻokina, others including some Uzbek governmental websites such as the Governmental Portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan use the single opening quotation mark. The modifier letter apostrophe (ʼ) (tutuq belgisi) is used to mark the phonetic glottal stop when it is put immediately before a vowel in borrowed words, as in sanʼat (art). The modifier letter apostrophe is also used to mark a long vowel when placed immediately after a vowel, as in maʼno (meaning).|
Geographic names in the United States 
The United States Board on Geographic Names lists relevant place names both with and without the ʻokina and kahakō in the Geographic Names Information System. Colloquially and formally, the forms have long been used interchangeably.
Encoding and displaying the Polynesian glottal 
Old conventions 
In plain ASCII the glottal is sometimes represented by the apostrophe character ('), ASCII value 39 in decimal and 27 in hexadecimal, which in most fonts currently used renders as a straight, data-processing, typewriter apostrophe as is also specified in Unicode. It is not the correct shape, and in some older fonts, especially those used on Unix-like platforms and related platforms and on an MS-DOS screen, it renders as a right single quotation mark, which is even further away from the shape of an ʻokina compared to an apostrophe.
The new standard and transitional problems 
Years, ago, lack of support for this character in older fonts (and some newer fonts) prevented easy and universal use of the new character. But As of 2008[update], Apple Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Linux based computers and all new major smartphones have no problem with the glyph, and it is no longer a problem in Internet Explorer 7 as it was in previous versions. U+02BB should be the value used in encoding new data when the expected use of the data permits.
This character is also a proper one for a Latin-letter transliteration of the Hebrew letter ʻáyin and the Arabic letter ʻayn. They are sometimes also rendered by a superscript half ring with the opening to the right ( ʿ ) or even, as a typographical fallback, a superscript c ( c ).
Unicode encodes a glottal stop at U+02C0 MODIFIER LETTER GLOTTAL STOP (ˀ), but this is intended for IPA usage, and is inappropriate for ʻokina.
Its orientation and curve should not depend on the font style for apostrophes (so using a left apostrophe is wrong too, because it can be drawn either like a superscript non-curved mirrored comma, or a superscript 6-shaped apostrophe).
Texts written natively in some Polynesian languages (Tahitian and Wallisian)[verification needed] draw the glottal stop very differently, looking like none of the apostrophe, mirrored apostrophe, turned comma, or accent letter. This letter is more like a 9-shaped left apostrophe, turned about 60 to 90 degrees counter-clockwise.
Tentative approximations 
A display work-around 
Because this character is not found in many fonts, it may not appear properly on all computer systems and in all configurations. Accordingly, where U+02BB should properly be used, the Unicode punctuation character U+2018 LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK, ‘, represented by the HTML entity
‘, is sometimes used instead. It is nearly identical in appearance to U+02BB, but is treated as a punctuation mark rather than a letter by applications.
In practical terms, this only matters with regard to page breaks, hyphenation, and capitalization; these usually cause few problems. This symbol is also used instead of the recommended turned comma letter symbol in transliterations from Semitic languages to ensure proper display on the widest number of browsers.
The problem with this left single quotation mark character is that, depending on font style design, the single quotation mark may have two very different shapes, one of which is incompatible with the okina:
- a superscript straight mirrored comma, drawn from bottom to top and normally thicker on the bottom right than on the top left. The thicker end on the bottom is incompatible.
- the modifier letter turned comma, but it may still be wrong as it could be drawn in some font designs as an oblique straight line or a wedge without the needed curve, or the curve will be made so that its center will be on the left or top right, when the okina curve should be centered and opened on the bottom or bottom left.
Use of apostrophe 
In some sans-serif fonts non-bolded and at normal size, the left single quotation character does not appear distinctly different from the straight apostrophe or from the right single quotation character. In Hawaiian, where only one of these curly quotation forms is used as a letter, this matters little. It is more problematic in displaying transliterations from Semitic languages where both left- and right-facing characters are used with different meanings. However, according to Kualono, in reference to the ʻokina and kahakō, "though native speakers of the past and even those still living did not use them, it is a great help to those learning Hawaiian as a second language. Their use is now accepted as standard in the written form of the language by all university and private offices involved in Hawaiian language education. To omit the ‘okina and kahakō in print or in computer representations of the language is to do the language a great injustice, and we consider this omission of the ʻokina and kahakō in words where they do exist to be a misspelling of those words. Until the past 8 to 10 years there were no tools for properly and easily representing the ʻokina and kahakō on the computer. With the availability of the tools on this website and available from commercial developers, there is no longer an acceptable excuse for not using the ʻokina and kahakō."
See also 
- Unicode Standard 5.1
- Hunkin, Galumalemana Afeleti (2009). Gagana Samoa: A Samoan Language Coursebook. University of Hawaii Press. p. xiii. ISBN 0-8248-3131-4. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Main Page of Uzlib" (in Uzbek). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "The Governmental Portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan". Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- "Principal Orthographic Rules For The Uzbek Language", the Uzbekistan Cabinet of Minister's Resolution No. 339. Adopted on August 24, 1995. Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- U.S. Board on Geographic Names: Collection and Dissemination of Indigenous Names (United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Twenty-third Session Vienna, 28 March – 4 April 2006, Working Paper No. 82), S. 3: "An example of this has been the addition of the glottal stop (okina) and macron (kahako) to placenames of Hawaiian origin, which prior to 1995 had always been omitted. The BGN staff, under the direction and guidance of the Hawaii State Geographic Names Authority, has been restoring systemically these marks to each Hawaiian name listed in GNIS."
- The correct Unicode values and HTML entities for Hawaiian in Unicode
- Apple compatibility with Hawaiian added in OS 10.2
- Apple Computer Includes Hawaiian Language Support With Latest Operating System.
- Honolulu Advertiser (September 2, 2002): I mua! Macintosh 'speaks' Hawaiian
- Starbulletin (September 16, 2002): Macs upgrade to isle punctuation
- SFGate (September 9, 2002): Hawaiian language advocates applaud new Mac operating system.
- Honolulu Advertiser (June 28, 2004): Hawaiian spellings catch on, but slowly. (On slow progress in using proper Hawaiian spellings instead of makeshift English spelling.)
- Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library: Browser information for viewing Hawaiian characters
- The Okina in French Polynesian, a graphic example on the top of the page of the official website of the commune of Faa'a, capital of the French Polynesia (this explains why the INSEE still encodes it like the French apostrophe).
- Polynesian Font hints and information on encoding.