Mele Kalikimaka

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"Mele Kalikimaka" (pronounced [ˈmɛlɛ kəˌlikiˈmɐkə])[a] is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase Mele Kalikimaka, meaning "Merry Christmas".[1] One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca 27228 (78 rpm) / 9-27228 (45 rpm) and it has been covered by many artists. The song is present in the films L.A. Confidential and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

The Beach Boys recorded a song of the same name for their album Ultimate Christmas, but it contains lyrics and music completely different from the song written by Robert Alex Anderson.

Origin of the phrase[edit]

The expression Mele Kalikimaka, despite its foreign sound, is actually borrowed directly from English. But since the Hawaiian language has a different phonological system from English it is not possible to render a pronunciation that is especially close to Merry Christmas. Standard Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and its phonotactic constraints do not permit consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters. Thus the closest approximation to Merry Christmas is Mele Kalikimaka.[2]

Notable versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The phrase is borrowed directly from English but since Hawaiian has a different phonological system—Standard Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and its phonotactic constraints do not permit consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters—"Merry Christmas" becomes Mele Kalikimaka.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elbert, S. & Pukui, M.; Hawaiian Dictionary, page 481
  2. ^ Template:Citation mele kalikimaka

External links[edit]