September 5, 2018 — Drops today launched Hawaiian for iOS and Android, making it the first major multi-language app to offer it. Like the other 30 languages Drops offers, Hawaiian will include almost 2000 words, a vocabulary comprehension level that most linguists agree is sufficient for understanding between 80-90% of a language.
Native Hawaiian, an endangered language, is an important part of Hawaiian culture. According to the Endangered Language Project, there are just under 300 native Hawaiian speakers. Around 75% of the Hawaiian population say English is their dominant language, followed by Tagalog and Japanese.
In a study of 326,893 second-language speakers at home, only 5% spoke Hawaiian at home. By the 1980s, the language was on the brink of extinction, when fewer than 50 people under age 18 could speak Hawaiian fluently.
Bringing Hawaiian to language learners
Hawaiian locals and the millions of Drops’ users around the world can now learn the basics of Hawaiian. With vocabulary categories like food (poke, kalua pig), objects (lei), transportation (wiki), and more, users match an image and the corresponding word with the swipe of a finger. These visual mnemonics are proven to help you learn, and remember new words and phrases easily.
The app will include colloquial terms like the “shaka”, a hand gesture used by locals to convey the “Aloha Spirit”, a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity among the various ethnic cultures in Hawaiʻi. Another culturally significant Hawaiian word in the app is Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the native Hawaiian reef triggerfish and state symbol.
“Language connects us to our identity of who we are, and where we are from. The Hawaiian language has a rich history with words and phrases uniquely tied to the values embedded in their culture,” said Daniel Farkas, co-founder and CEO, Drops.
“We worked with native translators to create an experience that delights learners of all ages and all levels — from parents who grew up speaking Hawaiian, to children who may have grown up hearing it, to new users who are passionate about the language’s revival.”
“I moved to Hawaiʻi when I was 12 and learned ʻŌlelo from my kumu in high school and in college. It wasn’t until 1978 that Hawaiian was once again made an official language in the islands alongside English," said Ahonui Mims, Drops translator and Kumu, at LearnHawaiianOnline.com. "Drops on Hawaiian supports the spread of the language and helps it to become part of the household."
Hawaiian launch continues Drops’ huge growth
In just six months, Drops’ has doubled in downloads and company size, making it the fastest growing language app at scale in the world. With a fundamentally different approach to learning, the startup is able to move quickly and buck industry standards, adding new languages in a matter of weeks.
“Given my first language is Hungarian, I have a particular affinity for niche languages. We recently launched Icelandic and the response has been incredible. The work that has already been done in preserving the Hawaiian language is amazing, and we are eager to do our part and help support its resurgence with Hawaiian on Drops,” said Farkas.
Drops is the new way to learn a language that combines beautiful, engaging word puzzles with mnemonic association. Like an online game, Drops is fast and fun and quickly becomes an integral part of your daily routine, thus making it easy to learn one or more of Drops’ 30+ languages. Drops was founded in 2015 by language and learning enthusiasts. Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky. Built off years of research into easier and more effective ways to learn, the app has developed a cult following and is now the fastest-growing language learning app in the world. Drops is available for free on iOS and Android, with a premium version available for $9.99 monthly, $39.99 yearly, or $199 for lifetime access.