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Polynesian Languages with Long Marks

If you are typing these Polynesian languages without long marks, then you need do nothing, but if you need to include long marks, then you may want to use these tools.

Thanks to Andrew Thomas for technical advice.

Page Content

  1. Long Marks, ʻOkina and Unicode
  2. Browser and Font Setup
  3. Typing Long Marks
    1. Windows Maori Keyboard
    2. Windows Word 2003/2007 Alt Codes
    3. Windows Char Map System Set Up Tab
    4. Macintosh OS X Extended Keyboard Accent Codes
  4. Web Development
  5. Other Accents (Acute/Umlaut) (New Page)
  6. Links

Long Marks, ʻOkina and Unicode

Long Mark (e.g. ā)

Unlike other accent marks (e.g. á, ä), Hawaiian and Maori long marks are not a part of the older Latin 1 encoding set used for Spanish, French and Italian, but they are a part of Unicode. Therefore, they may not be fully supported in any software or platform not equipped to handle Unicode data.

ʻOkina Glottal Mark Sign (e.g. Oʻahu)

The ʻokina mark used in Hawaiian to signify a glottal stop as in the island name Oʻahu is technically an upside down apostrophe (U+02BB), which is similar to a left facing (and upside down) apstrophe symbol used in English single quotes.

Other Polynesian languages such as Tongan (the fakauʻa) use either this symbol or a variant of an apostrophe to indicate a glottal stop.

Browser and Font Setup


Many modern provided by Micosoft (for Windows) or Apple (for Macintosh) include the long marks. These include Times New Roman, Cambria, Arial, Helvetica, Garamond, Palatino/Book Antiqua and many others.

Additional freeware fonts can be downloaded from from the sites below. These fonts are designed for medieval or ancient scholars and include additional symbols.

Manually Switch Encoding

If you see question marks or odd characters on a Web site instead of Hawaiian and Maori long vowels you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Unicode encoding under the View menu of your browser.

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Windows Maori Keyboard

Recent versions of Windows include a Maori keyboard utility which allows users to easily type long marks from the keyboard. Users can either activate it from the control panel or download it from Microsoft New Zealand.

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Windows Word Alt Codes

If you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (2003+), you can use the  following ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a Latin character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application.

Notes on the Codes

NOTE: Users with older versions of Windows may need to use the Character Map utility.

Word ALT Codes for long vowels

Capital Vowels
Vwl ALT Code
Ā ALT+0256
Cap long A
Ē ALT+0274
Cap long E
Ī ALT+0298
Cap long I
Ō ALT+0332
Cap long O
Ū ALT+0362
Cap long U
Lower Vowels
Vwl ALT Code
ā ALT+0257
Lower long A
ē ALT+0275
Lower long E
ī ALT+0299
Lower long I
ō ALT+0333
Lower long O
ū ALT+0363
Lower long U
Sym ALT Code
ʻ ALT+0699


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Macintosh OS X Extended Keyboard Accent Codes

Apple has provided additional keyboards which allow you to enter Old English characters via Unicode. If you are working with a Unicode aware application such as Microsoft Office 2004, Text Edit (free with OS X ), Dreamweaver or Netscape 7 Composer /Mozilla Composer you can one of several keyboards to input the characters.

Extended Keyboard

For long vowels, you can switch to the U.S. Extended keyboard (10.3) then type Option+A, then the vowel.

Macron ā, Ā Option+A, V
ʻOkina ʻ Option+]

Hawaiian and Maori Keyboards

Apple also includes keyboards for Hawiian and Maori. Follow the instructions for activating Macintosh international keyboards.

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Unicode Accent Codes for HTML

Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

In addition to Hawaiian and Maori, other languages like Maori, Hawaiian and Sanskrit also use macrons, so these languages codes will also be listed.

See Using Encoding and Language Codes for more information on the meaning and implementation of these codes.

The HTML Entity Codes

Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML. For instance, if you want to type bōnus with a long O, you would type bōnus. These numbers are also used with the Windows Word 2003 Alt codes listed above.

NOTE: Your page should declare utf-8 encoding or else the characters may not display in older browsers. Because these are Unicode characters, the formatting may not exactly match that of the surrounding text depending on the browser.

Unicode Entity Codes for long vowels

Capital Vowels
Vwl Entity Code
Capital Long A
Capital Long E
Capital Long I
Capital Long O
Capital Long U
Lower Vowels
Vwl Entity Code
ā ā
Lower long A
ē ē
Lower long E
ī ī
Lower long I
ō ō
Lower long O
ū ū
Lower long U
Sym ALT Code
ʻ ʻ

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

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Polynesian Computing

Web Development

These links focus on Māori and Hawai'ian, but can also be used for Latin.

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Last Modified: Friday, 29-Jul-2016 13:40:15 EDT