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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Ukulele,

  • a small, four-stringed guitar.

  • Oddly enough, the word ukulele,

  • in its native Hawaiian,

  • literally translates to jumping flea.

  • Even more surprising,

  • the instrument itself did not originate in Hawaii.

  • So, how did a Hawaiian word

  • come to describe a non-Hawaiian instrument?

  • Back in the late 1800s,

  • King Kalākaua was the last reigning king

  • of the kingdom of Hawaii.

  • He was nicknamed "The Merry Monarch"

  • because of his joy for life

  • and, in particular, his love of music.

  • In the King's court,

  • there was a former British army officer

  • named Edward Purvis.

  • Though a small man,

  • he was quite lively,

  • and his nickname was "Jumping Flea,"

  • "Ukulele" in Hawaiian.

  • Like the King, he was a great lover of music.

  • In 1879, a group of Portuguese immigrants

  • arrived on the islands of Hawaii,

  • bringing with them a small, four-stringed guitar

  • known as a braguinha.

  • Purvis was immediately taken with the instrument

  • and helped spread its popularity

  • throughout the King's court.

  • As the story goes,

  • it was not long before his nickname, Ukulele,

  • jumped from the man to his favorite instrument.

  • As demand grew, several Portuguese families

  • began to manufacture

  • the minuscule guitar on the islands,

  • making small modifications

  • until it became the same ukulele we recognize today.

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B1 TED-Ed ukulele hawaiian instrument king hawaii

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Ukulele - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    姚易辰 posted on 2014/02/13
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