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Long-Named Hawaiian Woman Wins ID Battle

dateline: 17 September 2013

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • syllable: a pronunciation unit containing one vowel sound
  • petition: a formal request for change, made to an authority
  • ID: identification (card)
  • insulted: a feeling of being emotionally attacked or hurt
  • maiden name: the last name a woman inherits at birth
  • late: deceased; no longer alive

Long-Named Hawaiian Woman Wins ID Battle

A woman whose last name contains 36 letters and 19 syllables won a petition to have her full name placed on her driver’s. Since getting married in 1992, the Hawaiian woman (Janice Lokelani Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele) has carried an ID with only part of her last name and none of her first name. The computer system in Hawaii could not more than 35 characters. Janice was insulted when a traffic officer recently suggested she use her maiden name “Worth” since it is . Like many Hawaiian last names, hers has important meanings. Her name also helps her feel close to her late husband who in 2008. By the end of this year, state IDs in Hawaii will be able to accommodate longer names.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What did the Hawaiian woman want?
  2. Why was the Hawaiian woman insulted?
  3. What does the report say about Hawaiian names?

Discussion Question: Is your name difficult for some people to pronounce or spell? Should people take legal steps to shorten their extremely difficult names, or is it more important to preserve one’s heritage?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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