Learn (some) Olelo Hawaii Here

Aloha kakou: I thought we might benefit from learning/sharing some olelo Hawaii with each other. So here goes... 'O wai kou inoa? (What is your name) kou = your inoa = name No hea mai 'oe? (Where are you from? lit. "from whence are you?") 'oe = you ... ok den, other folks please add on... Aloha! Ikaika

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  • Aloha Kakou! I am glad that I stumbled across to this. I studied 'Olelo Hawai'i for 3 years in college and I am still having trouble making my sentences sound right. I am not fluent in Hawaiian but I love the culture aspects of it. I also love Hawaiian music. E malama pono, a hui hou.
    • Learning any language is difficult, mainly because we learn by books, classes, etc. Practice makes perfect as they say and because I do not get to practice, this is why my grammar and aural skills are low. It would be great if we could find some type of forum, whether on the internet or live in person face to face, where we can just practice speaking and hearing it. I personally hate writing other languages, but to me, that only gives you practice in writing it, where you have time to think about it. Practicing in person however requires different skills where you don't have too much time to think about things.

  • E hoʻomau paha mākou me kou mau nīnau hou:
    We might continue with your new questions:
    hoʻomau (continue)
    paha (perhaps)
    mākou (us [exclusive])
    me (with)
    kou (your ["o" class])
    mau (pluralizing prefix)
    nīnau (question)
    hou (new)

    ʻO wai ke ahupuaʻa āu e noho nei?

    In what ahupuaʻa do you live? or more literally:
    Who the ahupuaʻa yours to live now? or in pidgin structure, closest to Hawaiian sturcture:
    What da ahupuaa you live now?
    ʻO wai (who query)
    ke (the [for words beginning in k, e, a, o])
    ahupuaʻa (traditional land section)
    āu (yours, "a" class)
    noho (reside, live)
    nei (here/now)

    He aha kou lā hānau?
    What's your birthday?
    He aha (what query)
    kou (your ["o" class])
    lā (day)
    hānau (birth)

    Learning Hawaiian is all about structure and vocabulary. Most people learning Hawaiian find early that pidgin structure is often the best way to think to get the Hawaiian structure right: For example:

    Eh, what you doing?
    E, he aha kau hana?
    he aha (what query)
    kau (your)
    hana (action, work, do, make)

    Eh, no make liʻdat!
    E, mai hana pēlā!
    mai (donʻt)
    hana (make)
    pēlā (like that)

    Hō, pretty your lei!
    Hō, Nani kou lei!
    Nani (pretty)
    kou (your)

    Broke da mouth!
    Hewa ka waha!
    Hewa (to satiation or to excess) - also error, sin, evil, but this is not the meaning here.
    ka (the)
    waha (mouth)

    So one standard oli komo (entrance chant) reply goes:
    E hea i ke kanaka e komo ma loko
    E hānai ai a hewa ka waha

    Call to the kanaka to come inside
    And feed [him] until broke da mouth

    OK, enough for now.

    me ke aloha,

    • Aloha and thank you for your wisdom and style of teaching the language in small bits.
      I am pure Hawaiian, but cannot speak Hawaiian. You have put an interest in my head to learn.


  • I must say, `olelo Hawai`i can be so frustrating for me that is why I speak in such bad structure therefore, I have to resort to throwing in a Hawaiian word here and there. Others might be gagging on my writings but if we do not start somewhere, we would never learn and feel free to correct me anyone on my posts. I can make out some of your `olelo Hawai`i comments but just enough to know what most of you are talking about. Sometimes I do presentations on Ethnobotany for various schools and one of them is the Hawaiian immersion. It's sad cause I can say short phrases but not good on structure and possesive A class O class I class. I am more confused when people try to explain it to me. I just clam up and mental block it out and resort to my short phrases again. but I really admire everyone for reviving the Hawaiian language and I'm really proud of my little son who is in his fifth year at the Hawaiian immersion school.
    • I took two years of hawaiian language in high school....and that was a long time ago.....I would like to learn more, but no time right now with my 3 kids. Would love to learn some here!!!
      • Aloha Momi,

        Learning is something that never stops, and this includes learning Hawaiian. No matter how much you learn, there will always be other challenges. I myself have difficulty with the more complicated sentence patterns even if I am pursuing a master's degree in Hawaiian. And you are so right - if we don't start somewhere, we will never learn. It is not about perfection, but the wonderful gift we can give ourselves by taking that first step towards learning Hawaiian, and then the next, and the next, until we discover that we are able to share our thoughts with others in the language of our ancestors.

        The O class and A class concept is something that takes getting used to, but I assure you that with practice, one day it will be second hand to you. A good way to learn this is to look at things around you and practice putting them in either category. Here is the general rule of thumb:

        O class:
        Anything that you can wear - clothing, hats, shoes, slippers, rings, lei
        Anything that was made to be rode in one way or another - vehicles, horses, surfboards
        Anything that was made to sit or lay on - chairs, couch, beds, hammock
        Anything that you can enter and or dwell in such as buildings - house, school, store,
        Older generations - anyone who belongs to the generations that precede yours
        Land - such as birthplace, your hometown, current place of residence, homeland
        Your friends

        A class:
        Your sweetheart or spouse
        Your children
        Animals that were not bred to serve as transportation
        Pretty much anything that is not included in O-class!

        If I missed anything, please add it on - or if anyone has easy ways to remember this stuff, e kōkua mai.
        • Mahalo Nui e Alohalani,

          You are a good teacher... I will try to practice that in that way...

          I hope your going to be a Hawaiian immersion teacher one day...there is a great need for them.

          O wau iho no,

          • Aloha kakou:

            Another way that i learned o/a class is:
            o = things which you have kuleana over, which you don't choose (parents, ancestors, kuleana in general)
            a = things which you choose, or make (a spouse or lover, or a lei which you make)
  • As simplistic as this forum might appear, it's actually the right direction in moving forward & getting everyone up-to-par. I hope this forum takes flight...
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