“Wear lei” strikes me as ungrammatical English; “wear a lei” Seems better, and should be accepted.
Agreed that the English translation would sound better with the indefinite article. This is another great example of the tendency of Polynesian languages not to constrain their use of vocabulary by "parts of speech" as European languages do
I would guess not because (Please correct my vocab if it is wrong, it has been a few days since I have practiced my definite article) ka is singular and na is plural 'the' in Hawaiian. Neither are present in this sentence.
‘A’ole. shouldn’t this translation be “ ʻaʻahu i ka lei” or something like that?
The word lei can be used as an action to mean that you put a lei on yourself or another person or that you are simply wearing one. There is an expression for victory - ua lei i ka lei o ka lanakila.
The imperative e is not always commanding in tone. One example of the use of e lei in this way exists in the well-known song Makalapua, written for Queen Liliʻuokalani.
E lei hoʻi, e Liliʻulani ē
It is not really a "command" to the queen to wear her lei.
in terms of a lei, it means both really. When you say E lei meaning give a lei, that implies that you are putting it on the person so that the person can wear it. So you give it to them that way.
So what you are saying is that it could be used both ways, so you could say "e lei" and be telling someone to wear a lei, or you could say "e lei" and be telling someone to give a lei?
E lei meaning to give a lei implies still that you are putting it on the person to wear. To give a lei meaning to hand it to them (and they hold it instead) is a different verb completely. That would be E hāʻawi i ka lei.
It can have many meanings (I am learning). In this sentence it makes the verb imperative, a command. I learned this from "New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary" by Pukui and Elbert. But, it can have other, different meanings. It is used before proper names: E Pua, hele mai/ Pua, come here. (This example is from the book I mentioned).
Couldn't "Ae, e lei" also be an expression to say "yes, a garland", i.e. as a response to the question "Is that a garland?" Or how would you say that?