Is there a systematic difference between possessive and nominative pronouns?
Is kona a gender neutral term? It seems to refer to him or her but I'm not sure.
Hawaiian doesnt have any gender specific pronouns. The gender is usually implied/assumed based on context or prior knowledge.
Kona is gender neutral, and it refers to someone else over there(don't know the linguistic term for it, but "kona" translates to "their" approximately). It should be "What is their name?"
Kona - is his or her. Their - is ko/ka lāua when referring to only 2 people or ko/ka lākou when referring to 3 or more people
In english, plural pronouns are sometimes used as gender neutral singular pronouns:
1) When the gender is unknown:
Q: Where is Alex?
listener does not know/is not sure whether Alex is male or female.
A: They (=he/she) are at the park.
2) When something applies to both genders:
They (=he/she) should earn their (=his or her) own money.
Can you give them (=him/her) their (=his/her) money.
There is a lot of debate on this usage of the plural pronouns.
The use of their as a gender neutral singular third person possessive is colloquial. Standard English would still be to use his or her. That said, when teaching the basics of a language giving their which is typically considered a plural possessive instead of his/her as the corresponding singular possessive would confuse learners, particularly non-native English speakers.
O believe it to be best to leave the possible answers as What is her name? & What is his name? Native speakers could easily understand the implication of the natural ambiguity of the word kona and its upcoming pair käna in regards to the use of their.
What is her/his name? or "WHO "is her/his name? Is there a spiritual element to giving a newborn a name in the Hawaiian culture?
What means 'o in all these sentences? I only know 'ō means fork. So I'm a bit confused
The words 'ō and 'o ( 'O ) are different. A sentence in Hawaiian cannot start with a definite noun or article or name alone.
Before the interrogative pronoun wai, before names like Keoki, before definite nouns like ke keiki for example, you need to start the sentence with 'O. It has no meaning in English.
This particle is common in Polynesian languages.
why "kona" and not "'o ia"? Couldnt it be something like "'O wai 'o ia inoa"? (trying not to sound dumb - cut me some slack its 1am lol!) i do wish there was some more information provided on sentance structure.
I think 'kona' is possesive (his/hers) and ''o ia' is nominative - or the subject/verb in the sentence - (he is/she is). You want to say 'What is his/her name?' not, 'What is he/she is name?' I hope that is helpful!