"He ʻohana ʻo Kaʻiulani."

Translation:Kaʻiulani is family.

October 7, 2018

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Iʻm not sure how to understand this sentence. Is it meant to say that Kaʻiulani is "a part/member of the family"?


Yes, I do believe so. “X is Y” in English is “He Y X” in Hawaiian.


Actually, "X is a Y" in English is "He Y X" in Hawaiʻian. Hence DouglasJulien's confusion. "Family" in the English sentence is an adjective and can't receive an article, so the Hawaiʻian sentence wouldn't make sense if translated word for word.


So this is like, "Do you know Maria well?" "Oh, yeah, Maria is family!" (which either means she's a member of the family or that she's just like she is)? At first, I thought it meant that Ka'iulani was a word for family, but I knew that family was ohana, so that probably wasn't it.


I don't understand this sentence


Is this an actual Hawaiian sentence, or is it an English one that simply doesn't translate well into Hawaiian?


This is confusing as there is no verb in the Hawaiian, and "He" is translated "a".


For that sentence, "He" (placed in the front) is treated as "to be".


It works only if the meaning is figurative, i.e. "Ka'iulani is like family"


Why not "... a family" ?


I think that "ʻohana" can also be used for "family member". So I suppose you could also say, "Kaʻiulani is a family member." I wonder if they also accept that as a translation. It's a weird thing to say in English, but grammatical. And even weirder thing to say in English is "Kaʻiulani is a family." I'm sure they don't accept that - it just doesn't make any sense at all.


Why is "Ka'iulani is a family" is weird in English?

"The phrase "they are family" often means "they are related", and is sometimes used for 100 or more people, all aunts and uncles and cousins of each other, that stay in contact. But "A family" usually means the 2,3,4,5 that live together."


Note that in this link, the responses indicate that "are a family" and "are family" have different meanings. The "a family" meaning CANNOT be applied to one person. The "family" meaning CAN be applied to one person.


Right. Kaʻiulani is one person and cannot be a whole family all by herself. It takes multiple people to be a family.


But, then Ka'iulani can be neither "family" nor "a family". Ok, I am not nitpicking, just curious. Mahalo kēia hui 'ana!


I see where your confusion is. When used without an article "family" does not refer to a specific family, but rather to the concept of being related as family members. In English, "So-and-so is family," means something different than "so-and-so is a family." "So-and-so is family," is a special phrase which means, "so-and-so is related to me," and is often used in situations where a person is not actually related by blood to mean something like, "I consider so-and-so to be a member of my family even though they are not genetically related." "So-and-so is family," is actually a shorter way to say, "So-and-so is a member of my family." The Hawaiian phrase would literally be translated as, "Kaʻiulani is a family member," but it's more common in English to say this as, "Kaʻiulani is family."


Yes, I see now, thanks! Mahalo, mānama pono!


It would make sense if "He o'hana 'o Ka'iulani were translated as "Ka'iulani is a relative". At least, less controversial.


I suspect they accept that as a translation. But the two phrases have different meanings. "Kaʻiulani is a relative" is only used when they are related by blood. "Kaʻiulani is family" can also be used when they are not actually related, but you consider them to be a family member anyway. For native English speakers this is not usually controversial at all, but I can see how it could be confusing for non-native English speakers. However, this course is for native English speakers, so others using the course should expect to run into confusing subtleties like this.


I'm a native English speaker and I would never use it that way, so be careful about how you apply that definition. But I guess some people do, so the dictionary includes it. I'm assuming that the dictionary also did not list the definition of "family" that we've been discussing. Trust a native speaker over a dictionary, but since things can be very regional, also be prepared for differences.

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