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That's nice. Hula still references Pele, Hi‘iaka, et al just for starters. Then there is still the makahiki celebrated with Lono referenced as another example. Just because your ‘ohana does not consider them important does not mean no one else should. You can speak English to learn about the religion the English speakers brought. Hawaiian language and Hawaiian culture are integral to each other.
It continues to be my question why the section has an emphasis on Jesus, God, Blessings. Does anyone have a link to the people who created the Hawaiian app for Duolingo? Putting the word Jesus randomly amongst answers seems strange and included at all is interesting? Akua, Ke akua makes sense at some point, maybe but not in the beginning lessons for sure. Do other languages use Christian words? Japanese? Chinese? Spanish?
It strikes me that maybe the incubators are taking a missionary way of teaching Olelo Hawaii. Like they are almost trying to pay homage to when the documentation of the language first started. The Hawaiian language wasn't recorded until missionaries tried to communicate with natives. In my opinion introducing Akua so early into the course personally feels oppressive. But that is my opinion.
Here is a list of the duolingo profiles for the Hawaiian language contributors. https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/hw/en/status
Just as a point to consider, religion is NOT the only possible expression of politeness. Do we ever get away from jesu pu on this section, cause I'm leaving it completely unanswered if there's no respite from the missionary talk (they were not the epitome of politeness, according to my reading.
For somebody who isn't Christian, like me, learning to use God and Jesus as a farewell is strange. I'm wondering why religious words are in here. I'm not even sure if Christianity is the main religion in Hawai'i or if Hawai'i even had a main religion. I would like to continue using more common words like "Aloha" for saying goodbye to somebody. I'm not complaining, but I find using these expressions as a farewell is quite different from what I would use.
Christianity is the main religion in Hawai‘i. 2020 is the bicentennial of the arrival of the first Christian missionaries in Hawai‘i. Nevertheless, one of the writers of the course stated that these religious phrases are in common use by the people of the island of Ni‘ihau. Well, that is obviously news to pretty much everyone if you have read all the comments, even to people born and raised in Hawai‘i who know Hawaiian language.
The island of Ni‘ihau is 100% private, and only permanent residents have access to that place and those people. Thus, it begs the question why then the writers would include such phrases that they admit only a small and very restricted part of the population would use - noting again that even people born and raised in Hawai‘i were largely unaware of any of this.
Furthermore, when I pointed out that these expressions are practically unused and not even good grammar, I was accosted with three or four different stories of where they came from. Shocking that these people who were defending their use were being at the very least so disingenuous for offering inaccurate stories. It then makes me wonder if this Ni‘ihau story is also just a story to silence the challenges, since after all, the times I have spent talking to former Ni‘ihau residents, not a single one ever used these.
Thus, to answer your 2nd sentence - why they are here - I refer back to the plethora of comments, especially the ones that claim that the writers of this course have an agenda. Some of the writers have direct connections to Kamehameha Schools, a Christian K-12 private school system, and it has been known to whitewash traditional pre-contact Hawaiian culture.
Language trivia: "good bye" is the shortened form of "God be with you." Ke Akua pū. You don't have to see it as religious. Just something that came into the language and evolved, shifted, mutated, whatever. But if in fact no one SAYS Ke Akua pū, then yes, why are we learning it?
I agree. I stopped that whole lesson (it remains blue among the yellow ones from which I'm actually learning something - that and the "introduction" one are the only blue ones I have. I MAY go back and review the first one - being corona-quarantined is getting a bit boring) and have refused to bother with the same bloody phrase in just about every prompt.