Why Are YOU Learning Hawaiian?
The Hawaiian course came out! Exciting! Why did you decide to learn Hawaiian? Just curious. :)
I was a little haole boy on Oahu for the 70s, and though I spoke the more-common "pidgin" (still can), nobody spoke the pure Hawaiian language. Wonderful to learn and remember some familiar words, but also learn the grammar and see how it all pulls together as a real language.
It sounds nice to speak, the grammar seems quite straightforward (and with some of the same features as Esperanto, such as little/no inflection) and I care about preserving endangered languages.
Edit: I watched some videos about the language and the relationship to Hawai'ian culture, and really like some of the cultural ideas embedded in it, like defining location relative to the mountains or the sea.
I try to celebrate the good things my ancestors did and make amends for the bad. My country almost killed this language; the least I can do is spend a little time helping to bring it back, even if it's just a symbolic gesture.
It's also a beautiful language, and I like the idea of being able to pay a bit of respect to the island when I eventually find myself there. It's treated so absurdly in the media, like a theme park.
I'm speaking from experience, I live on the big island and grew up here.
If you're going to my island for a short visit, you'll probably only come across the following with any degree of frequency:
aloha - love - aloha spirit/drive with aloha. Greeting and parting.
mahalo/nui loa - thank you/very much.
mālama/pono - take care, Mālama Market (caring market)
a'ole - no - "A'ole to drugs," is a common one.
keiki - child/children.
haole - same as gringo in Spanish.
kapu - forbidden - common for no trespassing signs.
mauka - mountain - you'll hear it for weather reports every day.
Pele - the name of the Goddess of the volcano.
hula - the native Hawaiian form of dance.
hele - go - 'Hele-On' is the name of the bus service on Hawai'i.
hana hou - again. "You like catch another wave, brah?" - "Hana hou!"
e komo mai - welcome - on store signs like, "Aloha e komo mai."
kuleana - responsibility - it's your kuleana to throw away your rubbish.
'ono - tasty - "The plate lunch at L&L is 'ono."
'ohana - family. Also used to describe a separate living area on a property.
Variations on aloha as a greeting aren't super common outside of more formal gatherings, like, maybe at a party or in a classroom you'll have someone address everyone with aloha kākou, or aloha kakahiaka kākou if it's in the morning.
You'll certainly come across plenty of other words, especially names, but probably only once or twice if you're not there for an extended period of time.
Finish this course and you'll know more grammar and articles, though less general words/phrases than most maka‘āinana.
I hope you enjoy your time in the islands.
Hawaiian has a good deal in common with Irish. They're island languages, their cultures have experienced similar histories (separate kingdoms being later unified, their conquest and domination by foreign powers, their language being suppressed by those powers, etc.), and they both have a VSO grammatical structure.
Although I'm concentrating on Irish and Spanish at the moment, I would like to learn some Hawaiian also in order to help Hawaiians keep their language alive. I'm learning Irish to help save my own ancestors' language from extinction, so I figure why not help another people do the same?
Also, the Hawaiian language makes me think of Hawaii's natural environment, its music and its indigenous culture - all things I find fascinating about it. Someday hopefully I'll go there, and be able to have at least an introductory chat with someone in Hawaiian.
Well... there are plenty of reasons.
For one, I think that Mandarin and Hawaiian go well with each other. For example, they have simplified grammar, no conjugations, no gender affiliations... Not to mention that in one of my favorite kid’s shows: “Ni Hao, Kai Lan”, there’s a group of animals called Hula Ducks, which I find very cute.
Then, there’s my bloodline. My purest bloodlines from ancestors consist of Scotts/Irish and Cherokee/French-Indian, the lader I would like to focus on. Now, even though I’m not directly related to Hawaiians, Native American societies and Hawaii have lots in common. They’re ancient civilizations in the Americas, and they have been affected drastically by the Americans in some way, including language; both Navajo/Cherokee (along with other Native American languages) and Hawaiian have been nearly eradicated by the American’s questionable actions (I hate myself.). What’s better than to learn Hawaiian for a good cause? Besides, I can’t get my head around Navajo or Cherokee.
And an extra minor thing: if you ever watched “Lilo & Stitch”, you may have heard of the constructed language “Tantalog”, which is said to be a mix between Chinese and Hawaiian along with something called “Creeks”, a lesser known language from England. That’s perfect! Learning both Mandarin and Hawaiian will motivate me to learn Tantalog as well; and being a notorious language-maker, I could even extend it with my own fan-made translations.
Oh, and of course there’s the culture, which I am fascinated by as much as Chinese culture. Culture plays a big role in motivation for language learning for the most part, and I think Hawaii’s atmosphere, music, food, and landmarks, along with ancient traditions amuse me. I’d say that ancient cultures like the ones in Egypt, India, China, Greece, and in the Austronesian areas - and to some extent, the old Americas and U.K - are more powerful and interesting than modern ones like in Russia, France, Spain, Italy (Although the Renesance is quite interesting), Brazil, Portugal, and even my own country/continent for that matter.
So, there. Those are four reasons why I’m learning Hawaiian at the moment. I’m just happy over 10,000 people are picking up on this and increasing the population of speakers ten-fold. I wish everyone pōmaikaʻi (good luck).
Why do you hate yourself for the actions of people who are long dead and likely weren't even related to you?
Also, I'll point out that the bad things America did generally didn't have popular support. Slavery for instance, was supported by a minority of Americans, and the Trail of Tears was carried out illegally by a president who thwarted the separation of powers - the supreme court had ruled that the Cherokee couldn't be forced from their lands.
You aren't responsible for the actions of others.
I am learning it because: 1 - movies! Lilo & Stitch was one of my favorite movies. And (yes, I know it is a mix of Pacific Island cultures) Moana 2 - music... from the movies listed above 3 - it seems like a really interesting language. 4 - I challenged my American History students to learn it, so.... I have to keep some skin in that game.... :p
I'm Maori, and am learning Maori, and as i know Maori and Hawaiian are very similar and have the orgins, I'm learning hawaiian to be a nerd and find out exectly how similar they are. (answer: very very similar. Same sentences structures/grammar, most of the words the words are the same or very similar...feels more like learning a dialectal then another language). Also to help out my cuzzies over in Hawai'i keep their language alive and learn a bit more about how they do things in the islands. Also interesting learning the differences and similarites in polynesians cultures.
Like many people who land in Hawaii, I felt completely disoriented and completely at home at the same time. In other words, I was in love! Everything I saw and felt was both utterly strange and familiar at the same time, even the sun and the sky. The Hawaiian language, on the other hand, seemed to have been created as a cooperative venture between the native people and this enchanting land. All the Hawaiian words seemed to make more sense in this world than English, which seemed alien and imposed on a magical land that it could not adequately describe. I felt a tremendous desire to learn at least the rudiments of Hawaiian. That was forty years ago. The desire is still intense.
I've been working towards relocating to the Big Island for a year now. Although not required, knowledge of the Hawaiian language will be a huge benefit to understanding and appreciating the culture. As a future resident, I want my Hawaii experience to be more substantial and rewarding than simply beaches and maitais.