1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hawaiian
  4. >
  5. Why Are YOU Learning Hawaiian?


Why Are YOU Learning Hawaiian?

The Hawaiian course came out! Exciting! Why did you decide to learn Hawaiian? Just curious. :)

October 10, 2018



To honor my ancestors by keeping our language alive.


I lived in Hawai'i for all my life, and I've always felt disconnected from the Hawaiian culture and language. With technology advancing so rapidly, platforms like Duolingo makes learning Hawaiian accessible.


i really like hawaiian mythology so i want to learn the language


For me it's mainly because Hawaiʻi is home to me :) And also because it's an endangered language, so it's important for people to learn it to keep the Hawaiian culture and language alive! Especially since it has persisted this far despite past attempts to wipe it out.


I was just curious when I saw the course and now I've fallen in love with the language. I want to learn as much as I can about Hawaii now.


You should go! It is the most beautiful place on Earth!


Nah it is France. Well, for now, arrivederci!


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 visiting Hawaii at the end of the month. I thought I’d learn some greeting etc before I go. The course is short so I might be able to finish it by then.


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.


I lived there too and you've pretty much nailed all the common words!


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.


I believe everyone should know how to speak their native tongue. Hawaiians like Native Americans were not allowed to speak our native language among other things at one point in our histories.


Learning languages is fun. The more knowledge the better ;)

[deactivated user]

    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.


    Contemporary public opinion on slavery and Cherokee removal a little more complicated than you suggest, but you're basically right--facts that have been widely suppressed for many decades. And Grover Cleveland came close to restoring the Hawai'an monarchy.


    I want to live in Hawaii one day.


    I hate when languages die, and Hawaiian is endangered So I'm trying to keep it alive!!


    Me too! I try to keep High Valyrian and Klingon and even Busuu (the language of the Cameroons, not the website) alive!


    this post was made 2 years ago .,. i don't know if anyone else would respond


    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


    From a history teachers perspective, do you ever go into depth about the role that Hawaii had in US history books?


    I love both Lilo and Stich and Moana! If you're learning a language because of movies you've picked some pretty good cultural references! I know that at least Moana took years of research in Polynesia.


    To be close to my Filipino-Hawaiian pen pals. AND I'm a surfer.


    He Hawaii au! My daughter goes to a Hawaiian immersion school and I would like to olelo with her.


    I'm so proud of you! You are giving her and your people a wonderful gift.


    Hawai'ian is an American language so I want to learn at least some of it


    I have been learning hula and ukulele on the Mainland and recently took an ʻōlelo workshop through my halau. I would like to continue my studies.


    Because Hawaii is my home! I lived there for ten years but then we had to move because my dad is in the navy. But it is still my home and I try to spread the Aloha wherever I can! Also if any one lived in Aiea/Pearl City area please tell me!


    I just want to :)


    I like Polynesia so I was waitiing for the Hawaiian course even better that I am waiting for the last GOT season)


    i wanna go to hawaii


    Probably Pokemon Sun and Moon got me invested to Hawaiian :)


    Because it is exotic and no one else I know is learning it. I like to impress my friends.


    I want to understand the logic of as many languages as possible. At the same time it would be nice to learn some useful phrases as well.


    Because I've always been super interested in the cultures of Polynesia (Which includes Hawaii if I'm not wrong) and of course that includes doing some language learning!


    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 lived there almost half my life and plan to go back as soon as possible, and in the mean time i want to educate myself more about the culture and language to honor my home :)


    After watched Moana, I really wanted to learn Pacific cultures especially Polynesian cultures and their languages, and thankfully there was Hawaiian course in Duolingo.


    I know that Moana is from the Samoan but I like that movie and I read that they dubbed it in Hawaiian. I hope they distribute publicly that movie, so I can watch it in language.


    Moana is actually based on a combination of Polynesian cultures such as Samoan, Hawaiian, Maori etc.


    The Hawaiian version is so beautiful.


    just for kicks... i also never have had an opportunity to learn an endangered language before!


    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.

    Learn Hawaiian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.