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Irish and Hawaiian similar words

I've found four that can't be explained by influence on each other or from other languages:

lá and lā = day

iasc and i'a = fish

na and nā = the plural definite article

bean and wahine = woman*

*These two might seem less similar, but "wahine" is pronounced with something of a "v" sound at the beginning, and v is basically a soft b. This makes the lenited form of "bean" (bhean) even more similar to it.

Anyone know any other similar words between these two languages?

Note: I may have gotten a downvote just now because I posted this topic twice. The reason I did that is to have one post in the Irish subscription and another in the Hawaiian one. Not everyone has both of them.

October 18, 2018



I speak Irish and was translating my notes into Irish and I was actually kind of shocked at how similar the two languages are. I'm not saying Spanish and Italian similar, more an eerie similarity. They even both have VSO word order. Let's take a sentence just for an example. Excuse my terrible Hawaiian.

Wehe ʻoe i ka puka aniani = Oscalaíonn tú an fhuinneog = You open the window

Word for word: + HW: Open you (obj. marker) the window + IR: Open you the window


Not to mention that they both prefix their first cardinal numbers - Irish with "a" and Hawaiian with "e". Considering they're from completely different language families, it is certainly fascinating to see the similarities between them.

[deactivated user]

    I am wishing that I would have kept a running list of the similarities between Irish and French. Maybe someday scholars will discover that Irish was the proto-language spoken before the contsruction of the Tower of Babel

    • 1489

    Not quite. Irish was actually constructed by 72 scholars who studied the 72 languages that the builders of the Tower of Babel spoke, selecting the best aspect of each of these language to create Irish. (!!!)

    "Gaelic was thus argued to be the only instance of a language that overcame the confusion of tongues, being the first language that was created after the fall of the tower by the seventy-two wise men of the school of Fenius, choosing all that was best in each language to implement in Irish."

    This blog post also has an interesting take on this story.


    Airgead = argent (meaning money besides silver) Salach = sale Níl ach... = ne... que Two different words for hair red and “red” red (rua/déarg = roux/rouge)

    There are others of course but these are the ones that always make me smile, because French and Irish are two of my favourite languages. Please add them here if you can think of more, I was thinking of starting a new discussion just about this!

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