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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?

October 18, 2018



Unless we're looking at mutual loanwords from English I'd imagine it's a coincidence. None of these words strike me as likely candidates for that. But it's still fun to note similarities when they arise.


I checked them on Wiktionary, and yeah they have independent origins. That's what makes it fascinating that they're so similar.


Ah, excuse me, I must have misread your post.


Hmm... Are you pronouncing “Wa-HI-ne” as “Va-heen”? Wahine doesnʻt rhyme with “bean”.

Iʻm not sure how the two sound the same. And then how is “iasc” pronounced?

Iʻa sounds like the the E in easy, and the A in above, but with a little glottal stop in between like the one that occurs in “uh-oh”:

E(ase)-A(bove) -> I-a. -> Iʻa


I'm not saying they rhyme, I'm saying that their syllabic structure has some similarity. Yes, I am aware that "wahine" has a "neh" sound at the end. "Bean" is pronounced as the English "ban," and the lenited form (bhean) is pronounced like the English "van."

"Iasc" is pronounced "ee-uhsk", so again they don't rhyme exactly but they still sound alike. In this case, their spelling also bears some resemblance.

Let me use examples from English and Dutch to try and explain what I mean when I say they sound similar.

English: stride
Dutch: schridjen (pronounced "shr-eye-den")

English: bridge
Dutch: brug (pronouned "br-ukh")

So even though these words don't rhyme, you can see how based on their syllables they share some similarity. It's the same thing with the words I described here in this post.


Ō-o! Mahalo for explaining more! Yes, I’m unfamiliar with the Irish language and pronunciation, but now seeing how you mapped it out, I can see it. Awesome!

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