"What is your name?"
Translation:ʻO wai kou inoa?
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If it's the beginning of an equational sentence, then the 'O goes at the beginning even if there is a ko'u, but as I understand it, anywhere else in the sentence you wouldn't use 'o before ko'u. Perhaps if you see a sentence with 'o before ko'u again, ask why in that sentence discussion because that seems, to me, to be the one not matching the patterns taught.
I'm not sure what you're asking, but based on your confusion, I suspect it has to do with how specific grammatical terms are used. When speaking generally about themes, we could use the word "subject" to mean the thing we are talking about. We can also saying things like, "it is the object of our concern." Perhaps "subject" and "object" are confusing terms since they are used for different things in different contexts.
When we are talking about grammar, these words take on a much more specific meaning. The "grammatical subject" is the one who is doing the action of the verb. When I say, "The father eats," the grammatical subject is "the father". If we use the word "subject" to refer to the topic or theme being discussed, we might say that it is "eating". But if we are talking about the grammatical subject, it is "the father".
Similarly, the "grammatical object" is the person or thing that the action of the verb happens to or on. In the above sentence, "The father eats," there is no grammatical object - we have not said what he is eating. But if I say, "The father eats poi," I have added a grammatical object of "poi" - "poi" is the thing being eaten.
In English we generally indicate the grammatical subject by putting it in front of the verb and we indicate the grammatical object by putting it after the verb. Thus we say that English is Subject-Verb-Object. In English we do not mark any of these words in any special way and they take exactly the same form whether they are the grammatical subject or the grammatical object - only the placement changes. In English we are required to always include a grammatical subject in a simple sentence, but we don't always have to put a grammatical object. If the grammatical object is missing, there is no confusion because the grammatical subject is always before the noun.
Hawaiian, on the other hand generally uses Verb-Subject-Object placement. It also sometimes marks some of those elements. For instance, if the grammatical subject is a proper noun (like a name) or the pronoun "ia", you have put 'o directly before it. And the grammatical object almost always gets "i" placed before it. In Hawaiian, there is a little more flexibility on dropping the grammatical subject of the sentence - as a general rule, you should always include it, but you will find examples in this course that lack an explicit grammatical subject. However, even on those sentences there is generally no confusion since the grammatical object must be marked with "i" and cannot be confused for the grammatical subject. As in English, you may also have a sentence with no object in Hawaiian, but there is still generally no confusion as to whether the noun after the verb is the grammatical subject or the grammatical object, since if the word is the grammatical object, it must have "i" before it and if it lacks "i", then it must be the grammatical subject.
Traditionally it was pronounced with the lips tight so that they buzzed like a v, but without touching the lips to the teeth. I think these days you may find a variety that includes an English style w and an English style v. I think the tight lip buzz is probably still considered the most correct, but I'm just a student, too, so I'm not sure.
Wai is water (albeit not that from the sea) - but this is the beauty of the language. You are effectively asking someone what the inoa (name) of their water (source) is. If you think about it that way, it makes a lot of cultural sense. What is the name of your source of being?