"Makemake nā poʻe."

Translation:The people want (it).

November 29, 2018

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ka po‘e - the people

nā po‘e - the peoples (Dinè, Hopi, Apache, and Iroquois)

So is this implying that the people can be singular or plural in Hawaiian???


Both "ka poʻe" and "nā poʻe" can be used for "the people", and that's the reason we included both examples. Totally understand your thinking though, in distinguishing between "the people" and "the peoples".


Keli‘i I have been wondering the same. I've only learned of po‘e as a singular collective noun to be used with the particle ka, otherwise, nā po‘e would indeed mean multiple groups of peoples. I'm really confused why they interchange it here but do not indicate a change in the english for people.

It's also curious that they decided to switch to nā in the lesson when saying the people "want" versus like. Why switch to the plural particle for that?

This is one of a building list of reasons i'm not liking duolingo. No little mini-lessons or cliffnotes from the lesson creators, nothing...


Aloha Pōhai! Are you using the app or a browser? Duo often provides notes on the browser versions though I myself haven't looked specifically at the Hawaiian tree.


There are some notes on the Hawaiian tree if you check on the browser.


I'm confused about this too. I like your idea that na po'e maybe means the groups of people. I hope someone can clarify


As a rule of thumb, a verb, description or predicate often comes first in Hawaiian sentences with the subject coming afterward. In this case, try to view the english as "the desire of the people"

Makemake ka po‘e i ka hale. can be interpreted as The desire of the people is toward the house.

In other words, the people like the house :)


What is going on here? Ka po'e implies want. Nā po'e implies like. Why is that?


Not at all. Makemake means like and want both regardless of the subject.

I am curious why they are using po'e both in the singular and plural to mean the people in a general sense. I have only ever learned it as ka po'e as a singular collective noun.


I thought I had entered both responses at one time. Between "ka" and "na", "like" and "want", one of the combinations was marked incorrect. I think it has been updated since to accept all combinations. Thanks.



  1. n. People, persons, personnel, population, assemblage, group of, company of. (Gram. 10.4.) ʻEwalu ka poʻe kaua (FS 97), eight groups of warriors.

  2. Plural marker. (Gram. 10.4.) Ka poʻe wāhine, the women. Poʻe hale, houses. Poʻe nalo meli (Lunk 14.8), swarm of bees.

  3. Var. of poʻi 5. (Kep. 157.)

  4. n. A native purslane (Portulaca selerocarpa), with narrow, succulent leaves which have many hairs in their axes and white flowers.


I like the group idea. It seems, from this, that people is thought of in Hawaiian as a group and other groups.

Ka po'e may mean 'the group' and nā po'e would than mean 'the groups'


How I know who is the subject? I thought it was something like "I like the people"...


Makemake au i ka poʻe would be I like the people.


i think because of the word order. "the people" comes after the verb so that's the subject here :D


A game I like to play is to look at the multiple uses in Pukui/Elbert and try to figure out what they have in common. Sometimes of course the meanings are unrelated... but here I suspect not.


It appears poʻe is not so much a kikino (noun) meaning “people” but rather a kaʻi meaning more or less “multiple”. From there, given Hawaiian flexibility, it became used more as a noun. That would explain why the “proper” kaʻi to use with it could be either ka or nā. The grammar has an interesting history of the kaʻi usage of poʻe as well as other similar words:



Why is the word order "'A'ole au makemake" but it's "'A'ole makemake na po'e"?


Usually in hawaiian first comes the verb then the subject. But in a negative sentence you put first 'a'ole then the subject and then the verb


Pronouns are usually put in front.


As people is already plural...why is "People want it" wrong?

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