Is there some logic as to why "ke" is being used with "pākaukau"? And also with "pola"? Is "ka" wrong with these words? Is it just a coincidence that so far the only exceptions I've noticed to the rule that says to only use "ke" with words that start with K, E, O, and A both start with P?
Ha hah! You found the secret. Common nouns that begin with the letters K, E, A, and O have ke-class articles preceding them. You can remember this with the word "ke ao" meaning the cloud. There are exception-words, starting with other than KEAO ,that take the ke-class article, but I do not believe they have anything to do with the letter "P." I have been told that you will just have to memorize them.
Apparently, certain introduced objects take ke: table, spoon, fork, plate, bowl and, naturally, k-words for cup and towel. Ke puna=the spoon, ka puna=a spring (of water). Ke pā=plate,dishes, Ka pā=fence, corral, yard, and so on. As for pākaukau, that used to be a long mat on which food was placed, but now it means table, counter, even desk.
I would respectfully disagree concerning the word plate. "Ka pā" is both plate and fence, where each is used in context. "Ke pā" is a disk, platter, or phonograph record. It is the only instance that I know where "ke" is used with "pā," except maybe a shell, which is more of a disk than a plate anyway. For most circumstances, "pā" is a regular common noun. I think DL got this one wrong, as well as ‘ō (fork). DL defines fork as a ke-class article. But because it starts with an okina, I believe fork to be a ka-class article. This is why I advocate for native speakers or life-long learners as moderators. ‘Auhea ‘oukou, e Kula Kamehameha?
Me too, but I can see a possible logic. (I would be happy if a more fluent speaker would chime in). Namely, yes kāwele can mean towel off or dry. But I can also see, when applied to a table, it would most commonly mean wipe: thus that’s what DL wants here. (I don’t know this, but I could see it.)
I look at it this way: I am not getting paid by the “right” answer here, having to give back for every “wrong” one. If I marks some of my answers wrong (like it did for me with this one) and it helps me remember the most common usages, I’m good with that.