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  5. Why learn Hawaiian?


Why learn Hawaiian?

I'm just curious but why choose to learn Hawaiian? What are your motivations? For me, I would like to learn more about the culture and history of this Polynesian culture and what it was like before westerners came. What about you guys?

February 17, 2019



I am learning Hawaiian astronomy. I am a professional astronomer/professor and when I discovered Hawaiian astronomy, I was intrigued by how different astronomy within the tropics is from astronomy outside of the tropics. It's a literally example of the idea that where we come from determines our viewpoint. Through learning Hawaiian astronomy, I discovered that I was starting to learn a few Hawaiian words and I wanted to be more intentional towards that. I'm finding that there is a lot of culture and meaning in learning the language.


Raised in Hawaii, they had us study it in school for at least 7 years. I'd imagine many would be interested in learning the language because while it is endangered, it also has a rich history tied with oral stories (passed down through generations) and struggles with colonization. As the language was banned in schools after the annexation, and children were no longer being proficient in Hawaiian, many parts of the language and culture died out. This is why I used to learn Hawaiian (I have bigger things on my plate at the moment to have time anymore ^^;) and this is also why it's mandatory in many Hawaiian schools.


Well, I love learning languages, and learning endangered, dwindling, or unusual languages makes me feel happy, smart, confident, and gives me a sense that I'm something more than just an outcast.


Aloha, Ecmo!

I started hawaian because of an old tv serie called "Magnum P.I.". I was then atracted to that "weird" language that sounds really cool and fun! Now it is on Duolingo so... I go for it! :D

"Allí la tortuga, nua, fa un agut rot a l'illa"


I love Magnum P.I. It's awesome to see other fans of the show here in the forums!


Because traditional Hawaiian music is still sung in Hawaiian.


I am a big proponent of the ‘ukulele and would like to be able to sing songs in Hawaiian and know what I am singing.


I visit Hawaii fairly often and wanted to pronounce people and places the correct way. Also knowing the language helps you understand why certain places are named what they are; there's more to just the name, there's a history behind it. Learning the language will only help me appreciate Hawaii even more. Also, I figure I am on Hawaiian land, may as well at least make an effort to speak the language


Because I like to learn


I have set a goal to learn a language native to each continent. I'm loosely including Hawaii in the "Americas" (and considering them to be one continent). Limited options for that. I was going to go with Navajo, but I'm going to Hawaii in a few months and I thought that might be a motivation.

Also finding that it's quite different from most other languages, which is a cool bonus.


Im going to ask you, dont include Hawaiian as American. It is Polynesian. Learn both. There are deep, storied histories to both.


Because! Why not! Hawaiian is a language that is dying out and should be spoken more!


There's hope though...

"At the inception of the Pūnana Leo Hawaiian immersion preschool program in 1983, the number of speakers of Hawaiian was estimated at 1,500. In 2013, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proclamation of Hawaiian Language Month stated that there are an estimated 30,000 speakers of Hawaiian at “various levels of fluency"...

See the whole story here: https://apps.ksbe.edu/kaiwakiloumoku/node/607


I wanted to learn the language since I was a kid. Back then my reason was because of Lilo and Stitch. Now I'm older the reason changed to: "why not? it's just a cool language"

I also listen to hawaiian music on spotify. To be honest, it later became another reason to learn this language


Same here, Lilo and Stitch was my first exposure to the language besides knowing that "aloha" was a greeting.


And why I like Hawaiian is because it is an old language and it's fun to use.


I'm probably gonna sound silly, but I got kind of sad when I heard that it's an endangered language, because to me it meant that Hawaii was slowly losing it's own magic just to be more like the rest of the world, and I think that every country and especially one this beautiful has a right to stay true to its culture. It also reminds me of when people in Czechoslovakia had to speak German because they were a part of a bigger monarchy...


Hawai'i isn't a country but I see what you mean, still they should keep their language, same with Navajo country, Alaska, honestly I wish indigenous languages flourished a lot more, and for English to act more as a lingua franca, when looking at practically I know it's good the way it is, but I can't help but feel sad from the loss of all these languages and cultures, I wish I could go the Navajo nation and feel like I'm in foreign lands, but from what I hear, it's only mostly the elders that speak it at home


Well, Hawai'i WAS a country, and in the hearts and minds of many, it still is....


I thought it would be something different and I like studying languages. Even though I am fluent in Spanish and Mandarin, I tend to pick languages that please my ear rather than what’s considered the most useful. I would prefer Hawaiian over French any day.

Hawaii is a unique place with its own culture and history untethered to the USA. It wasn’t until I started Hawaiian on Duolingo that I knew anything about the tumultuous relationship between the two. I just started learning last week but I find that the Hawaiian language sounds cool. It isn’t too difficult to start making simple sentences and pronouncing it correctly, yet learning the sentence structure/ word order is a bit of a challenge.

I also respect the Hawaiian people for trying to preserve the language of their ancestors. If enough people learn Hawaiian, maybe it will “come back.” I know that thousands of languages are either going extinct or already are, but Hebrew came back from the dead, so why not Hawaiian? Plus with websites like Duolingo, learning an endangered language is easier than it used to be.


I'm learning Hawai'ian because I fell in love with the setting of Pokemon Sun and Moon, which is based on Hawai'i. I then came to enjoy traditional Hawai'ian music as well, so I decided to learn the language. As I've played through Pokemon Ultra Sun, it's been such a treat to see Hawaiian words in the place names and recognizing them and their meanings.

It also helps when learning other Polynesian languages, like Tahitian, Maori, Tongan, and Samoan. They share a lot of vocabulary with each other and employ similar grammatical structures.


Me too! I grew up on north-east Australian beaches and so tropical environments feel so homey and peaceful! I also think Hawaiian sounds beautiful!


very cool, Maori should be the next Polynesian language to come to DL.


I don't want to come of as shallow, but... mainly because it sounds nice.
Also enjoy learning about other places though, and Hawai`i surely has an interesting culture to offer.


That’s not shallow at all! It is a beautiful sounding language!


It's the same reason why people learn Romance languages, Ukrainian, and Farsi.


b o n j o u r m a d a m a y i h a ve y o u a s my t r o p h y w i fe


I'm learning Hawaiian to both 1. Bring back life to an endagered language, and 2. Preparing to meet the natives once my parents move to Hawaii. It's gonna be soon

  1. When I was a young boy watching Magnum PI. That show was the BEST!

  2. I love Hawaiian BBQ.

  3. I have Filipino-Hawaiian second cousins.


You get to take part in reviving an endangered language


I am learning because eventually my part Hawaiian children will be learning how and would like to be able to help them in that journey.


I like Hawaiian music and I would like to know at least a little of one language that is indigenous to the USA.


I'm honestly doing it because it's the most beautiful language I've ever heard and I've always wanted to learn an endangered language :)

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