"ʻO kēia ka mahina ʻo Ianuali."

Translation:This is the month, January.

March 14, 2019

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Try not to think in English. If you have heard Pidgin English in Hawaiʻi the sentence structure is similar "Dis da month Januwary" Once you get this down then ʻokino o begins the equational sentence and comes before proper names.


I can think in Hawaiian language structure most of the time when they ask for a Hawaiian response. When they want an English response, I'd LIKE to give one. But it would seem that the programmers know much less about English language than they need, to accept - or to provide words bubbles for - a grammatically correct English response. It should go both ways. When the program's English is faulty, I find that I cannot necessarily trust its Hawaiian to be any more accurate than the English.


I think the problem is the course authors (not programmers) trying to find an English sentence that is understandable but still pretty much directly word for word. Of course, we would never say it like this: we’d say something like “this is the month of January.”

But I’ve seen the opposite problem in other languages here on Duolingo: if they’d chosen that translation, some folks would be complaining “where did the OF come from?” and saying the translation should be “direct”. In the Italian course, for example, there’s an expression “costa un occhio della testa” which is properly translated “it costs an arm and a leg” but people want “it costs an eye of the head” to be accepted.

Language translation is a tricky business, and the authors are doing the best they can.


The course creators speak English very well. And while the usually maintain a goal of creating the most natural English sentences they can, occasionally they want to stress a Hawaiian grammar point and feel that the best way to do that is to create a sentence that is just a little unusual. In general, both the English and the Hawaiian in this course is very good, but if something looks a little off, they probably want you to stop and think about the grammar for a moment.


I'd gotten used to thinking in Hawaiian syntax, but for dates and times, the program seems to prefer a more English structure. These are not the only instances where this is true, but they're consistent enough for me to expect pretty much anything and nothing consistent with these. Makes learning more difficult.


Why does this sentence use 'o with an 'okina instead of o without the 'okina?


The word before the name of the month was ʻo with ʻokina since it is identifying the name of the month. "This is the month, January." = "ʻO kēia ka mahina ʻo Ianuali."

(This information came from (Hawaiian Language Fundamentals | ʻŌLELO ʻŌIWI | MOKUNA 1: Māhele 4....ʻaoʻao 35)


ʻO ka mahina hea kēia? = What (which) month is this?

ʻO kēia ka mahina ʻo Iune. = This is the month, June.

or = This is the month of June

ʻO Iune kēia. = This is June.

ʻO lune kēia mahine. = This month is June.


It makes it look like the 'O sentence has three arguments. How do I make sure a sentence like this doesn't get interpreted as, "This, the month, is January." Or since this kind of sentence just equates the arguments, am I just allowed to add any number of arguments and thus equating them all?

Can I use this kind of apposition in a regular sentence? "He mahi'ai ko'u kupuna kāne 'o Keoki."


I am going to add the rest of the explanation from the book source. In the next two sets of sentences, the word (o) does not begin with an ʻokina since it is stating that the date belongs to that month. This may be confusing since the word (o) is often translated as of, and even though this is also the case in the first set above, it actually IDENTIFIES a NAME rather than any sense of possession.

ʻO ka lā ʻehia kēia? = What day (of the month) is this?

ʻO ka lā ʻeono kēia o Malaki. = This is March sixth.

I ka lā ʻehia? = On what day (of the month)?

I ka lā ʻelua o Ianuali. = On January second.

I am doing a lot of work to learn the Hawaiian language. Perhaps some other students can answer your particular question more precisely. I hope this information helps a little.


That doesn't help me much. The reason I asked my question was that I understood how to use o, but didn't understand when or how to use 'o instead. If I can say, ka lā 'ehia o Ianuali ("day 2 of January"), why wouldn't I say, ka mahina o Ianuali ("the month of January")? Is the 'okina required or is this a case where either word would work?


(I think that the monthʻs name acts like a personʻs name.)


ʻO kēia ke kāne ʻo Kaipo. = This is the man, Kaipo.

(perhaps) ʻO Kaipo kēia. = This is Kaipo.

(Perhaps) ʻO Kaipo kēia Kane. = This man is Kaipo.

I found more information on how the months act as a name in the Hawaiian language. Look at time segment [4:14] to [6:32] in the video (Ka Leo ʻŌiwi | Episode 10)


Look at time segment [2:34] to [2:49] in the video (Ka Leo ʻŌiwi | Episode 11)

(Link) https://youtu.be/fpWk5Yl8H84

ʻO wai kēia mahina? = What is (the name of) this month? (OR literal translation: Who is this month?

ʻO Kepakemapa kēia mahine. = This month is September.


Your sentence reads "My grandfather, Keoki, is a farmer. "


If I understand it. Does that sentence divide into three nouns as a equation instead for usually two?

ʻO + (kēia) + (ka mahina) + (ʻo Ianuali)

So, it would be "this, is the month, is January"

Is it correct? Or not?


I believe your breakdown is exactly correct. The ʻokina-O is just a particle that identifies January as a proper noun. It does not mean "of."

The way I see it, the 10th day is an element of January, therefore we would say "the tenth day of January." ʻO ka lā ʻumi o Ianuali. No ʻokina.

But the month is not an element of January. The month IS January, so using the phrase "of January" does not make as much sense.

Along those lines, "the wheels of the car" makes sense. The wheels are an element of the car, but "the car of the Camero" makes little sense. We would say, "the car, the Camero."

So, I suppose we do say this in English, given the proper context. I wish I could think of a more clever example.


From my perspective, I would be comfortable hearing "This is the month January" but would tend to say "This is the month of January". But note that we see the same phenomenon with

Aia ʻo ia ma ka mokupuni ʻo Lānaʻi
She is on the island of Lānaʻi.


E holoholo ana kākou ma ka mokupuni ʻo Hawaiʻi
We are going to cruise on the island of Hawaiʻi.

So I don't think it's a three-way equational sentence so much as simply indicating the proper name for the specific instance of the generic noun.


I see your point. Allow me to alter my response to reflect your interpretation, and how my thoughts might play into it.

('O + kēia) + (ka mahina ʻo Ianuali)
"This is January month."
Awkward in English.

Which is two parts. Along those same lines, I personally interpret your examples this way:

Aia ʻo ia ma ka mokupuni ʻo Lanaʻi.
She is on Lānaʻi island.


E holoholo ana kākou ma ka mokupuni ʻo Hawaiʻi.
We are going to cruise on Hawaiʻi island.

I believe your statement is correct. It is not a three-way equational. But, in my humble opinion, the preposition "of" does not really exist.


I think we're in agreement on that point. I ended up writing more about this issue in another comment elsewhere. The "of" isn't really present in Hawaiian: I think "this is my friend, Kaʻiulani" would be ʻo kēia koʻu hoa aloha ʻo Kaʻiulani, where ʻo has the exact same grammatical role but no English speaker would imagine inserting "of".

I think this is just a case where English has some interesting conventions for indicating names (e.g. "month of January"). Personally, saying "the island of Hawaiʻi" sounds more natural to me than "Hawaiʻi island", simply because I would instinctively refer to any island - as "island of X", unless I'd heard it formally named as "X Island". But I see that as just a preference in English expression - I think your version is as legitimate and (more) clear than mine, and I would use the same Hawaiian for either.

Out of curiosity, do you know if locals tend to say e.g. Hawaiʻi island?


They do say Hawaiʻi Island for the Big Island. They generally do not for the others.
I always fully appreciate your comments, learning something new from you all the time. You often bring me to occasions of long contemplation.


I feel like the problem is that there’s not a smooth non-island English translation that is not misleading. Kekahimoku above points out that Pidgin would express it very much like the Hawaiian: “dis da month, January.” If that’s true - and I don’t live in the islands, so I take it on faith that it is - then this English sentence would sound much more fluent to nā kama’āina than it does to us haoles. But if they had used a more natural-sounding (to us) translation, “This is the month of January”, that would have misled people to use “o” (sans ‘Okina). And we would complain about THAT - ‘cause that’s what we do. :-)

I can’t remember the term they use, but Nā Kai ‘Ewalu makes a point of differentiating between these types of translations.


So the more common English phrase "This is the month of January" (because no one says "this is the month, January") the literal Hawaiian translation would be "ʻO kēia ka mahina o ʻo Ianuali"?? Yeah kutzy in Hawaiian, but clearer what the more likely English translation would be


How does one could desbribe a "," that is not in the Hawaiian sentence, appears in the answer as a factor to determine the answer as right or wrong?


Duolingo ignores punctuation, like commas, and you will never be graded right it wrong for the presence of absence of one. If you think that was the difference, look harder, there's something else different.


Why is 'O kēia ka mahina 'o Maliki = This is the month of March okay when the same response to the above isn't?


I think it should be accepted; there's not really any difference. Occasionally the course has inconsistencies that, as far as I can tell, are probably just human error when writing the exercises.

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