"That police officer is smart."
Translation:Akamai kēlā mākaʻi.
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Could someone explain the syntax of this sentence for me please? It seems like the order is: adjective + demonstrative + noun. Is this true for all phrases with an adjective and demonstrative?
Basic sentence structure (with some other formulas that will be introduced for locators and for equators) is Verb + subject + other parts of the sentence. Many words can be used as both an adjective and a verb, as is the case with "akamai". Following a noun it is the adjective "smart" and at the beginning of the sentence it is the verb "to be smart". So your breakdown of the sentence is exactly correct, except that when putting the adjective at the beginning of the sentence it is acting as an adjectival verb. Thus, "kēlā mākaʻi akamai" means, "that smart police officer" and "Akamai kēlā mākaʻi," means, "That police officer is smart."
Thank you so much for your quick reply! So when the order is Dem + Noun + Adj, the word is acting as a true adjective. But when the adj. comes before the demonstrative, it behaves like a verb. Got it!
That's basically it, though I will caution against thinking of the adjective as being before the "demonstrative" and rather thinking of it as being at the beginning of the sentence. You could have a sentence like, "He mākaʻi akamai koʻu makua kāne." In this case, "akamai" occurs before the "demonstrative" ("koʻu") for "makua kāne", but it is not behaving like a verb. It is following the noun "mākaʻi" and is modifying that noun. It would have to be before any and all nouns in the sentence (or "at the beginning of the sentence") to be behaving like a verb.
Ah, okay! I do believe I understand it now. Thank you again, you are an awesome mod and contributor!
Just for clarity, I hold no official position in the Hawaiian course. All of my ambassador hats are for the Klingon language. However, I am an avid student of languages/linguistics and a huge fan of Hawaiian. So as a fellow student who has already had to struggle through figuring these things out, I try to help out as I can.
If I understand correctly, putting the determiner "he" before "akamai" would mean that you were treating "akamai" as a singular noun. Would that be "a smartness"? So I would guess that "He akamai kēlā mākaʻi" would mean something like, "That police officer is a smartness." I would expect a sentence like that to be understood in either language, but seem very odd in both languages.
You have written a grammatical sentence that says "That is a smart police officer." But you can see the difference between that and "That police officer is smart." I suppose either sentence could be used in the same situation, but the grammar is completely different.
In your sentence, kēlā is being used as a stand alone noun and in the English sentence above "that" is being used as an adjective on another noun.
In your suggestion, you are using an equivalence sentence to equate two nouns. Part of what may be confusing you is that the above English sentence uses an equivalence sentence to equate an adjective and a noun. Hawaiian doesn't use equivalence sentences for adjectives. In Hawaiian you just use the adjective as a verb to get that sort of equivalence. Thus you get the correct corresponding translation offered by Duolingo.
Hey, thanks for the reply! I have actually read all of your comments on basically every difficult Hawaiian sentence in the first half of the course, and probably read them multiple times at that haha! I just always want to put "kēlā" at the end of the sentence, and often forget when it needs to go elsewhere. I operate very much on "muscle memory" when learning other languages and don't do super well with the technicals, which is how I learned Japanese from watching anime but know literally nothing of grammar or sentence structure. I just have to try to remember the rules with Hawaiian more, because it's not like I can just watch Hawaiian media to learn the language. Thanks again for the reply, Qapla'!
I don't know if this will help, but pay careful attention to whether the "that" is alone or is attached to the front of a noun. For instance, "That is heavy," has the "that" alone and, "That book is heavy," has "that" attached to a noun ("book"). That exact same difference occurs in Hawaiian. The word "kēlā" can appear without a noun after it or with a noun after it. So when translating to or from Hawaiian, that feature should match in the translation.
Since this English sentence has "that" followed by the noun "police officer", then the Hawaiian "kēlā" must be followed by the word "mākaʻi". Those times you have seen "kēlā" at the end of the sentence, it must have been because "that" was alone in the sentence. Hopefully the understanding that this works exactly the same in English and Hawaiian will help you to remember.