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"Sing the song from the beginning."

Translation:E hīmeni i ke mele mai kinohi.

June 23, 2019



Please explain usage - mai - following hīmeni. Thank you.


In the sentence "E hīmeni i ke mele mai kīnohi", the "mai" coming before "kīnohi" can be translated as "from". The phrase "mai kīnohi" can be translated as "from the beginning" or "from the top".

If you're talking about "mai" immediately after "hīmeni" however, "hīmeni mai", then that "mai" can be described by this definition:

mai — Pukui-Elbert, Haw to Eng, 1. Directional part., towards the speaker, this way.

"Mai" is a directional word that is used in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. It gives the sense of "towards the speaker" to an action, when following the action word. "E hīmeni (mai) i ke mele" -> Sing the song (this way/hither/towards me). But oftentimes it is not translated so directly.


Is kinohi used mostly for the context of music or could it be used for "the beginning" of other things, such as hiking trails or of movies?


Interesting question. Kinohi basically means the origin or genesis of something, and is actually the name of the first book in the Hawaiian Bible. In fact, the first two words in the Hawaiian Bible are "I Kinohi" (In the beginning.)

This use for the beginning of a song is sort of a take-off on the basic meaning "from the beginning" instead of saying "mai ka hoʻomaka ʻana," but this word would definitely not work for the beginning of a trail. That would just be "ka hoʻomaka ʻana," but since DL has not taught the gerund particle ʻana, that may be kind of confusing at this point (hoʻomaka = to begin; ka hoʻomaka ʻana = the beginning).

It would probably be better to limit use of this word to times you want to say something like "in the very beginning" (i kinohi) of some happening or series of events, or "from the very beginning" (mai kinohi mai) of something that you consider fairly important or significant for some reason. Using the word "very" in English should help you limit its usage.

The only example I can think of right now that might work for a movie would be something like, "Mai kinohi mai, ua maopopo iaʻu . . ." (From the very beginning, I just knew . . . it was the butler who did it, or whatever.)

One other clue that this word has restricted use is that it doesn't take an article. It's never "I KE kinohi," it always "I kinohi." Also, it does not take the possessive "o" after it. You can say "Mai ka hoʻomaka ʻana O ke kiʻiʻoniʻoni" (from the beginning OF the movie), but you cannot say "Mai kinohi O ke kiʻiʻoniʻoni."

What a complicated answer to a simple "anei" question that could have been answered with just yes or no! E kala mai. Still bored sitting at home every day because of this coronavirus pandemic, but school is supposed to reopen in a couple of weeks. :-)


Mahalo, I'm familiar with Kinohi, but it was strange that it doesn't use a article. I wonder if it is a missionary word? I guess i should see it in the Kumulipo?

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