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"For"... "no", "na", "i", or "iā"?


I am having a hard time deciding between "no", "na", "i", and "iā" when I want to represent "for" in Hawaiian. I know there are different uses of "for" in english, such as "Thank you for the gift" or "for example"... But I never know which word to use in Hawaiian. If I wanted to thank someone for chocolates, would it be:

"Mahalo no nā kokoleka"

or "Mahalo na nā kokoleka"

or "Mahalo i nā kokoleka"

or "Mahalo iā nā kokoleka"

I'm very confused! I understand that this is probably difficult to answer, so I appreciate even just a nudge in the right direction. Here is my source: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/wehe/?q=for


September 18, 2019

1 Comment


Aloha mai e @MitchTalmadge. ʻAe this is a hard question for me to be able to answer fully, so I will just share koʻu manaʻo on the general rules/usages of "no" as "for."

Part of the reason why this is hard to translate from English to Hawaiian is that English kind of employes the word in different use cases, which would normally be represented separately Hawaiian. English Examples: "A present for Kainoa." "Thank you for the chocolates." Notice how the first sentence states that this thing, a present, is dedicated to Kainoa? The second sentence, "for" is used more to indicate a reason for doing something.

Okay, so letʻs break this down in Hawaiian usages. "no" would be used in the dedication sense. "i/iā" is used "for the reason of" scenarios.

"Thank you" is really "Mahalo au iā ʻoe." When you break it down like this, you can see that the proper way to put "for the chocolates" in the Hawaiian "thank you" sentence​ is "Mahalo au iā ʻoe i nā kokoleka." I thank you for "the reason of" the chocolates.

Hope this helps a bit!

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