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Help on Hawaiian colors

I know how to say the main colors in Hawaiian, but I want to know how to say things like "light blue" or "dark green" accurately. I know 'uliuli' can mean "dark green" but it can also mean "dark blue". How would I say "dark green" and have it only mean "dark green", if that makes sense?

I know "purple" is 'poni' and "light; fair" is 'halakea', so what would be the grammatically way of saying "light purple"? Would it be "halakea poni" or "poni halakea"?

If anyone could help me out with this, that would be great. Thanks!

September 21, 2019



Aloha mai!

I would suggest that you speak to someone who is in the academic sector of Hawaiian Language - like a ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi instructor or professor of Hawaiian Studies. The reason why I am suggesting this is because the response depends on what you are really seeking. 1) are you simply trying to express color from an English / Western POV? or 2) are you seeking to understand the Hawaiian color system from the Hawaiian mind, thereby being okay with different color categories that may not fit the distinctions that your mind has already been trained on from your cultural/language upbringing. #1 will give you "Hawaiian-ized" English that was created to fit the current western paradigm of color naming. If #2, then you need to speak to a Hawaiian Culturalist / Cultural Practitioner in the Kūpuna (Elders) sector; they will be able to go into the nuances and Hawaiian thought patterns behind the Hawaiian color system and why / why not there are certain distinctions.

That is my best answer for you... I am not sure if anyone else has much to comment on this besides kind of what I have said.... Iʻm guessing most people do not know or donʻt want to go into this topic because itʻs not a 1:1 thing. Wishing you luck on your search! Hoping more insight can be provided by others ;3

The word for Green is ʻōmaʻomaʻo btw.


Thanks for your help!


Aloha, yes ʻaʻole pilikia, no problem! I wish I were of more help, but I really think this is quite a task to search into depending on the level of answer you need.

Goodluck and please share what you find here if you are able to find what you need :]

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