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  5. "ʻO Billy ke kaikuaʻana pohō …

"ʻO Billy ke kaikuaʻana pohō o Kimo."

Translation:Billy is the useless older brother of Kimo.

November 9, 2019



Looks like it’s time for me to stick my neck out even if no one reads this. THE WORD “POHŌ” (“USELESS”) SHOULD BE DELETED FROM ALL DUOLINGO LESSONS. Not only is it offensive (as has already been mentioned by other DL users), it is also incorrect. It seems to have been based on an informal (slang) definition of “useless” in English that does not match the Hawaiian meaning of “pohō.”

The word “pohō” is commonly used in pidgin English, and it is usually translated in pidgin as “waste time,” which reflects accurate usage of this word. For example: “Eh brah, you like ask dat tita fo one date? Pohō! She not going out wit you.” In other words, the action is “useless” because it will be a “waste of time” and will not get the desired outcome. So using this word to describe a person (rather than an action or a situation) is both offensive and inaccurate in standard Hawaiian.

If DL really wants another negative word (besides “moloā” and “kolohe”) to describe the brothers and sisters, how about using something like “ʻimihana,” which can describe a troublemaker but is not so offensive? “He keiki ʻimihana ʻo Keaka.” “Keaka is a troublemaking child” (in other words, a troublemaker). (Kala mai, that term works great in Hawaiian but is admittedly sort of awkward as an English adjective.) Or there are always other choices.

There is another fairly common Hawaiian word for “useless” as it is being used in DL (although usually translated as “worthless”), but that word is also quite strong and is definitely offensive if used to describe a person. Therefore, it tends to be avoided by native speakers of Hawaiian, so let’s not go there.

Unfortunately, writing this opinion will also likely end up being “pohō” since it will probably never be read by anyone who has the authority to make changes. Minamina.


I wouldn't totally remove it, just not use it to describe people.


I agree with HklaniClee, useless should never be used to discribe a person; that it is actually the brother this time doesn't make it less offensive. Please use socially acceptable phrases. Mahalo


Mahalo. Now if we could just figure out how to get this message to the team that is creating the program!


You can do that via the report button.


What a nasty sentence.


How does that differ from "Billy is Kimo's useless elder brother"? I'll report.


It is different in the same way that you literally wrote down a different English sentence that conveys the same meaning. I ask you, If you can do that in English, why couldnʻt the possibility exist in Hawaiian? Try to think a bit deeper as to what differences in either language could mean and why would you need one or the other.

Iʻve seen several of your posts contending that the Duolingo English translations are incorrect. Often, the Duolingo contributors (fluent Hawaiian speakers, educators) have put distinctions in these sentences for a reason. There really have not been many big errors. The students understanding is not superior to the source of understanding. Thereʻs also another person on the forums that has been posting complaints with a lot of rage towards the people who have made this content even available in the first place. Everyone should really look inward first before looking outward.


You're saying the Hawaiian sentence is odd in the same way as the English translation?


It's not odd. It's a different grammatical structure that slightly changes the emphasis. In the one, the communicated idea is more about Kimo; in the other, it's more about brother being described.


Yeah I'm thinking that would be me. I came to ask why the acceptable phrase is "the useless older brother," and "a useless older brother"is wrong. I was afraid to make the distinction that Kimo was THE (definitive) useless older brother because i didn't find anything to indicate he was the ONLY useless older brother. I finally decided on "a" useless older brother because that would be correct either way. Turns out, not so much. How would the sentence have been phrased if Kimo were, in fact, just one of Billy's useless older brothers? What am i missing?


I believe the "ke" indicates "the."


Yeah, I got the names switched. Question still applies though.


I think "the" and "a" are more distinct indicators in English. I see "ke/ka" as a singular indicator that leans towards "the." I think "only" would be part of the sentence if that were part of the idea being communicated.


But he can ice skate!!! "Ua hoʻi mai nei ʻo Pila, He wahi keiki holohau"


I came upon this lesson and I was like "YIKES". What a pilau sentence to use when teaching a language! I reported it, but it did not have an option for this scenario in particular so I just selected "Something else went wrong". I'm not sure if there is a way to contact the developers of Duolingo, but I really hope that enough people report this to catch their attention, and that "pohō" is either entirely removed from Duolingo lessons or used in a more appropriate scenario (NOT describing somebody). I will never understand why Duolingo thought this was an acceptable use of the word.


Kākoʻo! Mahalo!

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