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"His sister is an energetic sister."

Translation:He tita ʻeleu kona kaikuahine.

November 16, 2019



Shouldn't "tita" and "kaikuahine" be interchangeable here?


My best guess is that duolingo wants (kaikuahine) to follow (kona). It helps to direct the meaning of the two words together as "his sister" (kona kaikuahine).


It is interchangeable as of Jun2021.


I put "He kaikuahine 'eleu kona tita," and it was marked okay but gave another suggestion. Makes me think "kona kaikuahine" does not HAVE to be together, CATipton and RonRGB?


In Tagalog, "tita" means "aunt".


What is the difference between "tita" and "kaikuahine"? Are they synonyms? Do they have subtly different meanings, or totally the same?


"Tita" is a sister of a male or female. "Kaikuahine" is ONLY a sister of a brother.


OK, my first choice of "he kaikuahine 'eleu kona kaikuahine" seemed sort of redundant, so I opted for ""'eleu kona kaikuahine" (which was marked wrong, and I understand why)... BUT, could you use two "kaikuahine" or "tita" instead of one of each (even though probably you wouldn't because it sounds ... redundant??)


I took me 8 attempts in order to get it right. I need to get the word order right.


Hawaiian seem to be quite strict with word order.


Are there languages where this is not true?


Yes, Russian.


Thanks! I did not know!


I think all human languages give importance to word order, although there is definitely a range. Imagine a language where ordering was truly arbitrary. Every word would need to be explicitly marked as to its grammatical function, to a much greater extent than even highly inflected languages like Russian. Take a sentence that translates to “my son and his friend visited their house.” In a language like Russian, we know subject/object, adjective endings differ from nouns and their gender changes to match, etc. But even in Russian, there is a commonly used word ordering (SVO, adjective before noun, etc.), and without ordering, how would you differentiate between the above sentence and “my friend and his son...”?

It is useful however to note that the reason languages like Russian (or ancient Greek, Latin, etc.) have relatively free ordering is that they are highly inflected: nouns and verbs and adjectives have different endings, you add endings to indicate case, number, gender, etc. But Hawaiian has none of those things. Even things you could consider as being ending-like, such as “mau”, have that meaning only because of what they come after.

Finally, we could come up with - as an exercise - a language where everything was so explicitly marked. It might be interesting on an intellectual level. There might be artlangs like that. But why would people infinitely vary their ordering in actual usage? They wouldn’t, if their purpose was communicating. Otherwise you’d have to spend way too much brainpower trying to understand what the other person is saying.

So I think the takeaway is all real languages place some importance in word order, and the less words inflect grammatically, the more important is word order. Hawaiian has very little inflection - ke wahine vs nā wāhine being one of the few examples - so order is more important.


"He tita 'eleu kona" sounds better because in english why would you not say "His sister is energetic"...


I don't think that sentence makes sense, does it? "kona" is a kaʻi that must precede another word, like ke and ka - it can't be used on its own like that as far as I know. What would it mean?


It would mean "He has an energetic sister". "His sister is energetic" would be, " 'Eleu kona tita". I've never heard anyone say, "His sister is an energetic sister". Kona doesn't have to precede another word.

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