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Hawaiian vocabulary would be more useful related to the old songs

I never hear anyone in Hawai'i discussing weather or policemen or using any of the other vocabulary I'm supposed to be learning, though I suppose there are people who do use the language in everyday life. But I would like to understand the words to the old songs, which I hear every day in Hawai'i. It would be so much more useful if the elementary Hawai'ian lessons were to focus on the vocabulary, words and phrases that show up all the time in songs and hula.

January 13, 2020



I agree!!! All brave I learn lesson after lesson and when I have a look at for example "Ke Aloha" I hardly find one word that seems familiar.


My interest in 'Olelo Hawai'i stemmed from music initially (am a Hawaiian steel guitarist). One of the first phrases I learned was ha ina ia mai ana kapuana! Sites like https://www.huapala.org/ are good for looking at song lyrics and often times they have English translations (often not literal though, especially if they were translated to be sung in English). From there Na Puke Wehewehe (http://wehewehe.org/?l=haw) is a great resource, a lot better than the kind of loose machine translation on google translate.


Thanks for the links.


Aloha e @WendyCutle, 'ae that would be wonderful! The only thing is that in mele Hawai'i, many times the 'ōlelo used is in the poetic form or in mixed polite-form. Many people do not realize that Hawaiian has several levels of this type of "grammar" as with most other languages. It would be much better for people to learn from "standard Hawaiian" first (DL version), then go to informal colloquial (see Samuel Elbert "Spoken Hawaiian"), then to poetic/formal.

An example that you hear in many mele of this sort is in the formal/poetic form expression of "'Auhea 'oe" or "'Auhea iho 'oe", meaning "Where are you" or probably more like "Wherefore art thou?" You would not say this in colloquial speaking. You should be aware of this, it will be less confusing moving forward while you are learning via DL and also listening to mele.


Thanks for the link to the book, which got a rave review on one site I looked at, and for the language lesson.


You bring up an interesting point. I would be interested in learning more proverbs, songs and chants as well. In fact, reading through the Hawaiian proficiency test levels of classification, they mention if the learner is familiar with chants or proverbs.

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