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Room for Improvement - Hawaiian language courses offered on Duolingo

There are 2 sides to this issue. Either I'm too inept to succeed in the hawaiian language course or it is just not structured very well. Having a degree in education with a major in vocational education studies, I hope it is the latter. So, forgive me if I'm coming off as "nose up".

I know it is in BETA. But there is so much room for improvement (IMHO). This Hawaiian course is frustrating me and so many others according to comments I've read from each of the lessons. Can someone please present it in a more rule based curriculum where there is much less guessing and we can adhere to rules specific to the Hawaiian language? I must admit that I've had to go through tons of comments and a LOT of other Hawaiian language resources on the web in order to actually learn why my answers are wrong. That's an indication that the duolingo version is just not cutting it for a teaching tool. Rather it is much more useful as just a TESTING tool in its current state. From the comments I've read, it seems that quite a few folks out there are augmenting their learning with either classes or additional resources like I've had to do for this course. This course, as a solitary resource for learning the Hawaiian language doesn't seem adequate enough to do so.

I am also taking the Italian and Japanese courses. They are VERY structured and the Japanese course even introduces a totally new set of characters to read and write instead of the alphabet. I have no problems on either of these courses. They proceed at a very gratifying pace for learning while the Hawaiian course proceeds at a snail's pace. It consumes so much more time than the other two and fosters so much frustration that I (we) become disenchanted with the Hawaiian course after each day's lessons.

Thanks for the opportunity to post this and I truly hope someone responsible for the Hawaiian course reacts positively upon this post as it is not meant to demeanor anyone. Mahalo!

January 16, 2020



The Hawaiian course is a bit of a mess. Some things have audio, some don't (or this is just a glitch on my end), there are very few words (judging by the number of vocab, it will barely even bring you to an A1) but unfortunately this is a reality of an endangered language being offered, as it will not be as developed as a course like Spanish or French.

Another peeve of mine is how I can make massive mistakes such as huge spelling errors that mean a completely different word and it will mark it as correct, but when I make a simple typo (such as writing two ʻOkina's on accident) it will mark it wrong.

But don't get me wrong, you can tell the Duolingo Hawaiian team has worked hard on this course, and for an endangered language, it is quite good (though some apps like Drops do have more vocab). It is at least a useful tool to me because despite living in Hawaii, the Hawaiian classes are closed only to University of Hawaii students, which makes me think there is not much of an effort being made to conserve the language here.


Great job Duolingo! The Hawaiian course is working fine for me. I had already gone through the first half of the Hawaiian language textbook they use at the U of H (Ka lei ka'aheo) before we moved. There are no language classes in our new town, so I tried Duolingo. Having already had a good beginning grammar foundation, I make very few errors with Duolingo. What few questions I have had have been answered on the "discuss" forum. I would like a little less repetition. I put all the sentences on flash cards so that I can practice more on those I need help with. I would like to see more levels added, and also audio for more of the words.


The course definitely needs more notes. Sentence structure is different and tricky at times, but I haven't seen any explanation in the course.

I highly recommend watching Kulaiwi on youtube. There are 24 episodes and they helped me a lot. Kumu Ekela really emphasizes noticing patterns and how to replace things in the sentences to say something similar. If I recall correctly, she was named in an article about the release of this course, so she might be a contributor.


Thank you for the recommendation. I'll definitely check it out.

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