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  5. "Makemake nā poʻe" vs "Makema…


"Makemake nā poʻe" vs "Makemake ka poʻe"

I see both of these with the same English translation, "the people want (it)".

I assume either of these could also mean "the people like it", right?

My question is, are they completely interchangeable, or is there a different in implication between the two, or contexts where youʻd use one and not the other?

Is poʻe in a class of words, collective nouns perhaps, where ka and nā are always interchangeable? Or is it a special exception?

January 25, 2020



Iʻve seen several posts on this over the last few years. I believe the consensus is that most Kumu say "ka poʻe" but some Mānaleo have been heard saying "nā poʻe." I have reasoned it out for my own manaʻo to mean if you are referring to one group of something and they are all the same type, then "ka poʻe" like for "ka poʻe hawaiʻi"; but if you are referring to a group of many different kinds of things that are together like "nā poʻe" meaning people (and it could be Hawaiians, Japanese, haole, pākē). Similar to plural - "fish" and "fishes". Hope this helps!

But yes, both sentences would mean "want/like". In Hawaiian mentality to want and to like something are the same thing; similar in pidgin of today.


It sounds like this is a special situation with poʻe, not that poʻe is one of a general class of words that can go with both ke/ka or nā following a similar pattern. In other words, if there is some other word that can go with both, it's a different special case and may follow a different pattern about when to use each. Yes?

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