Hawaiian/Lesson Four


No sentence in any language is complete without at least one verb. In Hawaiian, some verbs (like to be verbs) are omitted, but are still implied. In this language, the order of words is Verb + Subject + Direct Object, therefore, the verb comes first.

Ex) They dance at the school. This would be translated as "Dance they at the school." (Hula lākou i ke kula.)

Here are a few verbs for you to play around with and make new sentences with:

Sleep - Moe

Go - Hele

Come - Hele mai

Listen - Hoʻolohe

Work - Hana


Now, after looking at those verbs, can you translate this sentence: Ho'olohe ke kika i ke kāne.

Of course you can! When we break it down, Hoʻolohe is to "listen", ke kika would be a "tiger" as the subject of this sentence, and what is the tiger doing? Well it's listening. If a period were there, it would be just fine: Hoʻolohe ke kika- The tiger listens. But there is an extra part there, and it says, i ke kāne. This can easily be translated as "to the man".

There now. Put it all together, and we end up with, "The tiger listens to the man." Wasn't that easy!

Now we'll try a harder one: Hele ia i ka hale me nā manu ʻōmaʻomaʻo. Can you read that?

Hele ia - He or she goes,

i ka hale - to the house,

me nā manu ʻōmaʻomaʻo. - with the green birds.

Does breaking it down into three parts help? The only thing that you might have had trouble with was the word "nā". It simply means the, like ke or ka, but as a plural. That is how we can distinguish "the green bird" from "the green birds". Also keep in mind that the adjective goes after the noun it relates to.


Next, if you hadn't noticed, the person doing the action comes after the verb as the subject. Unlike a lot of languages like Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, etc. Hawaiian does not change the endings of its verbs to describe who is doing the action.

Ex. Spanish- Saltar (to jump) changes to "Salto" for "I jump" or "Saltamos" for "we jump."

To say "I sleep", it would just be, Moe au.

Note: For list of pronouns, see Lesson Two under "Pronouns".

More PracticeEdit

Translate the following into Hawaiian:

The father sleeps.

My father works.

A black cat comes.

I sleep on the water.

You work with the pink turtle

Today, I go to church (ka hale pule).