Hawaiian/Lesson Two

This lesson focuses mostly on pronouns, since there are many of them, and knowing when to use them can come in handy.


Pāpāʻōlelo / ConversationEdit

Let's start with a simple conversation. It is before school, and two students, Ikaika and Kau’i, meet for the first time. They introduce themselves in Hawaiian.

Ikaika: Aloha kakahiaka! Ikaika: Good morning!
Kauʻi: Aloha kakahiaka. ʻO wai kou inoa? Kauʻi: Good morning. What is your name?
Ikaika: ʻO Ikaika koʻu inoa. ʻO wai kou inoa? Ikaika: My name is Ikaika. What is your name?
Kauʻi: ʻO Kauʻi koʻu inoa. Pehea ʻoe? Kauʻi: My name is Kauʻi. How are you?
Ikaika: Maikaʻi au. A ʻo ʻoe? Ikaika: I'm good. And you?
Kauʻi: Maikaʻi loa au, mahalo. Aloha, e Ikaika! Kauʻi: I'm very good, thanks. Goodbye, Ikaika!
Ikaika: Aloha a hui hou. Ikaika: Goodbye, until we meet again.

To ask someone their name, one says, "'O wai kou inoa?" 'O wai means who, so literally, you are asking, "Who is your name?" 'O is used to mark the subject in a sentence, usually appearing before a name, wai and ia, as you may have noticed. To respond to "'O wai kou inoa", you would say, "'O (your name) ko'u inoa, as demonstrated in the chart above.


Personal pronouns
Singular (1) Dual (2) Plural (3+)
1st 2nd 3rd incl. excl. 2nd 3rd 1st incl. 1st excl. 2nd 3rd
Case Nominative au ʻoe ia kāua māua ʻolua lāua kākou mākou ʻoukou lākou
Genitive a-class kaʻu kāu kāna kā kāua kā māua kā ʻolua kā lāua kā kākou kā mākou kā ʻoukou kā lākou
o-class koʻu kou kōna kō kāua kō māua kō ʻolua kō lāua kō kākou kō mākou kō ʻoukou kō lākou
affectionate kuʻu Only used in 1st and 2nd person singular.
iaʻu iā ʻoe iā ia iā kāua iā māua iā ʻolua iā lāua iā kākou iā mākou iā 'ʻukou iā lākou
(Taken from Hawaiian Grammar- Wikipedia)


The three most important and common pronouns are Au (I), ʻOe (You), and Ia (He/She). There are four ways of how to say "we" in Hawaiian; the Dual and Plural forms. Those are split even further into Inclusive and Exclusing points of view.

In Hawaiian, there is a form known as the dual form, which is not spoken all the time in English. The dual form of a pronoun only refers to two people in the conversation, while Plural refers to three or more people.

For example:
Kāua (We, us two) vs. Kākou (We, us all- 3+).

Next, the pronouns split their conversation into Inclusive and Exclusive points of view. Inclusive refers to the speaker and the addressee (the person being spoken to), while Exclusive refers to the speaker and another person; not the addressee.

For example:
Kāua (We, you and I) vs. Māua (We, me and him/her. Not you).



When referring to the Genitive case, (showing ownership), there are two kinds: A class, and O class.

O Class nouns are subjects that cannot be controlled by the owner, such as ka hale, house; or ka inoa, name. There are a few rules that can help you determine an O Class noun. If the noun is:

  • A mode of transportation (ex: ke kaʻa- car)
  • Something that one can sit on or wear (ex: ka lole- clothes)
  • People of your generation or past generations (ex: ka makuakāne-father)

A Class nouns can be controlled by the owner. Like O class nouns, there are a few rules that can help you determine which is which:

  • Future generations for your line. (for example, not your brothers future generations)
  • Color (as in, favorite color)
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend
  • Something made by the owner


Keeping the Dual, Plural, Incl., and Excl. in mind from before, the Genitive shows ownership by someone or something. By following the chart, it should be quite easy to determine what word one would use to say what they mean.


Hawaiian English
Kā ʻolua of you both (A class)
Koʻu my (O class)
Kō lākou of them all (O class)
Kā mākou of us all (A class)


The Accusative Case refers to the Object of the sentence. Anyone with knowledge of basic grammar will know that the object is what the verb is happening to: the receiving action from the verb. As in, The dog chases the cat. The cat is the object of the sentence, because the dog is chasing it. Cat would be in the accusative case.

The Dative case tells to whom something is done.

  • John found the story incomplete, therefore, he added to it.
However, in this sentence, although one would think that the proper words to use would be iā ia it is normally understood and therefore the "iā ia" is usually left off.