The Kaʻi Determiners #2: Ka, Ke

How to say “The” in Hawaiian — Video Lesson 0602V


Aloha kākou! This is the second in the set of videos about the kaʻi determiners (which precede memeʻa content words such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives).

If you arrived here without knowing anything about kaʻi, please be sure to see 0601V The Kaʻi Determiners #1: He.

This video lesson is about 18 minutes long and will teach you the kaʻi “ka” and “ke” (meaning “the”) and compare the rule English language speakers use to select the correct version of “the” (“thee” or “thuh”) to the rule Hawaiian speakers use to select ka or ke for the definite article.


These two kaʻi are so very important and are always taught early on in language classes. After watching the video, you should make sure you practice the “KEAO” rule well enough to quickly decide whether to use ka or ke before any content word you see or hear. There is a worksheet (below) that you can use to get started.

Note that the “KEAO” rule does not work 100% of the time; there are quite a few exceptions to memorize for everyday Hawaiian speaking. But the rule will allow you to get “85%” accuracy, which is fantastic for such a simple rule. It will allow you to get the kaʻi right most of the time, and therefore lessen the amount of brain processing you have to do when trying to speak.

As you become more fluent in Hawaiian, you will learn all of the exception words and have no trouble with them. Throughout the upcoming lessons, you will learn a few of the most important ones to get you on your way.

Vocabulary Words

While watching the video, you will also have the chance to learn several new vocabulary words. As with the previous lesson about the kaʻi “he”0601V The Kaʻi Determiners #1: He— you should practice saying these kaʻi + memeʻa building blocks of Hawaiian out loud to yourself over and over, to both learn the vocabulary and to train yourself to quickly produce them without overthinking them.

Extra Resources

There is a printable PDF lesson overview which accompanies this video: 0602G Kaʻi #2 Lesson Worksheet. Practice with your own words or invent your own worksheet after completing this lesson; it will be fun and it will really help!

Next Steps

After you are done watching the video and doing the PDF worksheet, you will want to move on to the next video lesson: V0603 The Kaʻi Determiners, #3: Kekahi.

e aloha ʻōlelo
(let us love the language)
– Kaliko

Video Outline

  1. Review of the kaʻi “he”
  2. “The” in English having more than one form
  3. How we decide on which “the” to use when speaking English
  4. Hawaiian uses “ka” and “ke” for “the” (singular)
  5. The “KEAO” rule
  6. Examples and proper pronunciation
  7. Review and mini-quiz
  8. Common exception words to the “keao” rule
  9. Next steps

Length: 18:45

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