0702V Papani Pronouns #1: Au, ʻOe, ʻO ia

Learning The Basics About Hawaiian Pronouns

In Hawaiian, we call the pronouns papani. In this lesson, you'll learn the Hawaiian papani for "I", "you", "he", and "she".

Discussion

Many students of Hawaiian language encounter trouble when first introduced to Hawaiian papani, since they differ somewhat from English language pronouns. That is not to say that Hawaiian papani are actually harder to learn than English pronouns; in fact the contrary is true if you consider having to learn English pronouns for the first time, especially as a second-language speaker of English, since there are just so many pronouns in English. (For more discussion on the large number of English pronouns, see this excellent article in Wikipedia.)

There are 11 papani to learn in Hawaiian. This lesson is the first of a set that will introduce you to all 11. We will start with the singular pronouns "I", "you", "he" and "she", since they are perhaps the easiest.

Hawaiian Personal Pronouns
Person English Papani
First I au (wau)
Second you ʻoe
Third he / she ʻo ia

The Pronunciation of Au

Note that for the first person singluar pronoun "I" we can opt to either use au or wau. I would suggest sticking with au as much as possible. The papani "wau", if you choose to use it, should be pronounced with a leading soft w-glide, a /w/ sound, or a soft /v/ sound, never a greatly aspirated /v/ sound like the one we often use in English where we allow a lot of air to escape the lips (eg. "very" or "vivacious").

You will not really be able to get a true sense of how to pronounce au until you start putting it into phrases and, later, sentences. As I mentioned above, I suggest that you pronounce it as you see it ("au") without any leading /w/ or /v/ sound. That is most likely the oldest form of this papani and is widely used thus in Eastern Polynesia (Tahiti being the exception).

Next Steps

Following this lesson, you will need to learn about something very important indeed in Polynesian thinking: the concept of "inclusive" versus "exclusive" papani. So after you are done with this video, go on to the second video in this series, 0703V Papani Pronouns #2: Kāua and Māua, which will explain the concept.

aloha ʻoe
Kaliko

Video outline:

  1. Papani are pronouns
  2. There are 11 papani in Hawaiian
  3. These are the 3 easiest
  4. Au, ʻoe: me and you
  5. ʻO ia: he or she (does not mean "it")
  6. Review
  7. Practice Haʻawina 0702H
  8. Next up

Video Links for V0702 Papani Part I

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