How to Say “In Front Of” and “Behind”

Maikaʻi loa ka hana! Ua pololei paha nā mea a pau? A ʻo ia! E holomua kākou i kēia manawa.

You actually already know these two expressions from listening to the stories. “I mua o” and “i hope o” mean “in front of” and “behind”, respectively. Let’s hear an example of their use:

  • Ua noho ke kanaka i mua o ka hale – the person sat in front of the
  • house. (i mua o ka hale = in front of the house)
  • Ua noho ke kanaka i hope o ka hale – the person sat behind the house (i hope o ka hale = behind the house)

Did you hear the marker “i” right after the subject “kanaka”?

“Ua noho ke kanaka i hope…”

The “i” marker tells the listener to listen for the location of the action which follows: i hope o ka hale. In other words, “i” helps the listener to recognise where the subject of the sentence, ke kanaka, ends. Ua noho (action)/ ke kanaka (subject)/ i hope o ka hale (location).

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It is interesting to note that the word “ma” can be used in place of this “i” marker to indicate a location of something happening. So we can say either “i mua o ka hale” or “ma mua o ka hale”. “I hope o ka hale”, or “ma hope o ka hale”. Since you are not studying linguistics in this program, there is no need for us to work out the reasoning behind the option of “i” or “ma”, but rather to be confident that when we want to indicate a location of an action, we can start that part of the sentence with the marker “i” or “ma”.

Let’s get to some examples. You should just say these over and over to yourself until you become comfortable enough that it feels natural to say these sentences. After a while, if you were to say them incorrectly, they would sound strange. That’s great progress when you know what sounds “right” from “wrong”.

Hoʻomākaukau!

  • Ua pau ka hana i mua o ka hale – the work is finished in front of the house.
  • Ua nui nā huaʻai ma hope o ka hale – there is alot of fruit behind the house.
  • E ʻōlelo ana nā malihini i mua o nā kānaka – the visitors are going to speak in front of the people.
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These next examples will be read a little more slowly so that it gives you a chance to listen to each piece of the phrase.

  • E hoʻolohe ana ʻo Kimo iā Kealoha i mua o ka uapo – Kimo will listen to Kealoha in front of the bridge.
  • E hoʻolohe ana nā kānaka iā Kealoha ma Hilo, ma mua o ka uapo – The people are going to listen to Kealoha in Hilo, in front of the bridge.
  • ʻAʻole pilikia. E holoholo ana kākou ma mua o ka hale kapikala – No problem. We will be riding around the front of the capital building.
  • Ua nui nā kānaka i mua o ka mokulele, no ka mea, e nui ana nā malihini – There were many people in front of the plane, because there were going to be many visitors.
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  • Ua nui nā huaʻai i mua o Kimo – there were many fruits in front of Kimo.
  • Ua nui nā huaʻai i mua o ke kanaka – there were many fruits in front of the person.
  • E ʻoluʻolu ana ka makani ma hope o ke kuahiwi – the wind behind the mountain is going to be comfortable and cool.
  • E ʻoluʻolu ana ka makani ma hope o Kaʻala – the wind behind Kaʻala is going to be cool and comfortable.
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So now that you have practiced saying “i mua o”, “i hope o”, “ma mua o”, and “ma hope o”, you can help me to find my lost friend! Let’s pretend we are on a trip somewhere, and I seem to have lost my friend.

I will ask you “I hea koʻu hoaaloha?” (Where is my friend?) Then I will give you the English version of the response, and you are to translate it into Hawaiian and then tell me the location. You can tell whether to use “i” or “ma” by the way I ask the question. Just listen carefully, and youʻll hear the hint at the start of each question.

After a short delay, during which you should say your translation, I’ll give you the answer so you can check yourself. Makemake e hoʻomaka i ka haʻawina? Hoʻomākaukau!

  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of the house – i mua o ka hale
  • Ma hea koʻu hoaaloha? – behind the house – ma hope o ka hale
  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of the people – i mua o nā kānaka
  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of the bridge – i mua o ka uapo
  • Ma hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in Hilo, in front of the bridge – ma Hilo, ma mua o ka uapo
  • Ma hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of the capital building – ma mua o ka hale kapikala
  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of the plane – i mua o ka mokulele
  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of Kimo – i mua o Kimo
  • I hea koʻu hoaaloha? – in front of person – i mua o ke kanaka
  • Ma hea koʻu hoaaloha? – behind the mountain – ma hope o ke kuahiwi
  • Ma hea koʻu hoaaloha? – behind Kimo – ma hope o Kimo
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Disc 5 Track 22 part 1 00:15 and music

Pehea ka hana? How have you been doing? Maikaʻi paha. I kēia manawa, e holomua kākou i ke aʻo i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ka mokupuni nana ʻo Molokaʻi

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Pane mai

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