Yes/No Question Intonation

To ask a question in Hawaiian is relatively simple. In fact, you already know the wording, since it is the same as that of a statement, but it is only the intonation that has to change. Listen to the following two examples. The first is the statement, which you already know, and the second is the question:

(In the following lesson, I will use the Spanish-style upside-down question mark as a reminder to say the ensuing phrase with a questioning intonation. Normally in Hawaiian, we wouldn’t write this way.)

  • E hele ana ʻoe i Kailua – You will go to Kailua
  • ¿E hele ana ʻoe i Kailua? – Are you going to go to Kailua?

What makes the Hawaiian especially nice is the fact that you don’t need to change any of the wording; only the intonation of your voice changes. And if you already familiar with local “Pidgin” English from Hawaiʻi, then you will already know how the question intonation should sound, since it is used in Pidgin also.

Let’s get to practicing some questions. I’ll say the sentence first as a statement, and then you say it as a question. Following a short break, I’ll give the correct response, so you can check yourself. Hoʻomākaukau!

  • E hana ana ʻoe. – ¿E hana ana ʻoe?
  • E hana ana ʻoe ma ka hola ʻewalu. – ¿E hana ana ʻoe ma ka hola ʻewalu?
  • Nui nā kānaka! – ¿Nui nā kānaka?
  • Nui nā kānaka ma ke kahua mokulele! – ¿Nui nā kānaka ma ke kahua mokulele?
  • Ua holo ʻo Pele i Kauaʻi. – ¿Ua holo ʻo Pele i Kauaʻi?
  • Ua holo ʻo Pele i Kauaʻi e kiʻi iā Lohiʻau. – ¿Ua holo ʻo Pele i Kauaʻi e kiʻi iā Lohiʻau?
  • E ʻōlelo ke keiki i ke kakahiaka nui. – ¿E ʻōlelo ke keiki i ke kakahiaka nui?

ʻAe! Ua pau ka hana no ka manawa. No laila, e hoʻomau aku kākou i kekahi mea hou.

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