New Year Resolution – Learn the Hawaiian Language


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Photo: Kalani Akana

This is a new year and you have set your thoughts upon a resolution to learn the language of your Hawaiian ancestors. Lo and behold, this is a worthy goal because February is Hawaiian Language Month. Okay, now where would you learn? At the university? Alas, this is difficult for you. So how will you achieve your goal?

So, if you would like to learn Hawaiian language consider learning through media programs. Downloading to your cellphone or computer is free. In addition, you can also regulate your time and pace your progress.

Here below are some of my favorite applications for learning and enjoyment.

Duolingo. This app states that it is “the world’s best way to learn a language.” Their mission is to make learning fun and free. You can learn Hawaiian and listen to someone speaking it then choose or compose a response and receive immediate feedback whether it is correct or not.

Instagram. This is a social media program to share pictures and video with everyone and they can leave thoughts and share with their friends on the same platform.

Kumu Kahanu Solitario is a Hawaiian language teacher on Instagram at #ehoopilimai. His mother “Cappy” is the number one student. Each day, Cappy learns a new word or phrase like “Happy New Year.” You can enjoy Cappy’s hula or Kahanu’s singing along with his musician friends. You might recognize Kahanu as part of the singing group, Keauhou. This kind of learning is very enjoyable.

TikTok. TikTok is a social media program for the sharing of short videos – three seconds to one minute in length. The usual categories are dance, humor, and education.

TikTok is used by @ka.alala, Maluhia States, for teaching the language. He says, “This program is to help and support people learning the Hawaiian language. It’s also a means to urge people to be prepared and bold in speaking to normalize the Hawaiian language.”

Maluhia’s roleplaying is clever as he is the entire cast speaking one to another – friend to friend, parent to child, teacher to student, etc. That is how he models the use of the language in everyday life.

Interested people can also listen to his pleasant and smooth voice on Spotify or Apple. These are podcasts.

Drops. If you are interested in improving your language, you must increase the extent of your vocabulary. Drops is a good program for increasing your vocabulary. Hawaiian is one of the choices on this app. Five minutes are free daily.