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Is Hawaiian Hard To Learn For An English Speaker How Long Does It Take To Learn?

Should you’re all in favour of studying the Hawaiian language then you could wish to know somewhat bit extra about it earlier than bnok.vn submit will cowl whether it is exhausting to study Hawaiian as an English speaker and the similarities and variations between English and Hawaiian. It’ll additionally reply how lengthy it takes to study Hawaiian.

Is Hawaiian Arduous To Study?

Language Households

English is a part of the Indo-European language household which implies it has a number of similarities with different languages which might be a part of that household together with French, Spanish, Italian and German.

See more: Is hawaiian easy to learn

Hawaiian is a part of the Austronesian language household. Different languages that fall inside this class embody Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, Samoan and Tahitian.

Hawaiian falls below the Polynesian department of this household, which means it’s extra intently associated to different Polynesian languages like Samoan and Tahitian.

These language households group collectively languages that descend from a frequent ancestral language.

By definition, no Austronesian language shares any ancestor with any Indo-European language.

Studying languages from the identical language household tends to be simpler as these languages share many related traits with each other.

The similarities fluctuate between languages however can embody vocabulary, phrase order, grammar, pronunciation and phrase composition.

As English and Hawaiian are members of completely different language households, this implies it’s more durable to study than another languages as a result of reality the languages share few similarities.

For instance, it will likely be more durable to study Hawaiian in comparison with studying French or Spanish as an English speaker.

Hawaiian isn’t much like languages in different language households. For instance, Hawaiian isn’t much like Spanish, one other Indo-European language. Hawaiian can be not much like Japanese, a Japonic language.

Should you already know one other Polynesian language akin to Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan or Māori then you definately would discover Hawaiian very straightforward to study.

Options of Hawaiian

That being mentioned it isn’t notably exhausting and Hawaiian will be a straightforward language to study.

For instance, Hawaiian grammar is comparatively easy making it straightforward to study. Additionally they have restricted tenses that don’t have tons of various varieties.

Hawaiian has a comparatively small whole vocabulary and every phrase tends to have a number of makes use of e.g. the identical phrase (typically with slight variations) can be utilized as a noun, adjective and a verb.

That is helpful since you solely must study one phrase and you’ll then use it and perceive it in a number of completely different contexts.

Audio system Of Hawaiian

One factor that makes Hawaiian troublesome to study is that it’s not broadly spoken. There are solely roughly 24,000 audio system of Hawaiian on the planet.

Sadly, even in Hawaii solely 0.1% of the inhabitants are native Hawaiian audio system as at the moment most individuals in Hawaii converse English.

When studying a language, among the best and most vital methods is to immerse your self within the language and follow with native audio system as usually as doable.

This may be very troublesome with Hawaiian, even in case you do occur to stay in Hawaii.

Should you do stay in a group with native Hawaiian audio system then this shouldn’t be a difficulty for you however that is changing into more and more uncommon.

Lack Of Sources

Sources akin to books, programs and lessons are actually vital when studying a brand new language.

One other factor that makes Hawaiian actually troublesome to study is that there are usually not that many good assets on the market for Hawaiian.

In comparison with different languages like Spanish and French the place there are tons of of programs and books to select from, the Hawaiian assets obtainable are very restricted.

The favored language studying programme Duolingo has launched a Hawaiian language course which serves as introduction to the language.

There are a couple of books on the market for Hawaiian. You may get a Hawaiian dictionary that may function reference level for learners.

There are a couple of on-line programs you’ll be able to take for Hawaiian. Mango Languages has a quick Hawaiian course you could take to study the fundamentals.

Sadly, in case you don’t know anybody who speaks Hawaiian you could discover it very troublesome to study Hawaiian as a consequence of lack of fine assets.

Similarities Between Hawaiian And English

There are a couple of similarities between Hawaiian and English which is able to make the training course of simpler.


You need to discover studying and writing in Hawaiian fairly straightforward as they use the Latin alphabet (similar as English).

This implies you must have the ability to begin studying and announcing phrases in Hawaiian from day 1.

While the pronunciation of some letters in Hawaiian does fluctuate from English, you’ll be able to’t go too far unsuitable.

Listed here are some pattern Hawaiian phrases:

  • White – Ke’oke’o
  • Black – ‘Ele’ele
  • Purple – ‘Ula’ula
  • Blue – Polū
  • Yellow – Melemele
  • Orange – ‘Alani
  • Purple – Poni
  • Inexperienced – ‘Ōma’oma’o

Attempt to say these phrases after which take a look at the video beneath to listen to the precise pronunciation of them.

Your pronunciation will not be excellent in case you haven’t studied the alphabet however you’ll have a common thought of how you can say the phrases.

Most phrases in Hawaiian are pronounced how they appear, which is nice for learners!


You’ll be glad to know that phrases would not have grammatical gender in Hawaiian. English additionally doesn’t have grammatical gender.

Should you’ve studied Spanish or French earlier than you’ll know all about gender. Every noun will probably be both masculine or female (or neuter in another languages like Polish).

This may be difficult for English audio system however fortunately you gained’t have to fret about it with Hawaiian.

Variations Between Hawaiian And English

As English and Hawaiian are from completely different language households, there are numerous variations.


The Hawaiian alphabet is definitely very straightforward to study because it solely has 13 letters!

12 of Hawaiian’s 13 letters are from the Latin alphabet so that you’ll be very acquainted with them. There may be, nevertheless, one letter that you just won’t have seen earlier than.

One among Hawaiian’s consonants is the image ‘. You would possibly know that is an apostrophe however in Hawaiian that is referred to as the ‘okina.

The ‘okina represents a glottal cease. It is a break in a phrase, for instance, in English now we have the phrase ‘uh-oh’. The ‘okina is the break in between the syllables.

Should you’ve not learnt a language earlier than that makes use of glottal stops, this may take a short time to get used to nevertheless it’s not too troublesome to study.

The Hawaiian alphabet additionally makes use of an additional image referred to as a macron (or kahakō in Hawaiian) to tell apart between quick and lengthy vowel sounds. A kahakō is a straight line that’s positioned above a letter e.g. ā. This means a protracted vowel sound.

The usage of these symbols could make an enormous distinction to pronunciation and which means of phrases. For instance, the phrase ‘lolo’ means mind however ‘lōlō’ means dim-witted.

Phrase Order

Phrase order in Hawaiian is a bit completely different to English.

In English the usual phrase order is subject-verb-object.


John throws the ball.

John = topic, throws = verb, ball = object.

Hawaiian is completely different and it’s customary phrase order is verb-subject-object.

Quoting the identical instance as above, in Hawaiian the phrase ‘John throws the ball’ could be worded as ‘Throws John the ball’.

This will likely take some time to get used to for a local English speaker.

That being mentioned the phrase order may be very constant so when you’ve obtained the cling of it you gained’t discover many exceptions.

Phrases Are Unrelated

As Hawaiian and English started with separate origins and developed alongside separate paths, phrases in Hawaiian aren’t associated to English phrases.

Having related phrases does normally make the training course of a lot simpler.

For instance, an English speaker studying Spanish can already make sense of a number of phrases akin to ‘la televisión’ which implies ‘tv’.

Sadly, you gained’t discover this with Hawaiian so it will likely be a bit more durable to study new phrases.

Many phrases in Hawaiian are usually longer than common and will be troublesome for learners to say. This can be due partly to the restricted sounds in Hawaii (solely 13 letters) so phrases are usually a bit longer.

For instance, considered one of Hawaiian’s longest (and most troublesome) phrases is humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa which is the phrase for his or her state fish.

Fortunately, most phrases in Hawaiian aren’t any approach close to this lengthy.

How Lengthy Does It Take To Study Hawaiian For An English Speaker?

Sadly there isn’t sufficient statistical information obtainable to find out how lengthy on common it takes to study Hawaiian. That is primarily as a consequence of the truth that not sufficient individuals study it.

Nevertheless, we’re in a position to present a tough estimate based mostly on the analysis performed by the Overseas Service Institute.

It’ll take between 36 weeks and 44 weeks to study Hawaiian. That is the equal of 900 – 1100 classroom hours.

This assumes you do 25 hours of learning every week. Should you’re not in a position to dedicate this a lot time to studying Hawaiian it might take you longer.

Try the desk beneath to see what number of weeks/years it could take to study Hawaiian based mostly on how a lot examine time you do every day:

Your progress may very well be a lot sooner in case you already converse an analogous language akin to Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan or Māori.

The Overseas Service Institute has a language classification system that categorizes how lengthy it takes for a scholar to achieve ‘skilled working proficiency’ in a language.

This is without doubt one of the greatest and most correct language classification techniques on the market as they’ve spent a long time analysing how lengthy it takes their college students to study new languages.

Hawaiian isn’t listed on their language checklist, nevertheless it’s anticipated that it could fall below both class II or class III.

  • Class II – 36 weeks (900 classroom hours)
  • Class III – 44 weeks (1100 classroom hours)

That is based mostly on the truth that different Austronesian languages akin to Malay, Indonesian and Tagalog fall below these classes. These are probably the most intently associated languages to Hawaiian on the checklist.

Malay and Indonesian fall below class II whereas Tagalog falls below class III. We might count on Hawaiian to fall someplace in between.

Is Hawaiian Price Studying?

The reply as to if Hawaiian is price studying is basically as much as you.

As I discussed beforehand, it could take you roughly 900 – 1100 hours or 36 – 44 weeks to study Hawaiian to a skilled working proficiency. It is a lot of effort and time and you need to have plenty of motivation and self-discipline to attain this.

Should you do resolve to study Hawaiian you’ll get quite a bit out of it.

Hawaiian is spoken by round 24,000 individuals world wide, primarily in Hawaii.

By studying Hawaiian you’ll have the ability to talk with 24,000 individuals and luxuriate in their vibrant and attention-grabbing tradition. This could vary from music to books and way more.

This can be price it for you particularly when you have roots in Hawaiian tradition. Maybe you reside in Hawaii or have Hawaiian descent.

Hawaiian can be presently thought of an ‘endangered language’ as in Hawaii most individuals converse English and plenty of Hawaiian youngsters are usually not studying the language.

Because of this, it’s actually vital that folks continue learning and talking Hawaiian so we don’t lose it.

After we lose a language, we lose a tradition. Because of this, Hawaiian is a really helpful language to study.

Should you’re all in favour of studying Hawaiian why not begin by studying how you can say howdy in Hawaiian.

Try our different Hawaiian content material right here.

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