He called me puka teeth as a kid.

He called me puka teeth as a kid.

I didn't grow up speaking Hawaiian fluently, but one word I knew from a young age was "puka" cause my dad used to call me "puka teeth". I was missing my top front right and bottom front left teeth (think of checkers) and for some reason it took way longer than usual to come in.

I think many of us can relate to this experience, hopefully not the teeth part, but the fact that you probably heard a lot of Hawaiian words growing up. You probably still remember them till this day and maybe use them with your own kids and friends.

These handouts help you to take words you may know and pair them with full sentences so that you can start using Hawaiian in every day situations. They are built around a very specific situation/context, but the sentence patterns can be repurposed to fit unique situations that you may find yourself in. 

Don't forget to be patient with yourself and realistic. Think about how old you are right now and how good you are at your first language, now think about a 2 year old. Do you notice a difference between your language ability and a 2 year old? I hope so. Just because you can express yourself eloquently in your dominant language doesn't mean you have to do so in Hawaiian. That may be the goal, but it will take time. I'm not there yet! So don't feel alone. We're here to learn together and lift one another.

Today's handout is about brushing those teeth of ours! Let's keep them clean so we can avoid the kauka niho a me nā puka niho!


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