How to speak Hawaiian, Hawaiian words and language

How to speak Hawaiian Common words and phrases used in Hawaii

maui hibiscus


The 5 vowels a,e,i,o and u as well as the 7 consonants h,k,l,m,n,p, and w make up the entire Hawaiian alphabet. In the Hawaiian language a consonant is always followed by a vowel which also means all Hawaiian words end in a vowel.

Names and words are more easily pronounced when they are broken down into single syllable chunks. Take the name of Hawaii's state fish, humuhumunukunukuapua'a, and pronounce it hu-mu-hu-mu-nu-ku-nu-ku-a-pu-a-a. Phonetically pronounced who-moo-who-moo-new-coo-new-coo-ah-poo-ah-ah. Humuhumunukunukuapuaa

Sometimes the letter W is pronounced the same as V as in the traditional pronunciation of Hawai'i which is phonetically pronounced huh-vi-ee rather than huh-why-ee.

Stressed vowels

a - ah, as in car: aloha

e - a, as in may: nene

i - ee, as in bee: honi

o - oh, as in so: mahalo

u - oo, as in spoon: kapu Unstressed vowels

a - a, as in about: ali`i

e - eh, as in met: kane

In the Hawaiian language a symbol directly over a vowel called a kahak么 indicates that the vowel sound is to be elongated. A apostrophe like symbol called an `okina indicates a quick pause in the word, as in "ah-ah" for the word a`a. Note: These Hawaiian vocabulary words have not been written with the use of the correct kahak么 markings due to the absence of a Hawaiian Font.

Common Hawaiian Phrases

  • Aloha ahiahi Good evening
  • Aloha `auinala Good afternooon
  • Aloha au ia 'oe - I love you
  • Aloha nui loa - Very much love
  • Aloha `oe Farewell to you
  • Mahalo Thank you
  • A hui hou - Till we meet again
  • A hui hou kakou Until we meet again
  • Kala mai ia'u - Excuse me
  • A`ole pilikia You/re welcome / No problem
  • Pehea 'oe? - How are you?
  • Maika'i no au - I am fine
  • 'O ia mau no - Same as usual
  • Mau Loa Forever
  • Pomaika`i Good Luck
  • Merry Christmas ~ Mele Kalikimaka (pronounced may-lay ka-lee-key-ma-ka)
  • Happy Hanukkah ~ Hau'oli Hanukaha (pronounced how-oh-lee ha-new-ka-ha)
  • Happy Kwanzaa ~ Hau'oli Kawanaka (pronounced how-oh-lee ka-wa-na-ka)
  • Happy New Year ~ Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (pronounced how-oh-lee ma-ka-hee-key ho)
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ~ Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou
  • Happy Hanukkah and New Year ~ Hau'oli Hanukaha me ka Makahiki Hou
  • Happy Birthday ~ Hau`oli la Hanau (pronounced how-oh-lee la ha-now)
  • Happy Anniversary ~ Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o (pronounced how-oh-lee la ho-o-ma-na-o)
  • Happy Retirement ~ Hau`oli la Ho'omaha loa (pronounced how-oh-lee la ho-o-ma-ha low-a)

Common Hawaiian Words:

  • a`a : sharp jagged lava rock
  • `a`ala : smell good
  • ae : yes
  • 'aina{noun}: Land, earth.
  • Akamai Smart,: Clever
  • alelo{noun}: Tongue, language.
  • aloha {noun-transitive verb, noun-stative verb}: Love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; sweetheart, lover, loved one; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, hail. Greetings! Hello! Good-by! Farewell! Alas!
  • aloha 'aina {noun-verb}: Love of the land; to nurture and care for the land.
  • 'a'ole pilikia {intransitive verb}: No problem, no trouble.
  • hele {noun-intransitive verb}: To go, come, walk; going, moving.
  • hula {noun-transitive verb}: 1. A dance characterized by rhythmic body movements, a hula dancer; to dance the hula. 2. Song or chant used for the hula; to sing or chant for a hula.
  • kai {noun-stative verb}: Sea, sea water; area near the sea, seaside, lowlands; tide, current in the sea.
  • kama'aina {noun-intransitive verb}: Native-born, one born in a place, host; acquainted, familiar. [Commonly referred to a long-time resident of Hawai'i, as distinguished from a visitor.)
  • kanaka maoli {noun} :Full-blooded Hawaiian person. [Also refers to an indigenous person of Hawai'i whose ancestry predates the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, such as a Native Hawaiian.]
  • kokua {noun-transitive verb} :Help, aid, assistance, relief, assistant, associate, deputy, helper; co-operation; to help, assist, support, accommodate.
  • Kolohe : Rascal
  • kumu {noun} :1. Teacher, tutor. 2. Beginning, source, origin; starting point. 3. Bottom, base, foundation, basis, main stalk of a tree, trunk, handle, root; hereditary, fundamental. 4. Reason, cause, goal, justification, motive, grounds, purpose, object, why.
  • kupuna {noun}: 1. Grandparent, ancestor, relative or close friend of the grandparent's generation, grandaunt, granduncle. 2. Starting point, source; growing.
  • lei {noun}: Garland, wreath; necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, ivory, feathers, or paper, given as a symbol of affection; beads; any ornament worn around the head or about the neck; to wear a lei; crown.
  • lu'au {noun} :Hawaiian feast, named for the taro tops always served at one. This is not an ancient name, but goes back at least to 1856, when so used by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser newspaper; formerly a feast was pa'ina or 'aha'aina.
  • mahalo {noun-transitive verb}: 1. Thanks, gratitude; to thank. 2. Admiration, praise, esteem, regards, respects; to admire, praise, appreciate.
  • makai {noun-stative verb} :On the seaside, towards the sea, in the direction of the sea.
  • makua {noun-stative verb}: Parent, any relative of the parent's generation, as uncle, aunt, cousin; progenitor; main stalk of a plant; adult; full-grown, mature, older, senior.
  • malama {noun-transitive verb}: To take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, maintain; care, preservation, support, fidelity, loyalty; caretaker, keeper.
  • malihini {noun-stative verb}: Stranger, foreigner, newcomer, tourist, guest, company; one unfamiliar with a place or custom; new, unfamiliar, unusual, rare, introduced, of foreign origin; for the first time.
  • mauka {noun} :Inland, upland, towards the mountain, in the direction of the uplands.
  • mele {noun-transitive verb} :Song, anthem, or chant of any kind; poem, poetry; to sing, chant.
  • nalu {noun-transitive verb}: Wave, surf; full of waves; to form waves; wavy, as wood grain.
  • 'ohana {noun-stative verb}: Family, relative, kin group; related.
  • 'olelo {noun-transitive verb}: Language, speech, word, quotation, statement, utterance, term; to speak, say, state, talk, mention, quote, converse, tell; oral, verbatim, verbal.
  • 'ono {noun-transitive verb}: Delicious, tasty, savory; to relish, crave; deliciousness, flavor, savor.
  • pule {noun-transitive verb} :Prayer, incantation, blessing, grace; to pray, worship, ask a blessing.
  • Pupule: Crazy
  • wai {noun-stative verb}: Water, liquid or liquor or any kind other than sea water; to flow, like water, fluid.
  • wikiwiki {stative verb}: Fast, speedy; to hurry, hasten; quick, fast, swift.

A hui hou

Back to Bio-Beetle Home Page