Learn Hawaiian

The Hawaiian language has a very long history of origin. Throughout the centuries, however, it has slowly diminished in use. As time went on, Hawaiian Pidgin was also derived from immigrants, English and non-English, of Hawaii. Hawaiian, to this day, is still considered a strong second language of the islands.


  1. Explore Hawaiian pidgin. Being familiar with this creates a more understanding of the modernized Hawaiian language. Some Hawaiian words, such as "pau" (pronounced pow) meaning "finished", are included in Pidgin.
  2. Discover the alphabet. Contrary to the modern English alphabet that consists of 26 letters, the Hawaiian alphabet contains 12 letters. The seven consonants are h, k, l, m, n, p, and w and the five vowels are a, e, i, o, u.
    • Vowel pronunciation are "ah", "ey", "ee", "oh", and "oo".
    • When a long vowel is pronounced, the macron symbol (dash or hyphen) is used over the stressed letter.
  3. Learn some basic words and phrases in Hawaiian. Some words are actually used worldwide in media and everyday communication.
    • Say Hello or Love in Hawaiian (ah-low-ha): This is the universal word for hello and goodbye, as well as love.
    • Kama'aina (caw-ma-eye-na): Native born or Hawaii resident. Certain places and attractions, such as the Honolulu Zoo, provide kama'aina discounts.
    • Mahalo (ma-ha-low): Thank you. The phrase "mahalo a nui loa" (ah nu-wee low-ah) means thank you very much.
    • Ohana (oh-ha-na): Family. This could mean blood-related family and people that you feel close enough to call family.
    • Haole (how-li): Caucasian person. If a person is half Caucasian, they would be considered "hapa haole".
  4. Note that the word "wiki" is actually Hawaiian. Pronounced as wee-key, wiki means fast or quick. Some schools have included a "wiki lunch" in their schedules, which is a mix between a snack and lunch during the first recess. Between 1970 and 2007, there was a "wiki wiki" shuttle system at the Honolulu International Airport to transport passengers and baggage around in a quick and efficient time.
  5. Purchase a Hawaiian/English dictionary. A Hawaiian dictionary also further explains how one word can be used in other expressions and as other meanings.
  6. Enroll a child in a Hawaii school. Not only do they educate on common words and phrases, but there are songs about colors, numbers, and other other things in life that they teach. Hawaiian History is a high school curriculum class for the Social Studies department. Depending on the school, it is optional or a requirement in order to graduate. Ukulele is another high school curriculum class for the Arts and/or Music department.
  7. Watch your vowel pronunciation. When sounding out syllables that contain vowels, use the Hawaiian vowel sounds. "Ke", as in the Likelike Highway, is swayed between "kay" and "key" and "me", as in Kamehameha, is pronounced as "meh", not "me".


  • Search online for websites that provide phrases and pronunciations. Find books in the library on learning the Hawaiian language.
  • Many modern Hawaiian words, for example aloha, can break down into syllables and become faster to learn than complicated words that contain long vowels, etc.
  • Because the ancient Hawaiian language isn't commonly used on a strict basis, the flow between ancient, modern, and Hawaiian pidgin is apt in today's culture.

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