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People constantly ask me what languages civilization speak in Hawaii. English is the key language spoken here, so friend don’t need to worry around learning a brand-new language before you concerned Hawaii. However although English is mainly talked here, there space some Hawaiian words you might want come know prior to you come here. These words and phrases have made it into day-to-day usage.

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You will certainly hear world saying details phrases throughout your remain in the Hawaiian Islands. Few of these unit volume are printed on menus and also signs in stores. Street name are additionally mainly Hawaiian words.

History the the Hawaiian language

For numerous years, the Hawaiian language was an dental language, passed down from generation come generation.

When missionaries concerned Hawaii in the early on 1800s, castle helped create a composed language. Hawaiian to be the main language of all of the islands till 1893. American pressures overthrew Queen Lili`uokalani, the last reigning Hawaiian monarch. After the takeover, the Hawaiian language to be banned in schools and government.

In 1986, that half was official lifted. Today, both Hawaiian and also English are known as the main languages of Hawaii, v most civilization speaking English.

The Hawaiian alphabet

13 letters comprise the Hawaiian alphabet. Over there are five vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and also eight consonants. The eight consonants are h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and the `okina. The sound the the `okina is a pause, like when you say “uh-oh.” If girlfriend omit the`okina, you can change the entire an interpretation of the word.

I’ve put together a perform of the most commonly used Hawaiian words. This perform is long, therefore don’t concern if you can’t remember them all! If you space unsure what miscellaneous means, just ask! component of the aloha soul is the kindness and respect v which anyone treats each other, therefore anyone would be happy to aid you the end if you space confused.

Greetings and expressions

Aloha: deserve to mean either hello or goodbye. It also way peace and also affection. Hawaiians greet each various other with aloha, treat each various other with aloha, and also drive v aloha. This means that they have respect because that each various other in all they do.

Mahalo: thank you.

E komo mai: Welcome. Numerous stores and businesses have “e komo mai” composed on the entrance.

A hui hou: until we fulfill again.

Mahalo nui loa: thank you an extremely much.


Keiki: Children. Plenty of times you will watch keiki menus at restaurants, keiki prices at attractions, or occasions for keiki.

Wahine: Women. Friend will watch restrooms with Wahine composed on them instead of Women.

Kane: Men. You will see restrooms v Kane composed on them instead of Men.

Ohana: Family.

Kamaaina: “One that the land.” It way anyone that is Native-born as well as anyone that is a long-term resident of Hawaii.


Kau Kau: to eat.

Ono: Good. Girlfriend will watch “ono grinds” advertised, which means great food. Yet don’t be confused when you see Ono ~ above a restaurant menu! Ono is a kind of fish, which is also an extremely good.

Pupu: Snacks or appetizers. Numerous restaurants will have a pupu menu.

Poke: accurate translated, Poke means to slice or come cut. Poke now is cubed fish, normally tuna. The fish is reduced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned v diferent spices and also sauces.


Makai: towards the sea. You will certainly hear someone utilizing this native to offer directions. If someone tells you to walk makai, they are telling you come go towards the sea.

Mauka: towards the mountain. It is additionally used when offering directions. If someone tells you to go makua, they room telling you come go in the direction of the mountains.

Kokua: come help. You might see indications asking for your kokua with putting trash in trash cans or keeping the trails clear of trash.

Ala: road or path. Ala Moana Boulevard and also Ala Wai Boulevard room two key roads in Honolulu.


Lei: A necklace made the end of flowers, nuts, or shells. People will offer you a lei to celebrate weddings, birthdays, and also other unique occasions in Hawaii.

Hale: A house. The Hale Koa is a military hotel in Waikiki that converts to “house the the warrior.”

Lanai: A balcony or patio. Countless hotel rooms have actually their very own lanai. Many restaurants market outdoor seating on the lanai together well.

Opala: Trash. You will see this published on trash cans sometimes.

Honu: Hawaiian green sea turtle. You will view this word a lot, as Hawaiian environment-friendly sea turtles are very important in Hawaiian culture and space endangered.

Other Hawaiian words and phrases

Pau: all done, finished. We choose to to speak we are pau through work.

Pau hana: ~ work.

Puka: Hole.

Manini: Small. If it’s manini, it’s small; it’s something friend don’t need to problem about.

Kuleana: acquisition responsibility. This is a really important word as Hawaiians take into consideration taking treatment of the land and also sea their kuleana.

Lolo: Crazy.

Kapa Kahi: Upside down, all messed up.

Vog: Smog that sometimes drifts end from the large Island. That can reason some civilization to have allergies.

Pilau: Rotten.

Wiki: Fast. There is a Wikiwiki bus, a free shuttle about that take away you around the terminals in ~ the Honolulu Airport.

Da kine: deserve to mean anything. It is comparable in English come whatchamacallit.

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I recognize that this is a lot of to take in, so don’t worry if you can not remember the all. Compose down a few that you desire to remember. And, know that that is usually not too hard to figure out from paper definition what a most these native mean.