The beautiful Hawaiian language captures the natural beauty of the islands in its tones and phrases. Most Hawaiian words have multiple meanings and sometimes hidden meanings. When the language is spoken, the understanding comes from the context of what is being said.
Our name is pronounced;
“loo ow kah lah mah koo”
a sounds like [ah] as in above [ah buv]
e sounds like [eh] as in bet [beht]
i sounds like [ee] as in be [bee]
o sounds like [oh] as in obey [oh bei]
u sounds like [oo] as in rule [rool]
ai sounds like the “i” in ice
ae sounds like I or eye
ao sounds like “ow” in how, but without a nasal twang
au sounds like the “ou” in house or out.
ei sounds like “ei” in chow mein or in eight
eu has no equivalent English; “eu” sounds like “eh-oo,” run together, as in a single syllable
iu sounds like “ew” in few
oi sounds like the “oi” in voice
ou sounds like the “ow” in bowl
ui is an unusual sound for English-speakers, sort of like the “ooey” in gooey, but pronounced as a single syllable
òkina glottal stop. Pronounced as a brief pause where it occurs in the word.
kahako macron. Elongates the sound of the vowel to which it is attached.
Commonly Used Hawaiian Words
Aina (EYE-na) Land, earth
Alii ah-LEE-ee) Chief, chiefess, or royalty
Aloha (ah-LOW-ha) Hello, good-by, or an expression of affection
Heiau (hay-EE-ow) Pre-Christian shrine or place of worship
Hula (WHO-lah) The dance of Hawaii
Imu (EE-moo) An underground oven you will see at a luau
Kahuna (kah-WHO-na) A priest, minister, or an expert at any profession
Kai (kigh) The sea
Kamaaina (Kah-ma-EYE-na) Native born
Kane (KAH-knee) A man or boy
Kapu (KAH-poo) Sacred, taboo, forbidden, no trespassing
Keiki (KAY-key) Child, offspring, or children
Kokua (koh-KOO-ah) Help or give assistance
Lanai (lah-NIGH) A porch, patio, or balcony
Lei (lay) A necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, feathers, etc.
Luau (LEW-ow) Literally means young taro tops, but used for a Hawaiian feast
Mahalo (mah-HAH-low) Thanks, gratitude
Makai (mah-kigh) Ocean, used to mean "toward the ocean"
Malihini (mah-lee-HEE-knee) A stranger, foreigner, tourist, etc.
Mauka (MOW-ka [rhymes with how-ka]) Toward the mountains
Nui (NEW-ee) Big, large, great, or important
Ohana (oh-HAH-nah) Family or relative
Ono (OH-no) Delicious or tasty, and also a large mackerel type of fish
Pali (PAH-lee) Cliff, a steep hill or slope
Paniolo (paw-knee-OH-low) Hawaiian cowboy
Pau (pow) Finished, ended, all done
Poi (poy, as in boy) A paste made from pounded taro root
Pupu (poo-poo) Snacks or appetizers
Wahine (wah-HEE-neh) Woman, lady
Wikiwiki (wee-kee-wee-kee) Fast or speedy