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People constantly ask me what languages civilization speak in Hawaii. English is the main language spoken here, so girlfriend don’t need to worry about learning a brand-new language prior to you come to Hawaii. However although English is mainly talked here, there space some Hawaiian words you can want come know before you come here. This words and also phrases have made it into daily usage.

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You will certainly hear human being saying details phrases throughout your stay in the Hawaiian Islands. Some of these unit volume are printed on menus and also signs in stores. Street surname are likewise mainly Hawaiian words.

History the the Hawaiian language

For numerous years, the Hawaiian language to be an oral language, passed down from generation to generation.

When missionaries came to Hawaii in the at an early stage 1800s, lock helped create a created language. Hawaiian was the primary language of every one of the islands until 1893. American pressures overthrew Queen Lili`uokalani, the last reigning Hawaiian monarch. ~ the takeover, the Hawaiian language to be banned in schools and also government.

In 1986, that ban was officially lifted. Today, both Hawaiian and also English are well-known as the main languages of Hawaii, with most civilization speaking English.

The Hawaiian alphabet

13 letters consist of the Hawaiian alphabet. Over there are 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and also eight consonants. The eight consonants space h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and also the `okina. The sound the the `okina is a pause, like as soon as you to speak “uh-oh.” If friend omit the`okina, friend can adjust the entire meaning of the word.

I’ve placed together a perform of the most generally used Hawaiian words. This list is long, for this reason don’t concern if you can’t remember them all! If you space unsure what other means, just ask! component of the aloha heart is the kindness and also respect v which anyone treats each other, for this reason anyone would be happy to help you the end if you space confused.

Greetings and expressions

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

Mahalo: say thanks to you.

E komo mai: Welcome. Plenty of stores and also businesses have actually “e komo mai” composed on the entrance.

A hui hou: until we accomplish again.

Mahalo nui loa: give thanks to you an extremely much.


Keiki: Children. Plenty of times girlfriend will check out keiki menus at restaurants, keiki price at attractions, or events for keiki.

Wahine: Women. Girlfriend will watch restrooms through Wahine written on them instead of Women.

Kane: Men. Friend will check out restrooms with Kane written on them instead of Men.

Ohana: Family.

Kamaaina: “One of the land.” It method anyone who is Native-born and anyone that is a irreversible resident of Hawaii.


Kau Kau: come eat.

Ono: Good. Friend will watch “ono grinds” advertised, which means great food. However don’t be puzzled when you check out Ono ~ above a restaurant menu! Ono is a type of fish, i m sorry is also very good.

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

Poke: accurate translated, Poke means to slice or to cut. Poke this day is cubed fish, typically tuna. The fish is cut into bite-sized pieces and also seasoned with diferent spices and also sauces.


Makai: towards the sea. You will hear someone making use of this word to give directions. If someone speak you to walk makai, they room telling you come go in the direction of the sea.

Mauka: in the direction of the mountain. The is also used when giving directions. If someone speak you to walk makua, they space telling you to go towards the mountains.

Kokua: come help. You might see indications asking for her kokua with placing trash in trash cans or maintaining the trails clean of trash.

Ala: road or path. Ala Moana Boulevard and Ala Wai Boulevard space two main roads in Honolulu.


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

Hale: A house. The Hale Koa is a armed forces hotel in Waikiki that equates to “house the the warrior.”

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

Opala: Trash. You will see this published on trash can be ~ sometimes.

Honu: Hawaiian green sea turtle. You will see this native a lot, together Hawaiian green sea turtles are really important in Hawaiian culture and room endangered.

Other Hawaiian words and phrases

Pau: all done, finished. We favor to say we space pau v work.

Pau hana: after ~ work.

Puka: Hole.

Manini: Small. If it’s manini, that small; it’s something friend don’t require to worry about.

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

Lolo: Crazy.

Kapa Kahi: Upside down, all messed up.

Vog: Smog that sometimes drifts end from the huge Island. That can reason some world to have actually allergies.

Pilau: Rotten.

Wiki: Fast. Over there is a Wikiwiki bus, a free shuttle around that take away you about the terminals at the Honolulu Airport.

Da kine: have the right to mean anything. That is comparable in English come whatchamacallit.

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I know that this is a lot of to take in, therefore don’t issue if you can not remember the all. Create down a few that you want to remember. And, understand that that is commonly not too difficult to figure out from context what a many these indigenous mean.