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The only place where the Hawaiian language is spoken on a daily basis is on the private island of Ni'ihau, located just off the coast of Kauai. Throughout all the islands you will find many Hawaiian names, words and expressions used in daily life. In fact 85% of all place names in Hawaii are Hawaiian and often have interesting stories behind how they got the name. The Polynesians never had a written language until the Missionaries arrived and found they needed a Hawaiian Bible, so they quickly developed a twelve letter alphabet. It includes five vowels and seven consonants which are pronounced just as they are in English except for the W, which is often pronounced as a V. Hawaiian Pidgin or Slang is another common way of communicating in everyday conversation amongst locals.
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Here is a video on YouTube.com if you would like to learn more about the Hawaiian Language. If you would like to learn a few everyday words or some everyday slang please see our table below. If you would like to add more words or let us know some comments please contact us.

Here are a few words that you may hear during your visit to the islands. You may also be interested in a Hawaiian-English dictionary which covers more that 5000 words and an introduction to the Hawaiian Language.

Vowels:
 
A, E, I, O and U
Consonants:
 
H, K, L, M, N, P and W
 
 
 
Pidgin/Slang
 
What it means
Brah
 
brother, friend
Da Kine
 
can be substituted for anyword
Howzit
 
How are you?, how is it going?
Mo'bettah
 
this is a better way
Shaka (hand gesture)
 
great, cool, take it easy
Stink eye
 
getting a dirty look
Tanks eh?
 
thank you
 
 
 
Regularly used Hawaiian words
 
English Translation
 
A
 
Aloha
 
greeting used to say hello or goodbye. Aloha can also mean love
'Aina
 
land earth
A'a
 
sharp lava
Ali'i
 
Hawaiian royalty
Akamai
 
smart, intelligent
 
H
 
Hale
 
house or home
Hana
 
work, bay
Haole
 
foreigner, Caucasian
Hapa
 
portion or part, mix of races, such as
hapa-haole
Hau`oli
 
happy
Heiau
 
ancient Hawaiian religious temple on a raised base of lava rocks
Hoku
 
star
Holoholo
 
to walk or travel for fun
Honu
 
turtle
Hula
 
Hawaiian form of communication
using dance
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a
 
our State Fish, the Hawaiian triggerfish
 
I
 
imu
 
underground pit oven used for cooking luau
 
K
 
kahuna
 
Hawaiian priest
kai
 
ocean, salt water
kama`aina
 
native-Hawaiian or long-time resident
kane
 
man
kapu
 
forbidden, sacred
kupuna
 
respected elder
kupunakane
 
grandfather
kupunawahine
 
grandmother
kau kau
 
food
ku`uipo
 
sweetheart
 
L
 
lanai
 
porch, veranda
lani
 
heavenly
laulau
 
meat or fish wrapped in taro leaves and steamed in a ti leaf packet
lei
 
garland of flowers, leaves, nuts, or shells
lolo
 
crazy
luau
 
feast
 
M
 
mahalo
 
thank you
mahi-mahi
 
dolphin fish
makahiki
 
ancient Hawaiian celebration held annually with sports and religious festivities
malihini
 
newcomer, visitor
mauna
 
mountain
mele
 
song, sing
menehune
 
mythical small people who are rumored to have inhabited the Hawaiian islands before the Polynesians
 
N
 
nai'a
 
dolphin (the mammal)
nani
 
beautiful, enjoyable
nene
 
endangered Hawaii native goose
niu
 
coconut
 
O
 
`ono
 
delicious
`opala
 
trash
 
P
 
pali
 
cliff
paniolo
 
cowboy
poi
 
pounded taro root
puka
 
hole
pupu
 
appetizer, snack
 
U
 
ukulele
 
stringed instrument, small guitar
 
W
 
wahine
 
woman
wai
 
fresh water
wikiwiki
 
quick, fast