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

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You will certainly hear civilization saying details phrases throughout your continue to be in the Hawaiian Islands. Some of these paragraph are published on menus and also signs in stores. Street surname are also mainly Hawaiian words.

History the the Hawaiian language

For plenty of years, the Hawaiian language to be an oral language, passed down from generation come generation.

When missionaries involved Hawaii in the early 1800s, lock helped produce a written language. Hawaiian was the major language of all of the islands till 1893. American forces overthrew Queen Lili`uokalani, the critical reigning Hawaiian monarch. After ~ the takeover, the Hawaiian language to be banned in schools and government.

In 1986, that ban was official lifted. Today, both Hawaiian and English are well-known as the official languages that Hawaii, with most world speaking English.

The Hawaiian alphabet

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

I’ve placed together a list of the most commonly used Hawaiian words. This list is long, for this reason don’t issue if you can’t remember them all! If you are unsure what miscellaneous means, simply ask! component of the aloha heart is the kindness and also respect through which everyone treats each other, therefore anyone would be happy to aid you out if you are confused.

Greetings and also expressions

Aloha: can mean either hello or goodbye. The also way peace and also affection. Hawaiians greet each other with aloha, law each various other with aloha, and drive v aloha. This means that they have respect for each other in every they do.

Mahalo: thank you.

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

A hui hou: until we accomplish again.

Mahalo nui loa: give thanks to you very much.


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

Wahine: Women. Friend will watch restrooms through Wahine created on them rather of Women.

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

Ohana: Family.

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


Kau Kau: come eat.

Ono: Good. Friend will view “ono grinds” advertised, i beg your pardon means great food. Yet don’t be perplexed when you see Ono top top a restaurant menu! Ono is a kind of fish, i m sorry is also an extremely good.

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

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


Makai: in the direction of the sea. You will certainly hear someone making use of this indigenous to give directions. If someone tells you to walk makai, they space telling you to go towards the sea.

Mauka: towards the mountain. The is likewise used when giving directions. If someone speak you to walk makua, they are telling you to go towards the mountains.

Kokua: come help. You might see signs asking for her kokua with placing trash in trash can be ~ or maintaining the trails clean of trash.

Ala: roadway or path. Ala Moana Boulevard and also Ala Wai Boulevard room two main roads in Honolulu.


Lei: A necklace made the end of flowers, nuts, or shells. Human being will sell you a lei to celebrate weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions in Hawaii.

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

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

Opala: Trash. Girlfriend will see this printed on trash cans sometimes.

Honu: Hawaiian green sea turtle. You will view this word a lot, as Hawaiian green sea tortoise are really important in Hawaiian society and are endangered.

Other Hawaiian words and phrases

Pau: all done, finished. We like to to speak we room pau v work.

Pau hana: after work.

Puka: Hole.

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

Kuleana: acquisition responsibility. This is a an extremely important word as Hawaiians consider taking treatment of the land and also sea their kuleana.

Lolo: Crazy.

Kapa Kahi: Upside down, every messed up.

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

Pilau: Rotten.

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

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

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I understand that this is a many to take it in, for this reason don’t worry if you can’t remember that all. Write down a few that you want to remember. And, know that the is commonly not too difficult to number out from paper definition what a lot of these indigenous mean.