Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Pronun Guide

Hawaiian was not a written language until missionaries devised a 13-sound alphabet. Islanders were discouraged from speaking Hawaiian in public so it survived primarily through music. Today, this melodic language is better appreciated and is taught in schools. Consult a Hawaiian dictionary for more information.

Pronunciation of Hawaiian

Consonants

p/k/h/l/m/n as in English

w after i and e, like v

after u and o, like w

Vowels (unstressed)

a like a in above

e like e in let

i like y in pity

o like o in hole

u like oo in moon

Vowels (stressed)

a like a in car

e like ay in play

i like e in see

o like o in hole

u like oo in moon

The Kāhāko (also called mekona for "macron") indicates that the vowel sound is to be elongated. The 'okinā indicates a break in the breath.

A Guide to Words

Hawaiian English

aikāne friend

akua god, goddess

aloha greeting, love

anu cold, cool

hahana hot, warm

hono- bay, valley

honua land, earth

ka'ao legend

kahawai stream

kai sea

kakahiaka morning

kama'āina native born

kōkua help, assistance

le'a joy

mahalo thanks

mahimahi dolphin

makai toward sea

malihini newcomer

mauka toward mountain

nalu wave

nani pretty

no ke aha? why?

'ohana family

palaoa whale

pau stop, quit

pilikia trouble

pō night

pua flower, garden

puka door, hole

waena center, middle