Hawaiian language and Grammar guide

Many people mistakenly believe the Hawaiian language linguistics is a primitive communication that can express only a few ideas.  However, comprehensive Hawaiian Language dictionaries contain well over 26,000 entries to describe the beauty, culture, history and geography of Hawaii. The “Instant Hawaiian” pocket guide by Scott Burlington indicates there are 33 ways to indicate a cloud, depending the type of cloud you’re referencing.  

Would you like to know a little more about the beautiful Hawaiian Language?  Perhaps recognize or even speak a few Hawaiian basic words while you’re on vacation?  Here is a short lesson of basics for beginners:

Hawaiian Language Alphabets

There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian Alphabet.

A, E, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, U & W

Think that makes it easy to learn? Think again. Well, it’s not THAT bad. You’ll have it mastered in no time.

Vowels and Consonants

The consonants (H, K, L, M, N, P & W) sound pretty much the same as in English. However, the vowels are different.

a sounds like [ah] [ahsounds like [eh] [behsounds like [ee] [beesounds like [oh] [ohsounds like [oo] [rooInstead of ah, it sounds like [AH] Ahh! This is heaven.”

è as in bet, or [AY] ay!”

Hawaiian words often have two vowels together in a word. This is called a Dipthong.

Diphthong: ou oi when they appear as firstai” in iaeI. You can barely hear the “eh” at the end

ao” in howau” in hout, but without a nasal twang. (ah-ou, run together)

ei” in chow meight. (eh-ee, run together)

eu” sounds like “eh-oo as a single syllable.

iu” in fewoi” in voi (oh-ee)

ou” in bowui” in gooey E ho`oma`ama`a,
[eh hoh oh mah’ ah mah’ ah]
e ho`oma`ama`a,
e ho`oma`ama`a!

Meanings – Practice, practice, practice! 


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A hui hou! [ah hui hou!] Good bye! See you later!
aikâne [ai KAH’ neh] friend, pal, buddy; friendly
Aloha [ah loh’ hah] love, greetings, goodbye, mercy, affection, 
ânuenue [AH’ noo (w)eh noo (w)eh] rainbow
E komo mai! [eh ko’ mo mai!] Welcome!
hale [hah’ leh] house, building, institution, lodge, station, 
hana [hah’ nah] work, job, activity; do
haole [hao’ leh] visitor or foreigner
hau`oli [hau’ oh lee] happy, glad, joyful; happiness, enjoyment, 
hiamoe [hee’ (y)ah moh’ (y)eh] to sleep
Kâ ! [KAH’!] Oh! How silly! Shoot! #*%@ !
kai [kai] sea, sea water
kâne [KAH’ neh] male, husband, man
Kaua`i [kau’ (w)ah ee] Northernmost of the major Hawaiian islands.
keiki [kei’ kee] child
kupuna [koo poo’ nah] grandparent, elders, ancestors
lânai [LAH’ nai] porch, veranda, patio
Lihue [LEE’ hue] City on Kaua`i. It means “cold chill”.
lû`au [LOO’ au] feast
mahalo [mah hah’ loh] “thanks”, gratitude
nani [nah’ nee] beautiful, pretty; beauty
nui [nui] large, big, important, much, great
`ohana [oh hah’ nah] family, immediate and/or extended
ua [oo’ (w)ah] rain
pali [pah’ lee] cliff, precipice
pau [pau] finished, done
pono [poh’ noh] right, moral; goodness, correct, proper; 
pua [poo’ (w)ah] flower
wahine [wah hee’ neh] woman, wife, female, Mrs.
wai [wai] fresh water
Wikiwiki! [wee’ kee wee’ kee] Hurry up! Quickly! To hurry up, very quick.


Hawaiian Language and Pronunciation Course

If you would like to learn more about the Hawaiian language, origin and literature, you can affordably buy a Hawaiian language guide book as the New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary or the little Instant Hawaiian guide, available online in many popular online book stores, which will give you the meanings and pronunciation for many Hawaiian words and common phrases. Good Luck 🙂

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