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Hawaiian to English Language Guide Directory
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hawaiian language guide (top of page) HAWAII WORD TRANSLATOR
A few rules may help you in properly pronouncing your Hawaiian name. Unlike English, there are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet:
A E H I K L M N O P U and W.

Hawaiian Language Consonants
Pronounce P K as in English but with less aspiration. Pronounce H L M N as in English. W after I and E is usually pronounced like V, but after U and O usually pronounced like W; initially and after A, it can be pronounced like V or W.

Hawaiian Language Vowels
Each of the 5 Hawaiian vowels is generally uniform with some exceptions such as:
A like A in far, tar; also like UH. E like AY in bay, lay; also like E in bet; I like Y in city; also like E in Eve O like O in no, so U like OO in moon; also like U in true.

Hawaiian words, phrases and the Hawaiian language as a whole are basically simple and easy to pronounce if you sound out the words.
Here are some examples of Hawaiian Vowel Pronounciations:

A pronounced: ah as in "star" as in the Island word ALOHA

E pronounced: ey as in "stay" as in the Island word LEI

I pronounced: ee as in "see" as in the Island word HAWAII

O pronounced: oh as in "glow" as in the Island word MAHALO

U pronounced: oo as in "soon" as in the Island word HONOLULU

hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

Sunday - Lapule (lay-poo-lay )

Monday - Po'akahi (poh ah-kah-hee)

Tuesday - Po'alua (poh ah-loo-ah)

Wednesday - Po'akolu (poh ah-ko-loo)

Thursday - Po'aha (poh ah-ha)

Friday - Po'alima (poh ah-lee-mah)

Saturday - Po'aono (poh ah-o-no)

hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

January - 'Iaunuali (ee-ya-oo new-ahlee)

February - Pepeluali (pay-pay loo-ahlee )

March - Malaki (ma-la-key)

April - 'Apelila (ah-pe-lee-la)

May - Mei (may-ee)

June - Iune (ee-oo-ney)

July - Iulai (ee-oo-la-ee)

August - 'Aukake (ah-oo-ka-key)

September - Kepakemapa (key-pa-key-ma-pa)

October - 'Okakopa (oh-ka-ko-pa)

November - Nowemapa (No-vay-ma-pa)

December - Kekemapa (key-key-ma-pa)

hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

'aina - The land, earth.

Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono. - "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness..." (Hawaii's state motto)

ali'i - Ancient Hawaiian royalty.

'au'au - To bathe or take a shower. (i.e: I want to 'au'au after working all day)

ewa - An area west of Honolulu. Used as a directional term. (i.e: Go ewa on H-1)

hala - The pandanus tree whose leaves are woven into mats, baskets and hats.

halau - A place or area designation usually used for hula instruction and most often used to refer to hula groupes. (i.e: Our halau is dancing at the Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition this year)

hale - House or Home. (i.e: Let's go to your hale and watch TV)

haole - Original meaning "foreigner". Now commonlu used to describe caucasians.

hihiwai - An endemic grainy snail found in both fresh and brackish waters of Hawaii.

ho'oponopono - To correct or make right.

hui - An association or group of people. Often used to describe a family.

hukilau - A net or to fish with a net.

hula - The traditional Hawaiian dance form.

huli - To turn or flip over.

humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a - The Hawaii state fish whose nose is shaped like a pig.

hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

imu - An underground oven. (i.e: The kalua pig at our luau was cooked in an imu)

kahuna - A priest, minister or expert in any field. (i.e: The kahuna was asked to bless our new home)

kahuna lapa'au - A healer or doctor.

kai - Sea or place near the sea.

kalua - The process of baking in an underground pit or oven. Often used to describe cooked pig served at a luau. (i.e: The kalua pig at our luau was cooked in an imu)

kama'aina - Meaning local or native-born. Also used to describe longtime Island residents.

kane - Man or men. (i.e: The kane surf meet will be at noon today)

keiki - Child or children. (i.e: bring your keiki to the beach with us today)

kiawe - Name of a tree like mesquite, which is often used for Hawaiian barbecue.

kokua - Help or Assist. (i.e: We would appreciate your kokua at the luau tonight.

koloa - A Hawaiian duck now considered to be an endangered species.

kukui - The Candlenut tree whose nuts contain an oil used by ancient Hawaiians for lighting fires. (i.e: Someone gave us a beautiful kukui nut lei at the airport today)

kuleana - Designates a small piece of land or property.

kumu hula - Instructor or Teacher of Hawaiian dance. (i.e: Our kumu hula will be attending our hula performance this evening)

la'au lapa'au - A Medicine for healing.

laua'e - A fragrant fern whose pieces were often strung together to make pandanus leis.

laulau - A combination of pork, beef, chicken and fish wrapped in luau leaves and steamed.

lei - A necklace usually made of flowers. (i.e: All of us received leis at the luau this evening)

liliko'i - Passion fruit used in Hawaiian desserts and beverages. (i.e: We ordered liliko'i juice with breakfast)

lokahi - Meaning Unity or to blend opposites.

lomilomi - Hawaiian Massage. (i.e: I enjoyed my lomilomi at the beach this afternoon.

lua - Bathroom, comode, or toilet. (i.e: The lua is located on the westside of the golf course)

luna - A foreman, boss or supervisor. (i.e: The luna will meet us at the worksite this morning)

mahalo - Thank you.

makai - Towards the ocean. Usually used in giving directions. (i.e: To get to your hotel, turn right on Beach Street then head makai)

mahimahi - A Hawaiian fish. Very popular good eating fish served throughout the islands.

malihini - A newcomer or visitor.
hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

mauka - Towards the mountains. Usually used in giving directions. (i.e: To get to your hotel, turn right on Beach Street then head mauka)

ohana - Family. (i.e: We'll be with ohana during the holidays)

ono - Meaning delicious, tasty, yummy. (i.e: The luau dessert was ono)

ono-licious - Poularly used half Hawaiian, half English expression known as "hapa haole" meaning wonderfully delicious..!

opae - Hawaiian Shrimp. (.e: We saw some opae at the Marina today)

opakapaka - Hawaiian Blue snapper Fish. (i.e: We had the opakapaka served with hot Hawaiian pineapple for lunch today)

opihi - Limpets. Like tiny clams that are found on shoreline rocks and usually eaten raw.

opu - Tummy or stomach. (i.e: My opu got pink at the beach today)

pau - Done, finished. (Yep, we're all pau with that project)

pau hana - Done or finished with work. (It's pau hana time. Let's go to the beach)

pikake - A small, white, very fragrant Hawaiian flower. (I got you a pikake lei for your graduation party tonight)

piko - Belly button or navel. (i.e: Your piko's ready to contemplate now)

pipi kaula - Beef salted and dried in the sun like jerky. Usually broiled before eaten.

pohaku - A Rock or stone.

poi - A Hawaiian food staple made from cooked taro plants.

poke - Raw fish chunks mixed with seaweed.

po'okela - The Best, supreme, utmost.

pua'a - A pig or hog.

pupus - Hawaiian appetizers. (i.e: Serve the pupu's with crackers and tea please)

tutu - Hawaiian Grandmother.

ukulele - A musical Hawaiian stringed instrument which looks like a small guitar.

ulua - A Hawaiian fish popular for eating.

ulu maika - Stone used in playing the maika game (Hawaiian bowling).

umeke - Bowl, calabash or gourd made of wood.

wahine - Woman or women. (The wahine in Hawaii are really quite friendly)

hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY

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hawaiian language links directory HAWAII WORD DICTIONARY
The History of Language and Culture in Hawaii may well have begun with the first settlers in the islands who arrived from Hiva in the southern Marquesas Islands around 400 A.D. These settlers brought with them their gods, plants, culture and their language. The Hawaiian Language belongs to a family of languages from central and eastern Polynesia, which includes Hawaiian, Tahitian, Tumotuan, Rarotongan and Maori. The arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778 marked not only the beginning of major changes for the people of Hawaii but also changes in their language, religion and cultural traditions. Following Captain Cook other Westerners arrived including missionaries from New England around the year 1820. The missionaries were determined to educate the Hawaiians, including teaching them to read and write. In order to do this, they needed to give the Hawaiian language a written and recordable form.

The State of Hawaii has maintained a distinctive culture and heritage as well as a lyrical language which has recently experienced a revival throughout the islands. Even with residents whose heritage in not Polynesian, the common use of traditional terms is most predominant in their everyday vocabulary. It is quite rare to encounter a non-Hawaiian language street name anywhere in the Islands making map reading for the Tourist or Visitor challenging unless you can readily recall the 12 - 15 letter names and 5 - 7 syllables while you are searching for road signs and directions.

Another challenge is that most words seem to start with K or W and end in I or A making them virtually indistinguishable to most newcomers. Many Word, People and Place names in Hawaii are dauntingly long and challenging to pronounce unless you view them as a string of shorter words linked together into a longer descriptive and complete sentence. Listed below are a few useful suggestions to help your experience of Hawaii feel more like a local or native.

"Aloha", recognized around the world as the most popular Hawaiian Greeting means much more than "Hi" or "How are you..?" or "See you later". Aloha means to share the breath of life or the essence of existence. The second most popular of the Hawaii spoken words is "Mahalo" meaning "Thank You" throughout the islands. The traditional name for visitor's or foreigners who are non-native is "Haole", a term generally given to light or white Caucasian folks. Kapu is the Hawaiian word for taboo, which may include sacred or forbidden geological areas, archaeological sites or religious practices known and respected within the traditional island Culture. There are a great many more of these than any visitor might ever realize as they are just not discussed or shared as a matter of common course.

The first Sugar Cane plant came to the Islands of Hawaii with the Polynesian settlers but the early technology for making sugar was imported from China. Over the next 150 years, Hawaii created one of the most evolved Sugar Cane production facilities in the world. Today, there are only two Sugar Cane operations left in the State, one on Kauai and the second one on the island of Maui. Water, both fresh and salty has always been an understandable obsession for the local islander people and the Hawaiian's were no exception. This is reflected in their preoccupation in the vast number of longer words and names that incorporate Wai (fresh water) and Kai (sea or salt water) into the base of the language. The Hawaiian word for Wealth is Wai Wai equating the reverence for Water with wealth.

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