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FREE Hawaiian Language Lessons Online

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Year Established: 1959
The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters, 5 vowels a,e,i,o and u plus 7 consonants h,k,l,m,n,p, and w. In the Hawaiian language a consonant is always followed by a vowel which also means all Hawaiian words end in a vowel. Each consonant + a vowel usually make a syllable. If a vowel is followed by a vowel, often the second vowel is a syllable all by itself. For example, Ka'anapali (resort location on Maui) is pronounced KA A NA PA LI, phonetically pronounced KA-A-NA-PA-LEE. Names and words are more easily pronounced when they are broken down into single syllable chunks. Take the name of Hawaii's state fish, humuhumunukunukuapua?a, and pronounce it hu-mu-hu-mu-nu-ku-nu-ku-a-pu-a-a. Phonetically pronounced who-moo-who-moo-new-coo-new-coo-ah-poo-ah-ah. Sometimes the letter W is pronounced the same as V as in the traditional pronunciation of Hawai'i which is phonetically pronounced huh-vi-ee rather than huh-why-ee. Stressed vowels , like in the Hawaiian word for hello, goodbye and love, "aloha". E makes an a sound, like in thee English word: may, like in the Hawaiian State Bird, "Nene". Stressed vowels Unstressed Vowels a - ah, as in "car" a - a, as in "about" e - a, as in "may" e - eh, as in "met" i - ee, as in "bee" o - oh, as in "so" u - oo, as in "spoon" In the Hawaiian language a symbol directly over a vowel called a kahakô indicates that the vowel sound is to be elongated. A apostrophe like symbol is called an `okina and indicates a quick pause in the word, as in "ah-ah" for the word a`a.


Useful Hawaiian Words When Throwing a Party

Invited: Kono
Invitation: Palapala kono
Date/Time: Manawa
Place: Kauwahi
Directions: 'Ao'ao
Bring: Lawe mai
Attendance: Ma'ane'i
Reply/answer: Hua loa'a
I am coming/I will come: E hele mai ana au
I am busy: Pa`ahana nõ au
Don't forget: Mai poina!
Baby: Keiki or pepe

Anniversary: La ho'omana'o
Birthday: La hanau
Come and eat: Mai e `ai
Celebration: Ho`olaule`a
Congratulate: Ho'omaika'i
Congratulations: Ho'omaika'i 'ana
Our Wedding Day: Ko maua la male 'ana
Promotion/promote: Ho'opi'i
Retirement/retire: Ho'omaha loa
Shower: Kuaua
Wedding: Male 'ana
Wedding feast: 'Aha'aina male
Sweet Sixteen: Momona 'Umi Kumaono
Please join us: Ho'olu komo la kaua
Come celebrate: Hele mei hoohiwahiwa
Come celebrate Taylor's first birthday: Hele me hoohiwahiwa Taylor's mua loa la hanau
Come celebrate Joe's 30th birthday: Hele me hoohiwahiwa Joe's 30th la hanau
Come celebrate the wedding of Bob & Sue : Hele mei hoohiwahiwa Bob a me Sue's la male'ana
Come celebrate our wedding day: Hele mei hoohiwahiwa ko maua la male 'ana
Come celebrate Jack & Jill's 25th Anniversary: Hele me hoohiwahiwa Jack & Jill's 25th la ho'omana'o
Come celebrate George's retirement: Hele me hoohiwahiwa George's ho'omaha loa
Come celebrate Sharilyn's promotion: Hele me hoohiwahiwa Sharilyn's ho'opi'i
Come to Tiffany's baby shower luau: Hale mai Tiffany's pepe kuaua luau
Thank you for celebrating with us: Mahalo nui loa na ho'olaule'a me la kaua

Days of the Week & Months in Hawaiian

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)

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)

Holidays in Hawaiian

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Hau'oli La Ho'omakika'i (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-key-kah-ee)
Happy Holidays ~ Hau'oli Lanui (pronounced how-oh-lay la-new-ee)
Merry Christmas ~ Mele Kalikimaka (pronounced may-lay ka-lee-key-ma-ka)
Happy Hanukkah ~ Hau'oli Hanukaha (pronounced how-oh-lay ha-new-ka-ha)
Happy Kwanzaa ~ Hau'oli Kawanaka (pronounced how-oh-lay ka-wa-na-ka)
Happy New Year ~ Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (pronounced how-oh-lay ma-ka-hee-key ho)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ~ Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou
Happy Hanukkah and New Year ~ Hau'oli Hanukaha me ka Makahiki Hou
Happy Birthday ~ Hau`oli la Hanau (pronounced how-oh-lay la ha-now)
Happy Anniversary ~ Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-na-o)
Happy Retirement ~ Hau`oli la Ho'omaha loa (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-ha low-a)
Happy Sweet 16 ~ Hau`oli Momona 'Umi Kumaono (pronounced how-oh-lay mo-mo-na oo-me ku-ma-o-no)

Popular Hawaiian Phrases

A hui hou kakou ~ Until we meet again
Aloha kakahiaka ~ Good morning
Aloha `auinala ~ Good afternooon
Aloha ahiahi ~ Good evening
Aloha `oe ~ Farewell to you
A`ole pilikia ~ No problem, Your welcome
E komo mai ~ Welcome, come in
Hana Hou! ~ One more time!
Hana Pa ~ Fish On the line
Kipa hou mai ~ Come visit again
Mahalo ~ Thank you
Mahalo nui loa ~ Thank you very much
Malu No ~ Reserved For (This is ideal for place card settings)
Me ka `oia`i`o ~ With sincerity
Mau Loa ~ Forever
Nau wale no ~ Just for you
`O wai kou inoa? ~ What is your name?
Pau Hana ~ Done Working
Pau ~ done, completed or stop
Pomaika`i ~ Good Luck

Food & Fishing Hawaiian Names & Terms

'ape (AH-pay)~ A large-leaf plant that superficiously looks very much like taro, but has a noxious sap
'avapuhi or 'awapuhi (AH-vah-POOH-hee) ~ yellow ginger
ceviche (Mexico) (say-VEE-chay)~ raw fish "cooked" in lime juice and mixed with onions, tomatoes and other veggies. hale (HAH-lay)~ hall; any official building; a large house; also, a canoe shed, either modern or traditional
hana pa'a! (HAH-nah PAH-ah)~ (lit: hard work!) exclamation meaning you've just hooked up to a big fish, and you're going to be busy for a while...
haole (how-lay)~ Caucasian person, often used as a pejorative; often mispronounced hauli
heiau (HEY-ee-ow)~ "temple" or structured area of traditional worship, usu. incl. stone terraces; often extended to mean any "sacred" ruins
hui (HUU-ee)~ a group , club, cartel or other association
huli (HU-LEE)~ (lit: to turn) to roll over; capsize
hulihuli~ (lit: to turn many times) smoked meat, usu. chicken; rotisserie chicken
ika (Japanese)(ee-kah)~ small inshore squid; bought frozen as bait for papio, also dried, shredded and spiced as a local (Japanese-derived) snack
'iwa (EE-vah)~ Frigatebirds
kaukahi (kow-KAH-hee)~ alone; by oneself; also: a one-person canoe.
kaulua (kow-LU-ah)~ a two-person canoe (see above)
keawe (kay-AH-vay)~mesquite tree (intr. from Mexico), common in shoreline campgrounds, drops frightenly long and sharp thorns all over
limu (LEE-mu)~ technically, it's any kind of alga (even pond scum), but usually used to mean various seaweeds used as a condiment in Haw'n food like poke.
maika'i (my-KAH-ee)~ well-being; health; righteousness
makai (mah-KAH-ee, mah-KAI)~ towards the sea; also downhill
mauka (mah-OO-kah)~ towards the land; also uphill
poisson cru (French)(PWA-sahn crew)~ a Tahitian version of ceviche that includes coconut milk
puka (POOH-kah)~ lit.: hole; gap; cave entrance
pupu (POOH-POOH)~ really unfortunate name, but it means tasty finger-food eaten before or instead of a regular meal.
poke (PO-kay)~raw fish mixed with various flavorings like onions, soy sauce, limu (seaweed), sesame seeds, chile peppers, etc. A uniquely Hawaiian delicacy. Often mispronounced poki.
sashimi (Japanese) ~ raw fish slices usu. served with wasabi and shoyu, best consumed within minutes of catching the fish!
tako (Japanese)~ small reef octopus, small ones are sold as bait for trolling, larger ones (can reach 5 lbs or more) usu. made into a chewy poke. Often erroneosly called "squid" by locals, but don't confuse with ika
wa'a (VAH-ah)~ canoe, watercraft; or in our case used to mean a paddled boat.
wasabi (japanese)~ very strong Japanese green horseradish, mixed with shoyu (soy sauce) as a dip for sashimi
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