If you are visiting Hawaii soon, there are some phrases that can help you during your vacation or honeymoon.   This list was put together by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and I LOVE that it includes pronunciations too!

My Vacation Lady loves Hawaii and we always try to use some Hawaiian phrases during our time in Hawaii to show respect to the culture.  It also helps when reading signs too!


Here are some tips about the Hawaiian Language:

The Hawaiian language has the same 5 vowels as the English language but only 7 consonants— h, k, l, m, n, p and w.  Since every consonant is followed by a vowel, every word ends in a vowel.

Just to help with the pronunciation of the vowels:

a “ah”  as in father
e “eh”  as in neighbor
i “ee”  as in free
o “oh”  as in low
u “oo”  as in coon

Now let’s get into some common phrases!

Aloha-  You can say this to mean hello, goodbye and love.

Aloha kakahiaka   Pronounced a-lo-ha kah-kah-hee-yah-kah. Good morning.

Aloha ʻauinalā– Pronounced a-loh-ha ah-wee-na-lah. Good afternoon.

Aloha ahiahi– Pronounced a-loh-ha a-hee-yah-hee. Good evening.

ʻAʻole pilikia– Pronounced ah-oh-leh pee-lee-kee-yah. Use this phrase if someone thanks you. It means you’re welcome.

A hui hou– Pronounced ah-hoo-wee-ho-oo-uu. Until we meet again.

E Komo MaiPronounced eh-ko-mo-my. Welcome, enter.

Heiau– Pronounced hey-ah-oo. Hawaiian temple. These are sacred places and should be visited with reverence and respect.

Hele– Pronounced hey-ley. To go.

Honu- Pronounced ho-new. Turtle. Hawaiian green sea turtles. They are protected in Hawaiʻi, and you must be at least 10 feet (3 meters) on land and in water to view them safely.

Holoholo– Pronounced ho-low-ho-low. To go for a walk, stroll, to travel around.

Imu– Pronounced ee-moo. Underground oven. You’ll often see this at a lūʻau. It’s where the pig is cooked.

Kāne– Pronounced kah-neh. Man.

Kōkua– Pronounced ko-koo-ah. To help or assist. You might see a sign that says, “Please kōkua.”

Kuleana– Pronounced koo-lee-ah-nah. Responsibility or privilege.

Lānai– Pronounced la-nye. Porch or balcony. Your hotel room may have one. (Not to be confused with the island Lānaʻi.)

Lei– Pronounced lay. Flower, leaves, shells or feathers that are strung or intertwined together and given as a symbol of affection.

Loʻi– Pronounced low-ee. A taro patch, or an irrigated terrace used for growing taro.

Lūʻau– Pronounced loo-ah-oo. A Hawaiian feast, though the word lūʻau actually refers to the leaves of the taro plant.

Mahalo– Pronounced mah-hah-loh. Thank you. If you add nui (pronounced noo-ee) to it, it then means “thank you very much.”

Mālama– Pronounced mah-lah-mah. To take care of, preserve, protect.

Mauka– Pronounced mah-oo-kah. People use mauka as a directional term meaning “upland.”

Makai– Pronounced mah-ka-eye. Makai is the opposite of mauka, and it means “seaward.”

ʻOno– Pronounced oh-no. Tasty, delicious. Not to be confused with ono (without the ʻokina), which is a type of fish (wahoo).

ʻŌpala– Pronounced oh-pah-lah. Garbage or trash.

Pali– Pronounced pah-lee. Steep cliff, as in the Nāpali Coast on Kauaʻi.

Pūpū– Pronounced poo-poo. Appetizer.

Waʻa- Pronounced va-ah. Canoe.

Wahine– Pronounced vah-hee-neh. Woman. You might see this on a bathroom door.

My Vacation Lady is a top rated Hawaii Destination Specialist  and Hawaii vacation and honeymoon planner.  Let us give you plan your your Hawaii vacation or honeymoon!

**********WEDDING WIRE and THE KNOT APPROVED**********