Hawaiian language guide
Planning to go to Hawaii? Here are some helpful words and phrases to connect with locals.
Aloha (pronounced ah-loh-hah)
Either hello or goodbye but so much more. It also means peace and affection. Hawaiians greet each other with aloha, treat each other with aloha, and live aloha. It embodies a deep sense of respect and it invites the receiver to become a part of the Hawaiian family.
Malama (pronounced maah-lah-mah)
To care for, tend, preserve, protect, save.
Mahalo (pronounced mah-hah-loh)
A hui hou (pronounced ah-hoo-wee-ho-uu)
Until we meet again.
E komo mai (pronounced ay-koh-moh-my-ee)
Welcome, come in. Many businesses have ‘E komo mai’ written at the entrance.
Aole pilikia (pronounced ah-oh-leh pee-lee-kee-yah)
Lit. No problem, also you’re welcome
Manini (pronounced mah-nee-nee)
Small. If it’s manini, it’s small; it’s something you don’t need to worry about.
Ono (pronounced oh-no)
Ohana (pronounced oh-hah-nah)
A person’s extended family, but in a much wider sense. It can include friends, cousins, in-laws, neighbours and co-workers.
Keiki (pronounced kay-key)
Children. You’ll see keiki menus, keiki prices at attractions, or events for keiki.
Wahine (pronounced wah-hee-nay)
Woman. You’ll see restrooms with ‘Wahine’ written on them instead of ‘Women’.
Kane (pronounced kaah-nay)
Man. You’ll see restrooms with ‘Kane’ written on them instead of ‘Men’.