“Talk Story” Like a Hawaii Local

Hawaii is one of the most welcoming visitor destinations in the world, and, when you’re here, you’re part of our ohana (family). But, if you REALLY want to blend-in like a Hawaii local, try-out some of these popular Hawaiian words and phrases. Even if you don’t pronounce them just right, you’ll still get an “A” for effort!

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s a list of the Days of the Week and their Hawaiian counterparts:

Sunday: Lapule
Monday: Po‘akahi
Tuesday: Po‘alua
Wednesday: Po‘akolu
Thursday: Po‘aha
Friday: Po‘lima
Saturday: Po‘aono

Even some of the local food and drinks will feature Hawaiian words.

Once you know the Days of the Weeks, try the Months of the Year on for size:

January: ‘Iaunuali
February: Pepeluali
March : Malaki
April: ‘Apelila
May: Mei
June: Iune
July: Iulai
August: ‘Aukake
September: Kepakemapa
October: ‘Okakopa
November: Nowemapa
December: Kekemapa

Holidays in Hawaii are a big deal—a VERY big deal. So, here’s a look at the Hawaiian words for some of the major holidays:

Happy Thanksgiving: Hau‘oli La Ho‘omakika‘i
Happy Holidays: Hau‘oli Lanui
Merry Christmas: Mele Kalikimaka
Happy Hanukkah: Hau‘oli Hanukaha
Happy Kwanzaa: Hau‘oli Kawanaka
Happy New Year: Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou
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
Happy Anniversary: Hau‘oli la Ho‘omana‘o
Happy Retirement: Hau‘oli la Ho‘omaha loa
Happy Sweet 16: Hau‘oli Momona ‘Umi Kumaono  

You can teach your children some Hawaiian by purchasing a book that features Hawaiian words.

Although most of Hawaii’s population speaks English, many locals incorporate a variety of Hawaiian words and phrases into their everyday language. Here are some popular Hawaiian phrases that will have you sounding like a local in no time:

A hui hou kakouUntil we meet again
Aloha kakahiaka: Good morning
Aloha ‘auinala: Good afternooon
Aloha ahiahi: Good evening
Aloha ‘oe:Farewell to you
A‘ole pilikiaNo problem, Your welcome
E komo mai: Welcome, come in
Hana Hou!: One more time!
Kipa hou mai: Come visit again

MahaloThank you
Mahalo nui loaThank you very much
Malu NoReserved For
Me ka ‘oia‘i‘o: With sincerity
Mau Loa: Forever
Nau wale noJust for you
‘O wai kou inoa?: What is your name?
Pomaika‘i: Good Luck

Finally, you’ll REALLY impress the locals if you refer to them by Hawaiian titles. Here a few to try out:

alaka‘i:leader
ali‘i: Hawaiian royalty
‘anakala: uncle
anake: aunt
haumana: student
hoahanau: cousin
hoa kula: classmate
hoaloha: beloved friend
hoapili: close friend
hui: staff, team, group
kahu lio: groom
kahuna: priest
kahuna pule: pastor
kaikamahinedaughter
kaikua‘ana: older brother of a male
kaikaina: younger brother or sister of the same sex
kaiko‘eke: brother in law
kaikua‘anaolder sister of a female
kaikunane:older brother of a male
kaikuahine: sister of a male
kamali‘i:children
kanaka:human
kaneman
kane male:married man

kupunakane: grandfather, grandpa, granpa, grampy, gramps, papa, pops
kupunawahinegrandmother, grandma, granma, granny, grammy, grams, nana
keiki: child, children, kid, kids, offspring
keikikaneson
koasoldier
kumu: teacher
kapuna: grandparent
ku‘uipo: sweetheart
lawai‘afisherman
makamaka: intimate friend
makua:parent
makuahine:mother, mom, mama, mommy
makuakane: father, dad, pa, daddy
mo‘iroyalty, King or Queen
mo’opuna: grandchild
ohana:family
paniolo: cowboy
wahine: woman
wahine makua:sister in law
wahine male:married woman
wahine male houbride

So, surprise a local on your next trip to Hawaii by speaking like one!