February is the official Hawaiian Language Month, and we celebrate ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language) Month with a variety of events, sharing information across social media, and by providing resources to our Owners and guests. Check our weekly activities calendar for the latest events happening at Hōkūala.

Hawaiian is considered a critically endangered language according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), so it is vital to continue to encourage the use and learning of vocabulary and speech.

E ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Kākou (Let’s Speak Hawaiian)

One simple way you can participate in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Month is by following along with our posts and stories on Facebook and Instagram as we feature various Hawaiian words and include videos of our cultural practitioner showing you how to pronounce them correctly and use them in common phrases. Download our Hawaiian Alphabet Card to use as a reference.

You can continue to expand your knowledge of Hawaiian and practice speaking, reading, and listening with free language learning Apps like Duolingo.

Hawaiian Vocabulary

If you have missed our posts about Hawaiian vocabulary, here are some basics to get you started!

Nani – the Hawaiian word for beautiful, attractive, and stunning. Used in a sentence as “Nani ʻo Kauaʻi” which translates to ” Beautiful Kaua’i!

Hauʻoli – the Hawaiian word for happy, elated, and joyful. Commonly  used in the phrase “Hauʻoli lā hānau!” which means “Happy birthday!”

Mālama – the Hawaiian word for caring, nurturing, and preserving. Used in the common phrase “E mālama pono!” which translates to Take good care…of yourself, each other, and the ʻāina!

Aloha – the Hawaiian word commonly expressed as “hello!” and “goodbye!” Another deeper meaning of aloha translates to love, compassion, admiration, and endearment. Used in the common phrase “Aloha au iā ʻoe!” which translates to “I love you!”

Makana – is the Hawaiian word for gift, present, award, and prize. Used in a poetic phrase such as “He makana makamae ke aloha” which translates to “Love is a precious gift”.

ʻAi – the Hawaiian word for eating, consuming, and tasting. Used in the common phrase “e ʻai kākou!” which means “Let’s eat!”

Puʻuwai – the Hawaiian word for heart. Used in the phrase “Hauʻoli Lā Puʻuwai!” which means “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Pua – is the Hawaiian word for flower and blossom. Poetically pua can also refer to a child or descendent. Used in the common poetic phrase “Kaulana nā pua o Hawaiʻi nei” which translates to “Famous are the children of Hawai’i.”

Holoholo – is a Hawaiian word that means to go riding, sailing, or on a stroll. Used commonly in the phrase “E holoholo kākou!” meaning…” Let’s go cruising!”

Maikaʻi – the Hawaiian word for good, fine, and well. In common dialogue, “Pehea ʻoe?” means “How are you?” A common response is “Maikaʻi au…mahalo!” which means “I am good…thank you!”

Mahalo – the Hawaiian word for thanks, gratitude, and appreciation. Used in the common phrase “Mahalo a nui loa!” which translates to “Thank you very much!”

ʻOhana – is the Hawaiian word for family or relative. Used in the phrase “Aloha au i kuʻu ʻohana!” which translates to “I love my family!”

Practice Greeting Your ʻOhana in Hawaiian

Aloha kakahiaka! – the Hawaiian greeting “Good morning!”

Aloha awakea! – the Hawaiian greeting “Good afternoon!”

Aloha ahiahi! – the Hawaiian greeting “Good evening!”

Language Learning Booklist

From surfing crystal clear waters to enjoying delicious locally sourced foods, Kauaʻi’s immersive culture makes it the ideal place to experience authentic Hawaii. While activities like paddleboarding, snorkeling, or hiking in the mountains can all help you experience the spirit of Aloha, nothing beats reading a good book on the beach – that’s why we have gathered these cultural literary resources for jump-starting or expanding your knowledge of Hawaii’s language and culture.

Learn more about Hawaiian Language Month or check out these fun resources from the Hawaii State Teachers Association.