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Top 20 Hawaiian Words to Learn for your Trip

By learning a few key Hawaiian words and expressions before your next trip to the islands, you can show respect, have some fun, and find the right bathroom for your gender.

Here are the Top 20 Hawaiian words in alphabetical order:

aloha – hello; goodbye; welcome; farewell; love
hale – house
haole – a foreigner, often referring to a Caucasian
heiau – Hawaiian temple; place of worship; sacred ground
hula – native dance of Hawai’i
kama`aina – native born or local resident of Hawai’i
kane – man
keiki – child(ren)
lanai – a porch, balcony or veranda
lua – bathroom
lu`au – a Hawaiian feast
mahalo – thank you
makai – a direction: “towards the sea”
mauka – a direction: “towards the mountains”
ohana – family
ono – delicious
pali – cliff(s)
pau – finished; done (pau hana = done with work)
poi – crushed taro root, made into a sticky paste
wahine – woman

Pronunciation Tips:
1. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters – the five regular vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and eight consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and the okina: ‘ ).
2. The vowels are pronounced ah, ey, ee, oh and oo, not ay, ee, eye, oh and you, as in English.
3. Usually each vowel in a word is pronounced separately.

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