15 Words And Phrases People In Hawaii Just Don’t Understand

Everything about Hawaii is unique: from the scenery and popular food to the Hawaiian culture and language. Many Hawaiian words and phrases are still used today, and when you mix that with Hawaiian Pidgin — a creole English-based creole dialect — you’re left with a language unique to the islands. While we may understand their meanings, here are 15 words and phrases Hawaii locals don’t have in their vocabulary.

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Are there any other words and phrases Hawaii locals don’t use in everyday conversation? Sound off in the comments, then click here to discover 12 Silly Sayings That Will Only Make Sense If You’re From Hawaii. And if you want to learn more about the Hawaiian language, click here.

Address: Hawaii, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

The Hawaiian Language

August 31, 2020

What does the Hawaiian alphabet look like?

The Hawaiian alphabet consists of just 13 letters, half of the English alphabet, including five vowels — a, e, i, o, and u — and eight consonants — h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and the glottal stop, called an ‘okina. All Hawaiian words end in a vowel and consonants are always followed by a vowel.

What should I know about the Hawaiian language?

The Hawaiian language is one of the oldest living languages in the world and has had a tumultuous history. After Hawaii became a territory of the United States in 1898, the language was banned from schools and the government, though people were still allowed to speak Hawaiian and there were, in fact, 14 separate newspapers printed in Hawaiian during this time. Though Hawaii is the only American state with two official languages — Hawaiian and English — the language is classified as critically endangered by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). From the 1830s to the 1950s, the number of native Hawaiian speakers gradually decreased. Since the 1950s, however, there has been a gradual increase in attention to and promotion of the language and we hope that one day the language is no longer considered endangered.

What is Pidgin?

Today, many Hawaiian locals prefer to speak an English-Hawaiian hybrid language known as a Pidgin dialect when it comes to daily life. Not unlike slang used in American English, linguists agree that Hawaiian Pidgin features enough distinctions from its parent languages to be considered a unique form of speaking all its own.

Address: Hawaii, USA