15 Words You’ll Only Understand If You Live In Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are unique in more ways than anyone can count – and that includes our language, vocabulary, and local diction. While most people from Hawaii don’t have an accent, per se, there are a variety of words and phrases from the Hawaiian language that are still frequently used today, and that might leave visitors a little confused, to say the least. You might just be a local if you understand these 15 common Hawaii words.

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I couldn’t possibly include all the common Hawaii words in this post, so tell us, what other Hawaiian words are only understood by locals? What would you add to this list? Sound off in the comments, then click here to discover 8 Things You Might Not Have Known About The Hawaiian Language.

Address: Hawaii, USA
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The Language Of Hawaii

January 11, 2021

Is the Hawaiian language still spoken?

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 and at one point, it was illegal to use the Hawaiian language in education and government. Since the 1950s, however, there has been a gradual increase in attention to and promotion of the language and we hope that someday soon, the language is no longer considered endangered.

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 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