A Lesson in Hawaiian Vocabulary - Marina Hawaii Vacations

A Lesson in Hawaiian Vocabulary

Author 03-09-2016

A Lesson in Hawaiian Vocabulary
Aloha! E komo mai! Hello, and welcome to your mini-guide to the Hawaiian language. Connect with true Hawaiian culture by learning a little of the language!

Here at the Ilikai, Hawaiian language lessons and hula lessons are offered by one of our local shop keepers right in the hotel. Enjoy the tropical breeze in the courtyard as you dance the hula or learn to communicate from a true local, Germaine. She runs her class for condo owners and guests here at the Ilikai multiple times a week. Tuesday and Friday from 4-5 pm is hula dancing, and Wednesday from 4-5 pm is the Hawaiian language class.

Classes are free to owners and $6 per class for guests ($30 per month for long-term tenants).  Simply sign up in her shop, Simply Wood Studios, next to Cinnamon’s on the lobby level of the hotel. Germaine will gladly be your new kumu! For now, check out this list of useful phrases and words to study until you join us here in Waikiki:

Ahupua’a – Land divisions set up in a complex system by ancient Hawaiians (you’ll see this word on brown street signs, marking the divisions)

A hui hou – until we meet again/ goodbye

‘Aina – land, island (a favorite phrase you can use when you unexpectedly see someone you know on the island—“Small Aina!”)

‘A’ole pilikia – you’re welcome/no problem

Aloha – hello, goodbye, love, the happy spirit of the people that permeates the islands

E komo mai! – Welcome, enter (You’ll see this phrase on a sign in our office here at the Ilikai)

Hale – house, building (“Honolulu Hale” is the name of the city hall; decorated extravagantly with lights every Christmas season—a must see!)

Hana hou – Encore, do it again

Hau’oli La Hanau! – Happy Birthday

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! – Happy New Year (check out the fireworks over the lagoon this New Year’s Eve, or every Friday night, easily visible from our property)

Haupia – A Hawaiian coconut flavored pudding/jello (featured in many Hawaiian desserts, our favorite is haupia & Okinawan sweet potato pie)

Honi Honi— kiss

Honu – turtle (catch a glimpse of these on the North Shore)

Kai – Sea, sea water

Kane – male/man (you’ll see this word often on restroom signs)

Keiki – child/children

Kokua – help, assistance (you’ll see this word everywhere, and in the spirit of the locals)

Lanai— balcony/patio/porch (this is where you enjoy the Hawaiian breeze!)

Lani— the sky/heavens (attached to the end of many womens’ names)

Lei – a symbol of honor or affection, a necklace made of flowers/leaves/feathers/nuts/shells (many leis have special meanings and history, depending on the materials used)

Limu— seaweed (Ahi limu is a local favorite way to eat poke!)

Lu’au – Hawaiian feast; young taro leaves (edible and often used in cooking)

Mahalo – Thank you

Makana – gift/ present

Manuahi – Free

Mauka – Toward the mountains (this word and the next word on the list re used to give directions on the island)

Makai– Toward the ocean

Nalu – wave, surf

Nani– beautiful, pretty

Nui loa – very much (ie, “Mahalo nui loa,” meaning thank you very much, or “Aloha nui loa,” meaning very much love)

‘Ohana – family

Ono – a type of white fish common in Hawaii

‘Ono – delicious (“’ono grindz!” = “delicious food!”)

Pau – done, finished, over (usually said in a celebratory fashion)

Pau Hana – after work (this is mostly used to describe after-work festivities, socialization, and relaxing for drinks with friends and family)

Pehea ‘oe? – How are you?

Poi – A staple in the Hawaiian diet, a thick liquid made from pounded taro root and water

Poke– raw fish cut into cubes and usually seasoned, served as pupu or as a meal with rice (ahi poke, tako poke, etc)

Pupu– appetizers/ small dishes (we like to eat here in Hawaii, so no meeting for drinks is complete without pupus!)

Tako– octopus (you will definitely see this on menus, but you might also see spear fishermen with a few of these in their catch bag)

Wahine – Female/woman (again, you’ll often see this on restroom signs)

Wai– water (fresh, normally)


Mahalo for reading, and we’ll see you soon in Waikiki! Aloha! A hui hou!


For any questions about Waikiki vacation rentals, please contact Marina Hawaii Vacations and an agent would be happy to assist you. We can be reached at 808-946-0716 or info@marinahawaiivacations.com



Susie Bowman                                  Blayne Koike

Reservations Agent                        Reservations Agent