Home
About Us
Reference
Market
Free Information
Links
Contact
 

Hawaiian Alphabet
including the ʻokina and kahakō

The Hawaiian language was an oral tradition. The Hawaiian alphabet (piapa), was written by 19th century missionaries. The alphabet contains 12 English letters: 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and 7 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w). There are also two diacritical marks: the ʻokina (glottal stop) and the kahakō (macron). The ʻokina is considered a consonant and sounds like the "-" in "oh-oh". The kahakō stresses a vowel and tells you to hold it slightly longer. You will never find 2 consonants together, a vowel always follows a consonant or the vowel stands alone. The ʻokina and kahakō alter the meaning of the word.

Pronunciation

Consonants

w
after i and e, sounds like a v; after u and o, it sounds like w; after an a it is either w or v.
all others
pretty much like in English

Vowels

For diphthongs, stress the first letter followed by the unstressed second letter.

  Unstressed Stressed
a above far
e bet pay
i city see
o sole sole
u moon moon

Now try pronounce our state fish — the humuhumunukunukuapuaa!

Unicode Representation

Single Entities
Upper Lower
DEC Entity Named Entity DEC Entity Named Entity
Ā Ā Ā Ā ā ā ā ā
Ē Ē Ē Ē ē ē ē ē
Ī Ī Ī Ī ī ī ī ī
Ō Ō Ō Ō ō ō ō ō
Ū Ū Ū Ū ū ū ū ū
ʻ ʻ            
Combined Entities
Upper Lower
Ā ā
Ē ē
Ī ī
Ō ō
Ū ū