The Hawaiian Language is unique to the United States of America, for it’s the only official language in any state that isn’t English (English is the primary spoken and written language of the islands however).
The Hawaiian language is an Austronesian language that can trace its’ modern roots back to King Kamehameha III, when he established the first Hawaiian-language constitutions in 1839 and 1840.
There has been fear recently that the Hawaiian language may be lost as only 0.1% of Hawaiians are native speakers and there has been a sharp decline in the use of the Hawaiian tongue as recently as the 1950′s.
The loss of such a unique and historical language would be a tragic loss for Hawaii and the world as native Hawaiian was unique to the islands of Hawaii alone for as long as history dates.
Hawaiian Language Crash Course for Visitors
Here are some helpful Hawaiian words and phrases you can use on your trip to the islands:
Aloha – hello, good-bye, I love you
Kalakaua – Main street in Waikiki.
Kama’aina – Long-time residents of Hawaii.
Kane – Male or man, used to identify bathroom doors.
Keiki – Child, children, babies.
Kokua – Help, aid, assist.
Lanai – A patio, porch, deck/balcony.
Lei – A traditional Hawaiian necklace made of flowers, leaves, or shells.
Luau – A Hawaiian feast, used interchangeably with parties, special events and gatherings.
Mahalo – Thanks, gratitude, appreciation.
Ono – Delicious, flavorful, tasty. Used to describe Hawaiian and other local or ethnic food.
Pau – Finished, done, end.
Pupu – An appetizer, hors d’oeuvre, snack.
Wahine – Woman, female. Used to identify bathroom doors.
Wikiwiki – Speedy, fast, swift. Used often in terms relating to shuttle/transportation services.