Hawaii State Native Language


Statue of King Kamehameha I

Statue of King Kamehameha I (O'ahu - Honolulu - Capitol District); photo by Wally Gobetz on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).

Official Native Language of Hawaii

Native Hawaiian was recognized as the official state language of Hawaii in 1978. All State Languages

The legal language states: "The Hawaiian language is the native language of Hawaii and may be used on all emblems and symbols representative of the State, its departments, agencies and political subdivisions."

The state motto and state song are in native Hawaiian (Hawaii's motto appears on the state seal and on the U.S. Mint's bicentennial commemorative quarter for Hawaii).

Frequently Used Hawaiian Words

aloha: love, hello, goodbye
hula: A dance characterized by rhythmic body movements, a hula dancer; to dance the hula; song or chant used for the hula; to sing or chant for a hula.
kama'āina: native or local
kāne: man
kapu: taboo, no trespassing
keiki: child or children
kōkua: help or give assistance
lānai: porch, patio, balcony
lei: Garland, wreath; necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, ivory, beads, feathers, or paper, given as a symbol of affection
mahalo: thanks, gratitude; admiration, praise, esteem, regard, respect; admire, appreciate.
makai: oceanside
mauka: mountainside
'ohana: family
'ono: delicious
pau: finished
pūpū: snacks or appetizers
ukulele: A four-stringed instrument shaped similar to a very small guitar
wahine: female


A representation of Hawaii's great seal hangs over the main entrance to the Hawaii State Capitol; photo by Bill Sodeman on Flickr (use permitted with attribution / share alike). 

Great seal of Hawaii

The U.S. Mint's bicentennial commemmorative state quarter for Hawaii features a statue of Kamehameha I, an outline of the state, and the state motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka 'Āina i ka Pono (public domain image on Wikipedia).

Hawaii quarter


Hula: Preserving Native Hawaiian Language and Culture