0501V Spelling Hawaiian Words in Hawaiian

How To Spell Words Using The Hawaiian Alphabet

Have you ever wondered how to spell out the letters of a word in Hawaiian? You will learn in this video how to do so using the Hawaiian “names” for the letters.


Spelling words in Hawaiian is one of the areas that I think is often quickly glossed over by Hawaiian language teachers early on, possibly because it’s just so exciting to get right into grammar lessons and simple sentences. I believe that being able to spell words out correctly early on allows for instructors and students alike to check and refine pronunciation in isolated chunks (the individual letters) before bad habits become ingrained. That is, for the teacher and students to agree on using the Hawaiian alphabet when spelling Hawaiian words leaves less room for misunderstanding especially when speaking of “a”, “e”, and “i”.

Interestingly, it often seems hard for advanced students to learn how to spell smoothly after being so used to using the English “names” for the letters in Hawaiian. The same goes for using long numbers, fractions, telephone numbers, and so on, which remain deep-seated due to this knowledge coming from the “L1” (primary language of the speaker). I have seen many examples of this in students of all levels.

Get Started!

So let’s start right now learning how to spell in Hawaiian. Since we will also use Hawaiian spelling in the more advanced videos, make sure you spend time getting this down and practicing it by yourself using some random Hawaiian words from your own vocabulary lists or even from the Wehewehe Wikiwiki Hawaiian dictionary available online!

For a quick glance at the “names” of Hawaiian letters in the alphabet, see the table below before you go and watch the video. The top rows are the letters, and the lower rows are the names we give to each letter. The video links follow at the end of this article.

The Hawaiian Alphabet

Nā Woela (vowels)
Nā Kōneka (consonants)

Next Steps

After you watch the video and practice by yourself, and then feel you are ready to move on, the next video in this set is 0502V Hawaiian Number Basics: From 1 to 100.

Video Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Pronunciation
  3. Hawaiian “names” for letters
  4. Vowel names
  5. Vowels with macrons
  6. Consonants
  7. Review
  8. Practice

Length: 21 minutes

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Two comments on “0501V Spelling Hawaiian Words in Hawaiian
  1. Aloha nui Kaliko, I donʻt have comments regarding subject matter yet, but I want to let you know how much I am enjoying your style of teaching, and also I like being able to go back and listen to lessons over. My first impression about this course is very favorable. Iʻm so glad I am enrolled and I am very pleased with your presentations. Aloha and mahalo! Katie

    • Mahalo nui, e Katie! Hauʻoli au i ke aʻo ʻana i ka ʻōlelo iā ʻoukou! (I am happy to be teaching Hawaiian to you all!) and I thank you for your feedback! I have lots of good lessons and other fun items planned for this site, and I hope you continue to enjoy them as much as I continue to make them!

Pane mai

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