0501V Spelling Hawaiian Words in Hawaiian

How To Spell Words In Hawaiian

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 neglected 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.

Interestingly, it seems hard for more 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 Hawaiian dictionaries 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 video links follow at the end of this article.

Nā Woela (vowels)
a e i o u
ʻā ʻē ʻī ʻō ʻū
Nā Kōneka (consonants)
h k l m n p w ʻ

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 Links

This video was one of the first videos I made for ʻŌlelo Online, and thus was recorded in a medium-sized 640 by 480 pixel size using a "slideshow" presentation style. I hope to re-record it in the newer and larger "sketchboard" format one day. As it stands, however, it should play in any up-to-date browser, or if you download it, it will play in either QuickTime or VLC Player. Please be patient while the video begins to load; this may take up to 30 seconds or so.

aloha nui

Video Outline

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

Video Links for Desktop and Mobile

Video Help

Streaming or Downloading Videos

All videos are in MP4 format except the WebM file and the OGG file (if available). The MP4's should play on all Macs, Windows PCs, iPads, iPhones, and most Android or similar devices. Most up-to-date web browsers on both desktops and mobile devices should be able to play the MP4 files. Just select the small, medium, or large link to match your network connection speed (bandwidth).

Note that you may have to wait up to 30 seconds on a medium speed connection for the video to load enough to play.

If you are using Firefox on Windows, you may find that the MP4 versions do not play. In this case, try playing the WebM file in your browser, or else download it and play it using VLC Player on your PC.

If you wish to download any of the files rather than showing them in your web browser, you should right-click on the links above and select "Save Linked File As..." or whatever similar choice your browser has. You can use QuickTime Player or VLC Player on Macs or Windows PCs to play the files on your desktops and there are many apps which can play videos on tablets such as iPad, including VLC Player for iOS and Android.

More Technical Information and Help for Video Files

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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