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Visitors to Hawaii are commonly amazed at the long Hawaiian place names and long strings of vowels in Hawaiian words. Names such as Kalanianaole Highway, a stretch of the Kamehameha Highway, and Aiea, a community west of Honolulu, leave visitors at a loss to pronounce them. The pronunciation of such words, however, is quite easy to figure out, since every vowel is pronounced. Just take your time, pronounce every vowel as you go, and you've got it. Well.... almost.

It's not quite as simple as that. A number of the vowels are pronounced differently than in English. But what helps a little is the fact that each vowel is always pronounced the same way. There is no "o," for example, pronounced one way in a word like "come," another way in "comrade," and another way in "moon" as is the case with the "o" in the English language. The prominent differences in pronunciation are roughly these:

a Pronounced "ah" and never "ay." "Kamehameha," for example, starts off "kah...," not "Kam..." as in the word "camera."
e Pronounced "ay" as in the long "a" in the English language. "Kamehameha," for example, is roughly pronounced "kah may hah may hah."
i Pronounced "ee" as in the long "e" in the English language. "Waikiki," for example, is pronounced "wah ee kee kee." "Wah" and "ee" are slurred to sound like "wye." Try it. Likewise, "kai," as in "Hawaii Kai," is pronounced "kah ee." When slurred, it sounds like "kye."
o Pronounced "oh," never differently.
u Pronounced "oo" as in "goo," never differently.

So can you now pronounce the name of that community Aiea? "Aiea" is pronounced "ah ee ay ah." Slur the first two syllables and you've got it -- roughly "eye ay ah." "Kapiolani" is pronounced "kah pee oh lah nee." "Hale" is pronounced "hah lay," not like the English word "hail."

{noun} Land, earth.

{noun} Tongue, language.

{noun-transitive verb, noun-stative verb} Love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; sweetheart, lover, loved one; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, hail. Greetings! Hello! Good-by! Farewell! Alas!

aloha 'aina
{noun-verb} Love of the land; to nurture and care for the land.

'a'ole pilikia
{intransitive verb} No problem, no trouble.

{noun} Long house, as for canoes or hula instruction; meeting house.

{noun-intransitive verb} To go, come, walk; going, moving.

{noun-stative verb} Drummer and hula chanter (the memorizer); to make fast; to bind, attach, hold fast to, keep, catch; to learn, memorize, master, study, complete, fix; to record, as music..

{noun-transitive verb} 1. A dance characterized by rhythmic body movements, a hula dancer; to dance the hula. 2. Song or chant used for the hula; to sing or chant for a hula.

{intransitive verb} To turn, reverse; to curl over, as a breaker; to change, as an opinion or manner of living.

{noun-stative verb} Sea, sea water; area near the sea, seaside, lowlands; tide, current in the sea.

{noun-intransitive verb} Native-born, one born in a place, host; acquainted, familiar. [Commonly referred to a long-time resident of Hawai'i, as distinguished from a visitor.)

kanaka maoli
{noun} Full-blooded Hawaiian person. [Also refers to an indigenous person of Hawai'i whose ancestry predates the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, such as a Native Hawaiian.]

{noun} Tapa, as made from the inner bark of various plants.

ki'i pohaku
{noun} Stone carving, petroglyph.

{noun-transitive verb} Help, aid, assistance, relief, assistant, associate, deputy, helper; co-operation; to help, assist, support, accommodate.

{noun} 1. Teacher, tutor. 2. Beginning, source, origin; starting point. 3. Bottom, base, foundation, basis, main stalk of a tree, trunk, handle, root; hereditary, fundamental. 4. Reason, cause, goal, justification, motive, grounds, purpose, object, why.

{noun} 1. Grandparent, ancestor, relative or close friend of the grandparent's generation, grandaunt, granduncle. 2. Starting point, source; growing.

{noun-stative verb} Nation, race, tribe, people, nationality; great company of people; national, racial.

{noun} Garland, wreath; necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, ivory, feathers, or paper, given as a symbol of affection; beads; any ornament worn around the head or about the neck; to wear a lei; crown.

{noun} Hawaiian feast, named for the taro tops always served at one. This is not an ancient name, but goes back at least to 1856, when so used by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser newspaper; formerly a feast was pa'ina or 'aha'aina.

{noun-transitive verb} 1. Thanks, gratitude; to thank. 2. Admiration, praise, esteem, regards, respects; to admire, praise, appreciate.

{noun-stative verb} On the seaside, towards the sea, in the direction of the sea.

{noun-stative verb} Parent, any relative of the parent's generation, as uncle, aunt, cousin; progenitor; main stalk of a plant; adult; full-grown, mature, older, senior.

{noun-transitive verb} To take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, maintain; care, preservation, support, fidelity, loyalty; caretaker, keeper.

{noun-stative verb} Stranger, foreigner, newcomer, tourist, guest, company; one unfamiliar with a place or custom; new, unfamiliar, unusual, rare, introduced, of foreign origin; for the first time.

{noun} Inland, upland, towards the mountain, in the direction of the uplands.

{noun-transitive verb} Song, anthem, or chant of any kind; poem, poetry; to sing, chant.

{noun-transitive verb} Wave, surf; full of waves; to form waves; wavy, as wood grain.

{noun-stative verb} Family, relative, kin group; related.

{noun} Dancer, as contrasted with the chanter or ho'opa'a (memorizer); now, any dance accompanied by chanting and drumming on a gourd drum.

{noun-transitive verb} Language, speech, word, quotation, statement, utterance, term; to speak, say, state, talk, mention, quote, converse, tell; oral, verbatim, verbal.

'olelo no'eau
{noun} Proverb, wise saying, poetical saying, traditional saying.

{noun-transitive verb} Chant that was not danced to, especially with prolonged phrases chanted in one breath; to chant thus.

{noun-transitive verb} Delicious, tasty, savory; to relish, crave; deliciousness, flavor, savor.

{noun-intransitive verb} Trouble of any kind, great or small; problem, nuisance, bother, distress, adversity, affliction, accident, difficulty, inconvenience, perturbation, tragedy, lack; in trouble, troubled, bothered, cramped, crowded. See 'a'ole pilikia.

{noun-transitive verb} Prayer, incantation, blessing, grace; to pray, worship, ask a blessing.

{noun} A four-stringed instrument shaped similar to a very small guitar. [Literally defined as "leaping flea"; probably derived from the Hawaiian nickname of Edward Purvis, who was small and quick and who popularized this instrument brought to Hawai'i by the Portuguese in 1879.]

{noun-stative verb} Water, liquid or liquor or any kind other than sea water; to flow, like water, fluid.

{stative verb} Fast, speedy; to hurry, hasten; quick, fast, swift.

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