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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Hawaiian language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Hawaiian phonology for more detail on the sounds of Hawaiian.

IPA Examples Nearest English equivalent
h Honolulu hat
j Mauna Kea [ˈkɛjə][1] yes
k Kamehameha[2] sky
l Honolulu, Lānaʻi[3] lean
m Maui moon
n naʻi note
p Pele spy
t Waikīkī, wikiwiki[2] steal
v wikiwiki[4] vision
w Loa [ˈlowə], Kīlauea [tiːlɐwˈwɛjə][4] wall
ʔ Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu uh-oh!
(a catch in the throat)
IPA Example Note
ˈ Honolulu [honoˈlulu] placed before the stressed syllable[5]
IPA Examples Nearest English equivalent
Lānaʻi father
ɐ ahu, Molokaʻi[6] nut
ə Hawaiʻi, Mauna Loa[6] sofa
Kēōkea hey
ɛ Pele[7] bed
e Kahoʻolawe[7] Spanish seta
Waikīkī peel
i wikiwiki Spanish hijo
ʻōʻū more
o Honolulu Spanish loco
ʻōʻū moon
u Honolulu Spanish tuyo
Short diphthongs
ju kiu cue
ow kākou mole
o̯i poi queen
ew heu Portuguese and Spanish neutro
ej lei May
ɐw Mauna[8] cow
ɐj Waikīkī[8] light
ɐo̯ haole Spanish caos
ɐe̯ koaea Spanish trae
Long diphthongs
oːw ʻōuli no way
eːj kēia may you
aːw kāu RP far west
aːj kāia RP far younger
aːo̯ ʻāoka crowd
aːe̯ māea [example needed]


  1. ^ The y sound [j] is not written, but appears between a front vowel (i, e) and a non-front vowel (a, o, u)
  2. ^ a b [k] and [t], spelled k, are variants of a single consonant. [k] is almost universal at the beginnings of words, while [t] is most common before the vowel i. [t] is also more common in the western dialects, as on Kauaʻi, while [k] predominates on the Big Island.
  3. ^ In some dialects the letter l tends to be pronounced [n], especially in words with an n in them. On the western islands it tends to be pronounced as a tap, [ɾ].
  4. ^ a b [w] and [v], spelled w, are variants of a single consonant. [w] is the norm after back vowels u, o, while [v] is the norm after front vowels i, e. Initially and after the central vowel a, as in Hawaiʻi, they are found in free variation. [w] also occurs, though it is usually not written, between a back vowel (u, o) and a non-back vowel (i, e, a).
  5. ^ Stress falls on the penultimate vowel, with diphthongs and long vowels counting as two (that is, a final long vowel or diphthong will be stressed). Longer words may have a second stressed vowel, whose position is not predictable.
  6. ^ a b Short a is pronounced [ɐ] when stressed and [ə] when not.
  7. ^ a b Short e is [ɛ] when stressed and generally when next to l, n, or another syllable with a [ɛ]; otherwise it is [e].
  8. ^ a b In rapid speech, /ɐw/ and /ɐj/ tend to be pronounced [ɔw] and [ɛj], respectively.

See also[edit]