Hawaiian Language Resources

For Starters

Any serious student of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian culture will own the following dictionary:

Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian, by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert. University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

Online Resources

  1. Hawaiian Dictionaries. At this site on the Ulukau Hawaiian Electronic Library, you can search through six different authoritative dictionaries at once! Input Hawaiian terms to find English definitions; input English terms to find Hawaiian equivalents.
  2. Learn Hawaiian at the website of ‘Aha Pūnana Leo.
  3. Kulaiwi. A series of 30 Hawaiian-language lessons from Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning. At this webpage you can stream videos and download a Lesson Workbook for Lessons 1-12. You can also purchase the Kulaiwi DVD set, which includes Lessons #1-24 on 6 DVDs.
  4. Learn Hawaiian Free Videos. A series of videos on YouTube by Ahonui, a teacher in one of the Hawaiian-language immersion schools on the Big Island. This site appears to include the podcasts from UH Hiloʻs Hale Kuamoʻo program that accompanies the textbook Nā Kai ‘Ewalu.
  5. Hawaiian Phrases and Hawaiian Places. Two apps for iPhone, iPod, or iPad, from Coconut Info. Featuring pronunciations by renowned chanter and National Heritage Fellow James Ka‘upena Wong.


Links will take you to Amazon.com listings. To support a Native Hawaiian owned independent bookseller, pick up the phone and call Native Books / Nā Mea Hawai‘i at 1-800-887-7751, or email them at:  info@nativebookshawaii.com

1. Introductory Guides

A Pocket Guide to the Hawaiian Language, 2nd edition, by Albert J. Schutz; illustrated by Dietrich Varez (Island Heritage, 2010)

Hawaiian at a Glance, by Albert J. Schutz (Island Heritage, 2002). An overview in a  pocketsized reference book.

An Easy Guide to the Hawaiian Language, by Jade Mapuana Riley (Mutual Publishing, 2005)

2. Language Lessons & Textbooks

Instant Immersion Hawaiian. 8 compact discs

Learn Hawaiian at Home, by Kahikakealani Wright (Bess Press, 2005)

Ka Lei Ha‘aheo, by Alberta Pualani Hopkins (University of Hawaii Press, 1992). This textbook is used in classes at UH Mānoa.

‘Olelo ‘Oiwi: Hawaiian Language Fundamentals, by Hokulani Cleeland. This textbook is also used in classes at UH Mānoa.

Nā Kai ‘Ewalu, by Kauanoe Kamanā and Pila Wilson. This textbook is used at UH Hilo. Order it direct. And check out the companion podcasts.

3. Dictionaries

New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary, by Mary Kawena Pukui & Samuel H. Elbert (University of Hawaii Press,1992).

Illustrated Hawaiian Dictionary, by Kahikahealani Wright (Bess Press, 2005)

maka Kaiao: A Modern Hawaiian Vocabulary (University of Hawaii Press, 2003). The compilation of Hawaiian words that have been creatd, collected, and approved by the Hawaiian Lexicon Committee from Hale Kuamo‘o and ‘Aha Punana Leo.

Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language, by Lorin Andrews. Originally published in 1865; most recently reprinted by Island Heritage in 2002. Includes many older definitions not retained in Pukui & Elbert‘s Hawaiian Dictionary, which was first published in

Place Names of Hawai‘i by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert and Esther K. Mo‘okini (University of Hawaii Press, 1974).

Hawaii Place Names: Shores, Beaches and Surf Sites, by John R. K. Clark. (University of Hawaii Press, 2001)

4. Proverbs

‘Olelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings, by Mary Kawena Pukui (Bishop Museum Press, 1997).

5. Hawaiian-Language Texts

The oral language of the Hawaiian people was codified into written form by American missionaries starting in the 1820s. The first imprints were produced by missionaries in 1823. Government documents were published as early as the 1830s. 1861 marks the launch of a nine-decade flourescence of a free press in Hawai‘i, of newspapers independent of missionary or government control. By the end of the 19th century, Hawai‘i claimed one of the highest rates of literacy worldwide.

After many decades of Hawaiian-language decline, a vigorous revitalization took root in the 1970s, and blossomed with the establishment of immersion pre-schools operated by the non-profit organization ‘Aha Pūnana Leo. Since then, a plethora of new K-12 materials have been produced, and many 19th-century Hawaiian-language imprints are being reissued, either in facsimile or dititally online.

Click here to browse all books in Hawaiian on Ulukau Hawaiian Electronic Library.


2 Responses to Hawaiian Language Resources

  1. Pingback: New Links Pages and Essays | Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

  2. Pingback: ‘Ike Kumu (Sources of Knowledge) — Kulia i ka Punawai Hula Camp 2013 | Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

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