Ka Pî`âpâ Hawai`i

The Hawaiian Alphabet

Pî`âpâ [PEE AH PAH] was the name of the first primer (spelling book) in Hawai`i. Like the word "alphabet", the word pî`âpâ was formed by the first two letters of the Greek, "a" and "b". When the missionary said, "b a ba", the Hawaiian student, using a "p" for "b", replied, "pî â pâ." It is similar to the expression, "A, B, C's".

Letters as they appear in written form:

How to pronounce letters aloud to another person:

Phonetic pronunciation

a

" `â "

[ AH ]

e

" `ê "

[ EH ]

i

" `î "

[ EE ]

o

" `ô "

[ OH ]

u

" `û "

[OO ]

â

" `â kô "

[ AH KOH ]

ê

" `ê kô "

[ EH KOH ]

î

" `î kô "

[ EE KOH ]

ô

" `ô kô "

[ OH KOH ]

û

" `û kô "

[ OO KOH ]

h

" hê "

[ HEH ]

k

" kê "

[ KEH ]

l

" lâ "

[ LAH ]

m

" mû "

[ MOO ]

n

" nû "

[ NOO ]

p

" pî "

[ PEE ]

w

" wê / vê "

[ WEH ] / [ VEH ]

`

" `okina "

[ oh kee nah ]

From my class notes:


 

How to Spell Aloud in Hawaiian

Spelling Vocabulary

ma`aka

capital, uppercase, "big"

na`ina`i

lowercase, "small / little"

hua `ôlelo hou

new / next word

How Does It Sound to Spell a Word in Hawaiian?

  • If a vowel has a kahakô over it, it is indicated by saying "" after the vowel. For example, â is spelled " `â kô ".
  • Before spelling the next word, say: "hua `ôlelo hou".
  • To indicate a capital letter, say the letter first then say "ma`aka."
  • To indicate a lower case letter, say the letter first then say "na`i na`i".

 

Spelling Practice

Word:

Word spelled aloud:

manakô

"mû / `â / nû / `â / kê / `ô kô"

Lâna`i

"lah ma'aka / `â kô / nû / `â / `okina / `î"

P / p ("Big/Capital p, little/lower case p")

"pî ma`aka / pî na`ina`i "

Nâ `Âumâkua

"nû ma`aka / `â kô / hua `ôlelo hou / `okina / `â kô ma`aka / `û / mû / `â kô / kê / `û / `â "

Iz Ka`ano`i Kamakawiwo`ole

" `î ma`aka / zê / hua `ôlelo hou / kê ma`aka / `â / `okina / `â / nû / `ô / `okina / `î / hua `ôlelo hou / kê ma`aka / `â / mû / `â / kê / `â / vê / `î / vê / `ô / `okina / `ô / lâ / `ê"

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Aloha a hui hou, Leilani

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