1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hawaiian
  4. >
  5. Where to speak Hawaiian?


Where to speak Hawaiian?

I heard something like 8,000 people speak the language? Where can I meet people who speak it fluently? The best way to learn language is to speak it in my opinion. Bit tricky in this case. Any tips?

October 20, 2018



Maybe start learning some Hawaiian songs? Hawaiian music is reasonably popular in North America, and there are usually slack key festivals several times a year along the West Coast.

If you have Spotify, search for a playlist called "He Mele Aloha", which I put together for songs from the songbook of the same name. A good many of those are in Hawaiian, and the book has lyrics in Hawaiian and English translations.

As as teaser, try this song by the late Dennis Kamakahi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S57UHoy4tZM


I believe only 2000 or so people speak it as their first language now


There was a great podcast on Code Switch on NPR on the revival of the language through a Hawai'ian-only school. It has about 5,000 graduates. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2019/06/22/452551172/the-hawaiian-language-nearly-died-a-radio-show-sparked-its-revival


Outside of Niʻihau, itʻs hard to find Hawaiian language areas, and this is beacuse the language was forced into hiding for so long. It does occur in super “Hawaiian” spaces, mostly in private homes. Also in Hawaiian places of Hawaiian higher education as well as the immerison schools across Hawaii.

Now and then, Hawaiian language events are held, and everyone comes out for those. A good place to follow is, https://kanaeokana.net . Their website lists many Hawaiian language resources and events, and they are also major contributors to the Hawaiian language being here on Duolingo today.


According to this article (LINK), the Hawaiian island Kauai is the only place in the world where Hawaiian is still used in daily life. However, there are revival/preservation efforts from institutions like the University of Hawaii.


Niʻihau, not Kauaʻi. Canʻt go there unless you live there or are rich, and even if you can get there, you arenʻt “permitted” to interact at all with the islandʻs inhabitants.

Itʻs “owned” by the descendants of the SInclair family who bought the island from Kamehameha V in the 1800ʻs, the Robinson brothers.

If youʻd like an idea of what theyʻre like, one of the brothers wrote a book titled: “Approach to Armageddon: One Christian's Speculation about the End of the Age”. Also a NY Times journalist wrote an article titled “Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?” that includes some of their quirks as well as a rare glimpse at life on that island.


You read that incorrectly. The island is Niihau.


Hilo & Wailuku get groups going in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi - with plenty activities to show you where else to find it. What island are you on?

Learn Hawaiian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.