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Question in Hawaiian

Still haven't found how to say "welcome home" in Hawaiian...tried google (home home doesn't seem right?), wehewehe, Hawaiian dictionary, Mamaka Kaiao...there must be some idiom at least? :) ??

September 24, 2019



Aloha e @KarinLynn1, I honestly donʻt have a good answer for you. Through my own experience, Iʻm not sure if that is a thing in Hawaiian culture... to specifically say that sort of phrase (from a Hawaiian mindset, specifically). I could be wrong and itʻs something that has been lost to my family and community interactions, but I am familiar with "Aloha e (whoever), Pehea ʻoe?" Aloha _, How are you?? We actually ask this constantly when we see another person; even if we just saw them earlier or the day before... we also do this with family (Aloha Uncle, how are you?). This comes from a deep interest in how someone is feeling and what they are going through. This is part of "HOʻOKIPA" the Hawaiian value of Hospitality. An appropriate follow up to "Aloha mai, Pehea ʻoe?" would be to then offer them food/drink. A proper "welcome home" would really be these specific actions for a loved one / connected-person in my opinion through my experience in the Hawaiian community.

If others could share their experiences with this, or if someone is aware of an equivalent phrase ma ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi that is based in Hawaiian cultural mindset (not just a "Hawaiianized" Western-culture phrase) I would love to share in your manaʻo.

On a side note, not everything translates in a single phrase... Example is "E komo mai." This does not mean "Welcome" as it is commonly translated by the Hawaiʻi tourism authority. It is the closest thing that the Western Audience in Hawaiʻi can understand without needing to understand Hawaiian cultural values. What it literally means is "You may enter" (mai - towards the speaker; which implies entering the space the speaker is in very specifically). Hawaiians ask permission before entering any space that they are a visitor/guest in, BEFORE they enter. "E komo mai" is basically a response of welcome that comes AFTER someone asks permission to come into that space. The way to ask permission properly usually comes in the form of an ʻoli (chant) and/or the giving of makana / hoʻokupu (gifts/offerings).

Mahalo and I hope this helps you a bit...! Like many other simple questions on the Hawaiian Duolingo Forums, it was a loaded one, haha! As you will see, there are many many things about Hawaiian (and polynesian languages in general) that require much explanation for the answer to be pono (satisfactory). Do not be discouraged, thank you for the question :3


I do not believe there is a Hawaiian equivalent to the English word "welcome." That is why e komo mai, "come in", is most often used as the substitute. If you say e komo i ka hale, you are merely saying "come into the house" rather than your desired "welcome home." For a culture so heavily focused on hospitality, it is sort of funny that there is no equivalent to "welcome".

For example, how does one respond to "thank you?" In English, it would be "you are welcome." But what is the proper dialog in Hawaiian?

Salutation: Mahalo. (I appreciate you)
Response 1: Mahalo. (I appreciate you too.)
Response 2: Na'u ka hau'oli. (For me, happiness)
Response 3: 'A'ole pilikia. (No problem)

Mahalo literally translates to "appreciate" and there is no real equivalent to "you are welcome." Interesting, right?


Mahalo nui loa to both you, rabelon and Kekoamonkey. Very illuminating. And yes, strange - strange like no real word for "blue," the color of sky and sea!

(Just to clarify, specifically I was thinking "welcome home" like from an overseas trip or something, if that detail makes a difference...?)


Aloha e @KarinLynn1. Just wondering, how do you know that there is not Hawaiian word or phrase to reference the color blue or the color of the sky?

Ahh yes, I knew what you meant by wanting to express "welcome home." To kind of reinforce what I mentioned before... to even think to say that as a way of showing "welcome" is very specific to individual cultures. Hawaiian does not have that. There also may be confusing as to what Hawaiian culture is, since Duolingo of course will not teach that, but it is a requirement for learning any language really. By looking at what phrases Hawaiianʻs use and the greetings available, should give you some small pieces to that puzzle, but really it takes some effort to piece that together and also reconcile with your own frame of reference and cultural lens.

So although this is something that could be stated in English by culturally Hawaiian community members today in Hawaii or elsewhere, it should be food for thought to think about whether or not that is a Hawaiian or Western/other construct. Is this something that was influenced by the outside and has now found its way into common use? or did this exist originally? My knowledge of this from my family and community is that this is not a Hawaiian frame of mind to say "welcome home." You could say itʻs also because our word for "hello" (aloha) encompasses that concept already, because of the richness and multi-level meanings of that word, very very much unlike the English word "hello."

So again, given all of that, do you need to really know how to say that? Of course, a fluent speaker could create a phrase mimicking that, but is that what you wnat? Furthermore, if you do, what are you learning Hawaiian for? is it to just speak Enlgish in Hawaiian? or is it to speak a language from a cultural standpoint. Either is an option, just be conscious of your intention and what you are doing.


There are several ways to say "blue" in Hawaiian, but like many concepts behind the words, it depends upon the context. The color of eyes, a clear sky, the sea near the shore, the deep sea -- each of these is a different word, expressing a different concept. This is where Duolingo falls short, by seeming to simplify what is, in fact, a very complex language.

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