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Aloha! There are many beautiful ways to say “I love you” in the Hawaiian language. In Hawaiian culture, expressions of love and affection are gentle, poetic, and deeply respectful.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The most common Hawaiian phrase for “I love you” is Aloha Au Iā ʻOe.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the history of the Hawaiian language, explain the cultural significance of Hawaiian terms of endearment, provide multiple Hawaiian phrases you can use to express love and affection, and break down the grammar so you can create your own heartfelt Hawaiian love sentences.

We’ll cover popular short Hawaiian love phrases like aloha au iaʻoe, as well as longer, more poetic sayings. We’ll also provide audio clips of native Hawaiian speakers so you can hear the proper pronunciation.

A Brief History of the Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian language, known as ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, has a rich history that dates back over a thousand years.

It is believed to have originated from the Polynesian language family, which includes other languages spoken in the Pacific Islands, such as Tahitian and Maori.

The early settlers of Hawaii, who came from other Polynesian islands, brought their language with them, laying the foundation for what would become the unique and beautiful Hawaiian language.

The Origins of the Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian language developed in isolation on the islands of Hawaii, allowing it to evolve independently from other Polynesian languages.

The language was primarily oral, with a strong emphasis on storytelling, chants, and songs. The written form of Hawaiian, using a phonetic alphabet called the ʻokina and the kahakō, was introduced by Christian missionaries in the 19th century.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Hawaiian language thrived and was spoken by the majority of the population. It was the language of the aliʻi (chiefs), the kāhuna (priests), and the common people.

It was also the language used in hula, a traditional Hawaiian dance form that combines movement, chant, and song.

The Decline and Revival of Hawaiian

With the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th century, the Hawaiian language faced significant challenges.

The introduction of diseases, land dispossession, and the suppression of Hawaiian cultural practices led to a decline in the use of the language. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, English became the dominant language in Hawaii due to American influence.

However, in recent decades, there has been a concerted effort to revive and preserve the Hawaiian language. Hawaiian immersion schools have been established, where students are taught in Hawaiian from an early age.

Additionally, there are numerous community organizations and resources dedicated to the revitalization of the language. Today, there is a growing number of fluent speakers and a renewed sense of pride in the Hawaiian language and culture.

Hawaiian’s Role in Hawaiian Identity Today

The Hawaiian language plays a vital role in the cultural identity of the Hawaiian people. It is seen as a way to connect with their ancestors, preserve traditional knowledge, and pass on their heritage to future generations.

The language is used in ceremonies, rituals, and cultural events, helping to maintain a strong sense of Hawaiian identity.

Furthermore, the Hawaiian language is deeply intertwined with the land and the environment. It contains unique words and concepts that reflect the close relationship between the Hawaiian people and their natural surroundings.

For example, there are specific words for different types of rain, winds, and ocean currents, demonstrating the deep understanding and respect the Hawaiians have for their environment.

Common Hawaiian Phrases for a “I Love You”

Common Hawaiian Phrases for a "I Love You"

When it comes to expressing love in Hawaiian, there are several phrases that can convey the depth of your emotions.

The Hawaiian language is rich with beautiful words and expressions that capture the spirit of aloha, which encompasses love, affection, and compassion.

In this article, we will explore some of the common Hawaiian phrases for ‘I love you’ that you can use to express your feelings to your loved ones.

Aloha Au Iā ʻOe – The Most Popular “I Love You”

One of the most popular ways to say “I love you” in Hawaiian is “Aloha Au Iā ʻOe“.

The word “aloha” is commonly known as a greeting or farewell, but it also holds a deeper meaning of love and affection.

When you say “Aloha Au Iā ʻOe”, you are expressing your love directly to someone. It is a straightforward and heartfelt way to convey your emotions.

Nōʻu ʻOe – You are Mine

In Hawaiian, “Nōʻu ʻOe” translates to “You are mine”. This phrase expresses possessiveness and deep affection for someone.

It is a powerful way to let your loved one know that they hold a special place in your heart and that you cherish them deeply.

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ʻĀina I Ka Pono – The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness

The phrase “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ʻĀina I Ka Pono” is the state motto of Hawaii, which translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”. Although not a direct translation of “I love you”, this phrase holds deep cultural and spiritual significance in Hawaiian culture.

It represents the love and respect that Hawaiians have for their land, their ancestors, and their values. Using this phrase can convey a profound sense of love and appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and its values.

Longer Poetic Sayings

In addition to these common phrases, there are longer poetic sayings in Hawaiian that express love and affection. These sayings often involve beautiful imagery and metaphors that paint a vivid picture of love.

One example is “He aloha nō ka ʻīlio“, which translates to “Love is like a dog“. This saying conveys the loyalty, companionship, and unconditional love that a dog represents.

Learning and using these common Hawaiian phrases for “I love you” not only allows you to express your feelings in a unique way but also shows a deep appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and its language.

So go ahead and embrace the spirit of aloha by saying “I love you” in Hawaiian to your loved ones!

Breaking Down Hawaiian Grammar and Sentence Structure

When it comes to expressing love in different languages, Hawaiian has a unique and beautiful way of saying “I love you”.

But before we delve into the Hawaiian translation, let’s first understand the intricacies of the Hawaiian alphabet and the rules of sentence structure.

The Intricacies of the Hawaiian Alphabet

The Hawaiian language is rich in vowels and has a total of 13 letters in its alphabet: five vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and eight consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w, ‘okina).

The ‘okina, represented by the symbol ʻ, is a glottal stop that signifies a brief pause between two vowels or a vowel and a consonant. It is an essential part of the Hawaiian language and often seen in words and names.

The pronunciation of Hawaiian words can be a bit challenging at first, as some vowels have different sounds compared to English.

For example, the letter “a” in Hawaiian is pronounced like “ah”, and “e” is pronounced like “eh”. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the correct pronunciation to accurately convey your love in Hawaiian.

Sentence Structure Rules

Now that we have a grasp of the Hawaiian alphabet, let’s dive into the sentence structure rules. In Hawaiian, the order of words in a sentence can differ from English.

The basic structure of a Hawaiian sentence follows a subject-verb-object pattern, similar to English. However, Hawaiian sentences often start with the verb rather than the subject, which can be a bit confusing for English speakers.

Another important aspect of Hawaiian sentence structure is the use of particles. Particles are small words that indicate the relationship between different parts of a sentence.

For example, the particle “ka” is used to denote the subject, “i” indicates the object, and “me” signifies “with” or “like“. Understanding how to use these particles correctly will help you construct meaningful and grammatically correct Hawaiian sentences.

Creating Your Own Hawaiian Love Sentences

Now that you have a solid understanding of Hawaiian grammar and sentence structure, it’s time to create your own Hawaiian love sentences.

Start with a verb, such as “aloha” (to love), followed by the subject and object. For example, “aloha au iā ‘oe” translates to “I love you”. Remember to use the correct particles to convey the intended meaning.

Learning to say “I love you” in Hawaiian is not only a beautiful way to express your emotions, but it also helps to appreciate and preserve the culture and language of Hawaii.

So go ahead, embrace the beauty of Hawaiian language and spread love with your newfound knowledge!

Proper Pronunciation of Hawaiian Phrases

Vowel Sounds and Accents

One of the first things to understand about pronouncing Hawaiian phrases is the unique vowel sounds and accents used in the language. Hawaiian has five vowels: a, e, i, o, and u.

However, the pronunciation of these vowels can be quite different from English. For example, the “a” is pronounced like “ah” as in “father”, while the “e” is pronounced like “eh” as in “bed”.

It’s important to pay attention to these subtle differences in order to pronounce the words correctly.

Double Vowels and Diphthongs

In addition to the single vowels, Hawaiian also features double vowels and diphthongs. Double vowels are pronounced separately, with a slight pause between them.

For example, “ae” is pronounced as two separate sounds, “ah-eh”. Diphthongs, on the other hand, are two vowels that are pronounced together as a single sound.

For example, “ai” is pronounced like “eye” in English. Understanding the distinction between double vowels and diphthongs is key to pronouncing Hawaiian phrases correctly.

Subtleties in Consonant Sounds

While the vowel sounds in Hawaiian may be the most challenging for English speakers, there are also some subtleties in the pronunciation of consonant sounds.

For example, the “k” in Hawaiian is pronounced as a soft “k”, similar to the “t” in English. So, when you see a word like “kane” (meaning “man”), it is pronounced like “tane”.

Another example is the “w” sound, which is pronounced like the “v” in English. These subtle differences in consonant sounds can greatly impact the correct pronunciation of Hawaiian phrases.

Audio Examples from Native Speakers

To truly master the pronunciation of Hawaiian phrases, it can be helpful to listen to audio examples from native speakers.

Hearing the language spoken by those who grew up speaking it can give you a better sense of the proper pronunciation and intonation.

There are many resources available online where you can find audio recordings of Hawaiian phrases being spoken by native speakers. One such website is which offers a variety of audio lessons and pronunciation guides.

Other Ways to Say ‘Love’ in Hawaiian

Familial Love – Aloha ‘Ohana

In Hawaiian culture, family holds a special place, and the love between family members is highly valued. The phrase used to express familial love in Hawaiian is “Aloha ʻOhana“.

This phrase encompasses the deep bond and affection shared between family members. Whether it is the love between parents and children, siblings, or extended family, “Aloha ʻOhana” is a beautiful way to express the love that exists within a family.

Read more: How Do You Say Family In Hawaiian?

Platonic Love – Hoapili Aloha

Platonic love, or the love between friends, is an important aspect of human relationships.

In Hawaiian, the term used to convey this type of love is “Hoapili Aloha”. It represents the strong bond and affection shared between friends.

Just like in any culture, friendships in Hawaii are cherished, and this phrase reflects the deep appreciation and love that friends have for one another.

Spiritual Love – Lokomaikaʻi

In addition to familial and platonic love, Hawaiian culture also recognizes the importance of spiritual love. This type of love is expressed through the term “Lokomaikaʻi“.

It represents the love and kindness that one has towards others, as well as the love and gratitude towards a higher power. “Lokomaikaʻi” encompasses the idea of compassion, forgiveness, and the overall desire to spread love and positivity in the world.

These different ways of expressing love in Hawaiian culture reflect the deep-rooted values and beliefs of the island’s people. Whether it is the love within a family, the bond between friends, or the spiritual connection to something greater, each form of love is cherished and celebrated in its own unique way.

Read more: The Meaning Behind The Hawaiian “I Love You” Hand Sign


The Hawaiian language offers profound, poetic ways to express love, passion, and affection. With its gentle vowels, tropical imagery, and close ties to Hawaiian culture, saying “I love you” in Hawaiian makes the sentiment feel special and meaningful.

In this guide, we’ve covered the most popular Hawaiian terms of endearment and phrases for “I love you”, explained the grammar so you can create your own Hawaiian love sentences, and provided audio examples for proper pronunciation.

Feel free to refer back to find the perfect Hawaiian expression of love for any occasion!

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