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The Hawaiian islands are renowned for their beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and unique culture. But for many visitors, the Hawaiian language can seem intimidating, especially when it comes to pronouncing the names of cities and towns across the islands.

If you’re planning a trip to Kauai and want to know the correct way to say the name of its largest city, Lihue, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide everything you need to know to properly pronounce Lihue, Hawaii.

A Quick Overview on Pronouncing Lihue

Lihue is pronounced lee-HOO-eh or lee-HOO-way.

When it comes to pronouncing the name of the beautiful city of Lihue in Hawaii, there are two commonly accepted ways to say it. You can either pronounce it as lee-HOO-eh or lee-HOO-way. Both pronunciations are widely recognized and used by locals and visitors alike.

The emphasis is on the first syllable, with a rising inflection on the last syllable.

When pronouncing Lihue, it’s important to emphasize the first syllable. The “li” sound should be stressed, followed by a rising inflection on the last syllable. This gives the word a melodic and rhythmic quality, adding to its unique charm.

It’s a 3-syllable word, with the ‘hue’ sounding like ‘hooey’.

Lihue is a three-syllable word, with the ‘hue’ sound being similar to the word ‘hooey’. The ‘hue’ syllable is pronounced with a long ‘oo’ sound, similar to the sound you make when expressing disbelief or surprise. So, when saying Lihue, think of it as “lee-HOO-eh” or “lee-HOO-way”.

For more information on the pronunciation of Lihue and other Hawaiian words, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority:

Breaking Down the Syllables

The first syllable is ‘lee’, pronounced just like the name Lee.

When pronouncing the first syllable of Lihue, you can think of the name “Lee.” It is a short, simple sound that is easy to pronounce. To say it correctly, start with the sound of the letter “L” and then add the long “ee” sound at the end. So, it sounds like “lee” as in “Lee’s favorite color is blue.”

The second syllable is ‘hoo’, sounding like the word ‘who’.

Now, let’s move on to the second syllable of Lihue. It sounds like the word “who.” To pronounce it accurately, start with the sound of the letter “H” and then add the long “oo” sound at the end. So, it sounds like “hoo” as in “Who is coming to the party tonight?”

The third and final syllable is ‘eh’ or ‘way’. It has a rising inflection, similar to saying ‘huh’ or ‘hey’ as a question.

Finally, we reach the last syllable of Lihue. It can be pronounced as either ‘eh’ or ‘way’, depending on the speaker’s preference. When pronounced as ‘eh’, it sounds like the short ‘e’ sound in the word “met.” On the other hand, if pronounced as ‘way’, it sounds similar to the word “way” with a rising inflection. You can think of it as saying ‘huh’ or ‘hey’ as a question. So, it sounds like ‘eh’ or ‘way’ as in “eh, what’s that noise?” or “way, did you see that?”

Remember, pronouncing Lihue correctly is important, especially when visiting or talking about this beautiful Hawaiian city. It shows respect for the local culture and enhances your overall communication. So, practice these syllables and confidently say Lihue like a local!

Listen to Native Hawaiian Speakers

One of the best ways to learn proper Hawaiian pronunciation is to listen to native speakers. Native speakers have grown up speaking the language and have a natural understanding of its sounds and intonations. By listening to them, you can pick up on the correct pronunciation of words, including Lihue, Hawaii.

Audio Resources Online

There are many audio resources online where you can hear Lihue pronounced correctly in a Hawaiian accent. These resources often include recordings of native Hawaiian speakers pronouncing different words and phrases. One such resource is the Hawaiian Words website, which provides audio recordings of words and their pronunciations. By utilizing these resources, you can familiarize yourself with the unique sounds of the Hawaiian language and improve your pronunciation skills.

Emphasizing the ‘hue’ Syllable

When pronouncing Lihue, it is important to focus on how the ‘hue’ syllable is emphasized and rises in inflection at the end. The ‘hue’ syllable should be pronounced with a slight rise in pitch, giving it a musical quality. This is a distinct feature of the Hawaiian language and is essential to proper pronunciation.

By listening to native speakers and paying attention to the emphasis and inflection of the ‘hue’ syllable, you can ensure that you are pronouncing Lihue, Hawaii correctly. Practice speaking the word aloud, mimicking the native speakers’ pronunciation, and soon you will master the unique sounds of this beautiful Hawaiian destination.

Practice Saying Lihue Out Loud

Reading about pronunciation is helpful, but you need to practice saying Lihue out loud to train your mouth and ears.

When it comes to pronouncing words, practice makes perfect. While reading about the pronunciation of Lihue, Hawaii can provide some guidance, actually saying the word out loud is crucial to truly understand its pronunciation. By practicing saying Lihue, you will train your mouth and ears to recognize the correct sounds and intonation.

Break the word into syllables and say each one slowly and clearly: Lee-hoo-eh.

Lihue is a three-syllable word, and breaking it down into syllables can help with its pronunciation. Say each syllable slowly and clearly: “Lee-hoo-eh.” By enunciating each syllable, you can get a better grasp of the word’s pronunciation and improve your overall fluency.

Overemphasize the ‘hue’ syllable and the rise in your voice on the last syllable.

One key aspect of pronouncing Lihue correctly is to overemphasize the ‘hue’ syllable. This means putting extra emphasis on the ‘hue’ sound while saying the word. Additionally, the last syllable of Lihue rises in pitch, adding a melodic touch to the pronunciation. By practicing these specific aspects, you can master the unique pronunciation of Lihue, Hawaii.

Record yourself and listen back to improve your pronunciation with practice.

Recording yourself saying Lihue and listening back to it can be a valuable tool in improving your pronunciation. By listening to your pronunciation, you can identify areas where you may need to make adjustments and work on specific sounds or intonation patterns. This self-assessment technique allows you to fine-tune your pronunciation skills and track your progress over time.

For more information on the pronunciation of Lihue and other Hawaiian words, you can visit Remember, practice and persistence are key to mastering the pronunciation of any word, so keep at it and soon you’ll be confidently saying Lihue, Hawaii like a local!

Listen to How Locals Say ‘Lihue’

Once you get to Kauai, pay close attention to how the locals pronounce Lihue.

When it comes to pronouncing the name of the city ‘Lihue’ in Hawaii, it’s important to listen to how the locals say it. The pronunciation of Lihue can vary slightly depending on the individual, but overall, it is pronounced as “lee-hoo-ay.” The emphasis is placed on the second syllable, and the “h” is pronounced softly. Listening to the locals will give you the best idea of how to say it correctly.

You may hear subtle variations in inflection and emphasis.

While the general pronunciation of Lihue is consistent, you may hear subtle variations in the way locals say it. This can be due to factors such as regional accents or personal speech patterns. Some individuals may pronounce it with a slightly longer “ee” sound, while others may emphasize the “hoo” more. Paying attention to these nuances can help you blend in with the locals and sound more natural when saying the name of the city.

As you explore the island and interact with residents, mimic how they say the city’s name.

One of the best ways to learn how to pronounce Lihue correctly is to interact with the residents of Kauai. Engage in conversations with locals and observe how they say the name of their city. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or practice saying it yourself. Mimicking their pronunciation will not only help you pronounce Lihue accurately but also show respect for the local culture.

This immersion will help solidify the proper local pronunciation in your memory.

By immersing yourself in the local culture and mimicking the pronunciation of Lihue, you will solidify the proper pronunciation in your memory. Hearing and practicing the correct pronunciation repeatedly will help you remember it more easily. Remember, learning how to pronounce a place’s name correctly demonstrates your interest in and appreciation for the local community and its traditions.


Mastering the pronunciation of Hawaiian words and names is an important part of respecting the language and culture of the islands. Put in the effort to say Lihue properly, and it will be appreciated by locals and enhance your experience visiting Kauai.

So listen closely, practice out loud, and get ready to confidently say ‘Lihue’ with the correct Hawaiian pronunciation on your upcoming trip to this beautiful garden island.

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