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The Hawaiian language contains many unique and beautiful words that are unfamiliar to English speakers. If you want to say ‘my’ in Hawaiian, there are a few options depending on the context. Read on for a detailed guide on how to say ‘my’ in Hawaiian.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: koʻu or kaʻu are common ways to say ‘my’ in Hawaiian.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the basics of the Hawaiian language, the different ways to express possession like ‘my’, common Hawaiian sentence structure, and examples of ‘my’ used in sentences. We’ll also discuss how to pronounce key Hawaiian words properly. By the end, you’ll have a solid grasp on how to say ‘my’ in Hawaiian for different situations.

Background on the Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian language, also known as ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, is the native language of the indigenous people of Hawaii, known as the Kanaka Maoli. It is one of the official languages of the state of Hawaii, alongside English. The language holds great cultural significance and is deeply rooted in the traditions and history of the Hawaiian people.

A Brief History

The Hawaiian language has a rich and fascinating history. It is believed to have originated from the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia and was brought to Hawaii by early settlers around 1,500 years ago. For centuries, the Hawaiian language thrived as the main spoken and written language of the Hawaiian people.

However, with the arrival of Western explorers and missionaries in the late 18th century, the Hawaiian language faced significant challenges. The missionaries introduced the Latin alphabet and began translating religious texts into Hawaiian, which led to the development of a written form of the language. But over time, the influence of English and the suppression of Hawaiian culture led to a decline in the use of the language.

Fortunately, in recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Hawaiian language. Efforts to revitalize and preserve the language have been successful, with Hawaiian language immersion schools, community programs, and online resources playing a crucial role in its revival.

Vowels and Consonants

The Hawaiian language has a relatively small number of phonemes, which are the individual sounds that make up a language. It has five vowels: a, e, i, o, and u. These vowels can be pronounced in both short and long forms, and their pronunciation can vary depending on the word and context.

There are also eight consonants in the Hawaiian language: h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and ʻokina. The ʻokina is a glottal stop, indicated by an upside-down apostrophe, and is an important component of the Hawaiian language. It is used to separate certain vowel sounds and has its own distinctive pronunciation.

Sentence Structure

The Hawaiian language follows a subject-verb-object sentence structure, similar to English. However, it is important to note that Hawaiian is a highly contextual language, and word order can change depending on the emphasis or intention of the speaker.

In Hawaiian, nouns are not typically marked for gender or number, and there are no articles (such as “a” or “the”). Instead, the use of articles is implied through context. Verbs in Hawaiian are conjugated based on tense, aspect, and mood, and can also be modified to indicate the subject or object of the sentence.

Learning the sentence structure of the Hawaiian language can be challenging for English speakers, but with practice and immersion, it becomes easier to grasp the nuances and beauty of the language.

To learn more about the Hawaiian language, you can visit the official website of the University of Hawaii at

Ways to Say ‘My’ in Hawaiian

When learning the Hawaiian language, it is important to understand how to express possession. One of the fundamental ways to do this is by using the word “my.” In Hawaiian, there are two main ways to say “my”: “ko’u” and “ka’u.”


“Ko’u” is used to indicate possession of things that are animate or living. For example, you would use “ko’u” to say “my dog” (ko’u ‘īlio) or “my sister” (ko’u kaikaina). It is also used for possession of certain body parts, such as “my hand” (ko’u lima) or “my head” (ko’u poʻo).


“Ka’u” is used to indicate possession of things that are inanimate or non-living. For instance, you would use “ka’u” to say “my house” (ka’u hale) or “my car” (ka’u kaʻa). It is also used for possession of abstract concepts, such as “my name” (ka’u inoa) or “my idea” (ka’u manaʻo).

Ko’u and Ka’u Usage

The choice between “ko’u” and “ka’u” depends on whether the object is animate or inanimate. However, there are some exceptions and variations in usage. For example, when talking about family members, both “ko’u” and “ka’u” can be used interchangeably. It is also worth noting that the possessive pronoun “ko’u” can be shortened to “ku’u” in certain dialects, such as the one spoken on the island of Maui.

Learning how to properly use “ko’u” and “ka’u” in Hawaiian will not only help you express possession accurately but also deepen your understanding of the language and its cultural nuances. So, practice using these words in context and soon you’ll be able to confidently say “my” in Hawaiian!

‘My’ in Hawaiian Sentences and Phrases

When learning a new language, understanding how to express possession is essential. In Hawaiian, the word ‘my’ can be translated in various ways depending on the context. Let’s explore how to use ‘my’ in different types of sentences and phrases in the Hawaiian language.

Simple Sentences

In simple sentences, where you want to express possession of something, you can use the word ‘ka’u.’ For example, if you want to say ‘my house’ in Hawaiian, you would say ‘ka’u hale.’ Similarly, if you want to say ‘my car,’ you would say ‘ka’u ka’a.’ The word ‘ka’u’ is used to indicate ownership in these cases.

Possession of Objects

When it comes to expressing possession of objects, Hawaiian has a unique way of doing it. Instead of using a possessive pronoun, like ‘my’ or ‘your,’ Hawaiian uses a possessive marker, ‘no.’ For example, if you want to say ‘my book,’ you would say ‘ka puke no wau.’ Here, ‘no’ is used before the pronoun ‘wau’ to indicate possession. Similarly, if you want to say ‘your pen,’ you would say ‘ka peni no ‘oe.’

Family Members

When talking about family members, Hawaiian uses specific words to indicate possession. For example, if you want to say ‘my mother,’ you would say ‘ko’u makuahine.’ Here, ‘ko’u’ is used to indicate possession, and ‘makuahine’ means mother. Similarly, if you want to say ‘my brother,’ you would say ‘ko’u kaikaina.’

It’s important to note that possessive pronouns in Hawaiian can vary depending on the context and the type of possession being expressed. Learning these variations will help you navigate the language more confidently.

For more information on Hawaiian grammar and sentence structure, you can visit This website provides comprehensive resources and explanations to enhance your understanding of the Hawaiian language.

Proper Pronunciation of Hawaiian Words

Learning to pronounce Hawaiian words correctly can be a fun and rewarding experience. The Hawaiian language has a unique phonetic system, and understanding its pronunciation rules is essential to effectively communicate in the language. In this guide, we will explore the proper pronunciation of Hawaiian words, including vowel sounds, emphasis and flow, and the importance of listening to native speakers.

Vowel Sounds

Hawaiian words are known for their beautiful and distinctive vowel sounds. It’s important to understand and master these vowel sounds to pronounce words accurately. The Hawaiian language has eight vowels: ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘ā’, ‘ē’, and ‘ō’. Each vowel has a specific sound, and it’s crucial to differentiate between short and long vowels.

For example, the short vowel ‘a’ is pronounced as “ah,” similar to the ‘a’ in “father.” On the other hand, the long vowel ‘ā’ is pronounced as “ahh,” with a prolonged sound. Similarly, ‘e’ is pronounced as “eh” (short vowel) and ‘ē’ is pronounced as “ay” (long vowel). Understanding these distinctions will greatly enhance your ability to pronounce Hawaiian words accurately.

Emphasis and Flow

Hawaiian words have a natural flow and rhythm, and understanding the emphasis placed on certain syllables is essential for proper pronunciation. In Hawaiian, the stress is usually placed on the second-to-last syllable of a word. For example, the word “aloha” is pronounced “ah-LOH-hah,” with the emphasis on the second syllable.

It is also important to note that Hawaiian words have a melodic quality, with a gentle rise and fall in pitch. This characteristic adds to the beauty and uniqueness of the language. Paying attention to these nuances will help you pronounce Hawaiian words with authenticity and respect.

Listening to Native Speakers

One of the best ways to improve your pronunciation of Hawaiian words is by listening to native speakers. Hearing the language spoken by those who grew up speaking it fluently will give you a better understanding of the correct pronunciation and intonation.

There are various resources available online where you can listen to recordings of Hawaiian speakers. Websites like and provide audio clips and pronunciation guides to help learners grasp the subtleties of the language. Additionally, attending cultural events or joining language exchange groups can provide opportunities to interact with native speakers and further enhance your pronunciation skills.

Remember, learning a new language takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself as you navigate the complexities of Hawaiian pronunciation. With dedication and a willingness to learn, you’ll soon be able to pronounce Hawaiian words with confidence and grace.


Saying ‘my’ in Hawaiian can require some practice, but with this guide, you have all the tools you need to start using koʻu, kaʻu, and other possessive words properly. Focus on nailing the pronunciation through listening and repetition. Use the example sentences to see how ‘my’ fits into everyday Hawaiian phrases. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes – immerse yourself in the language and aloha spirit. Before long, you’ll be using Hawaiian possessives like a natural.

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