Maui Pronunciation

Updated on:
December 3, 2017

10/12/2021: If a few of these pages look a little wonky, I'm sorry!  I've just rebuilt the site and have over 400 pages left to go through for final fixes.

The Maui Pronunciation one-minute video below will teach you how to pronounce the most common city and place names on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii.

Turn on your speakers and click the Play button, to turn  yourself into an expert on Maui pronunciation.

There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet:  A E I O U H K L M N P W.  There are two more sort-of letters: the okina (which looks like an apostrophe and creates a guttural break in the pronunciation of a word) and the kahako (symbolized by a straight line over any vowel, which elongates the vowel). Usually there are no silent letters, so pronounce every letter in each word.

The key to correct Maui pronunciation is to know that, unlike in English, each Hawaiian letter is only pronounced in one specific way.  The letter A is always pronounced like in “car” and never like in “cat” or “cake.”  The letter E is always pronounced like the A in “cake” and never like the E in “then” or “seem.” The letter I is always pronounced like the E in “seem” and never like the I in “like” or “slim.” The letter O is always pronounced like in “toe” and never like in “ton” or in “toon.”  The letter U is always pronounced like the OO in “spoon” and never like the U in “under.”  There are diphthongs where combinations of these vowels have a different pronunciation, but if you stick with the rules in this paragraph you will usually be correct.  And if you listen to the below video a couple times, you will be better at Maui pronunciation than most tourists.

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