Hawaiian Language Online

About Hawaiian diacritical marks

The Hawaiian language uses two diacritical markings. The ʻokina is a glottal stop, similar to the sound between the syllables of "oh-oh." In print, the correct mark for designating an ʻokina is the single open quote mark. The kahakō is a macron, which lengthens and adds stress to the marked vowel. For example 'pau,' depending on placement of ʻokina and kahakō, can mean completed, smudge, moist or skirt.

The State of Hawaiʻi and University of Hawaiʻi strongly encourage use of Hawaiian diacritical markings. (See UH Style Guide.) Technology, however, is still catching up.

Choose the level of Hawaiian font display

Depending on your browser, operating system and installed fonts, you may be able to display Hawaiian diacritical marks. If not, they will generally appear as boxes or question marks. In that case, you can choose either to use a foot mark (') as an approximation of the ʻokina or display text without diacritical marks.

Your setting selection will be maintained for this browser and this session only.

Click on the links above and watch the demo text below change. If you see boxes instead of diacritical marks, you do not have the fonts installed and should turn off the diacritical option for your session.

Hawaiian language demo

The University of Hawaiʻi System consists of 10 campuses, 7 community colleges and 3 university level campuses. The Mānoa campus, on the island of Oʻahu, is the flagship campus with more than 18,000 students enrolled.

Ua haku ʻia ke Kualono e ka Hale Kuamoʻo, Ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo e kākoʻo ai i nā kaiaulu ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a puni ke ao. ʻOiai, ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ka hapanui o nā ʻike, he mau palapala ʻōlelo Pelekāne nō hoʻi ko loko no ka poʻe hoihoi i ke aʻo ʻana i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a i ʻole no ka poʻe hoihoi i ka hoʻonaʻauao ʻia no ka ʻōlelo ʻōiwi o Hawaiʻi nei a me ka holomua o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

The Scoop on Hawaiian Fonts

To determine when diacritical marks should be used, refer to Hawaiian Dictionary and Place Names of Hawaiʻi, published by UH Press.

For assistance in computer and online use of Hawaiian diacriticals, see UH Hilo College of Hawaiian Language.