HONOLULU (KHON2) — We all make use of our island roadways, be it driving, riding a bike, or just walking down the street.  

But do you pay attention to the given names?  

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Our weekly Aloha Authentic segment highlights various roadways across the islands so we can dig into those given names, and in turn, learn more about Hawaiʻi and our culture.  

This week, we bring attention to commonly mispronounced Hawaiian words.

In the ahupuaʻa of Honouliuli, which lies in the moku of ʻEwa here on Oʻahu, stands a short street named after the action of talking.  

We are talking about Walaʻau Pl.

Talking story is something embedded within the lifestyle of Hawaiʻi, conversing of the past, present and future.

With that comes the chance to mispronounce Hawaiian words.  

Here are some of the common ones:

Our elderly are revered as a source of wealth.  

The word kupuna is used to metaphorically refer to them as a “standing spring.”

Many incorrectly refer to elders as kapuna which actually means “spoon” or refers to a physical spring.

When we consume poke, we typically are speaking of raw fish.  

But the word refers to the way something is sliced and cubed.

Some people incorrectly say they are eating poki.  

This would actually mean they are eating “cat.”

The older we get, the more kuleana we have.  

The meaning of this word is “right, privilege, or responsibility.”

This is sometimes mispronounced as kuliana, which can be translated as to “pretend not to hear something.”

Hawaiʻi’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism and haole, which is the formal Hawaiian word for any foreigner. 

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Sometimes it’s incorrectly pronounced as hauli which carries its own meaning, one of shock and astonishment.

Did you know?  Now you do!