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Why are Street Names so Long and Have so Many Vowels in Hawaii?

Why are Street Names so Long and Have so Many Vowels in Hawaii?

Part of our Tropical Trivia About Hawaii and its Unique Culture series.

The Hawaiian alphabet has a total of only 12 letters. H, K, L, M, N, P and W plus the 5 vowels. What this means is that the language works best with compound words. Those street names may be an entire phrase.

Frequently, the streets are name after the Hawaiian fauna, the stars in the sky, Hawaiian royalty or naturally occurring phenomena.

King Kamehameha or Queen Liliuokalani the last Hawaiian monarch. A street that goes toward the water may have “Wai” (water) in it. Likewise a street that goes up the hill might have “Lani” (towards the heavens) in it.