6 Good and Free Ways To Learn ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi

1) Free ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi Lessons at Ka Makana Ali‘i This March

I’d heard that these free lessons were going to be at the Kapolei Heritage Center, but when 200 people signed up, they moved to Ka Makana Aliʻi’s Center Court. Join Kumu Makalapua Cassion-Fisher (pictured above) for the two final lessons — Tuesday, March 19, and Tuesday, March 26. The classes are 6pm-7:30pm.

2) Kulāiwi — Free Video Lessons

This series of 24 videotaped lessons by Kamehameha Schools is free on YouTube. The camera is trained almost entirely on Kumu ‘Ekela Kanī‘aupi‘o Crozier, so it feels like one-on-one tutoring. The first lesson has 98% thumbs up.

The entire series is available via the Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning site, along with transcripts of each video and a student workbook. Each lesson is about 1 hour long.

3) Ka Leo ʻŌiwi — Free Video Lessons

The first episode of this series by ʻŌiwi TV has 97% thumbs up on YouTube.

Ka Leo ʻŌiwi replicates a classroom. So there are other students shown in the video learning along with you. Each lesson is between 20 and 30 minutes long. This playlist has all 13 lessons.

4) Learn Hawaiian At Home — Free (Library) Book

learn hawaiian at home
This course, which includes CDs, has 4.5 stars on Amazon. And it costs 23 bucks on Amazon.

But you can get it free through the Hawaiʻi State Public Library system, which has more than 100 copies across the system.

You shouldn’t have to wait to get it. When I checked recently the library had 60 copies available, including 2 at Kapolei Public Library.

5) Ka Lei Haʻaheo: Beginning Hawaiian — Free (Library) Book

ka lei haʻaheo

This book-only course also has 4.5 stars on Amazon, also costs $23, and is also available for free through the library. When I checked there were 40 copies available, 2 of them on the shelves at Kapolei Public Library.

6) Duolingo — Free App

duolingo hawaiian

The popular app added ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi last October, and Kumu ‘Ekela Kanī‘aupi‘o Crozier, host of the Kamehameha Schools video course mentioned above, was a consultant on the project. It is designed for short bursts of learning and practice, five to ten minutes at a time.

You know those times when you’re waiting in line for something or riding the bus and need to kill a few minutes on your phone? This is the perfect app for that. And if you’re too busy to commit to hour-long lessons, this is a good way to start. The app is free, though you can pay for advanced quizzes and so that ads don’t show up.

Other resources

Drops is a game-based language-learning app.

Wehewehe.org is a web-based Hawaiian-to-English dictionary — and a good place to copy and paste diacritical marks.

Photo of Makalapua Cassion-Fisher by Erica Roldan