Adventures in Machine Learning

Learn to Pronounce Hawaiian Words with Python Programming

Visiting Hawaii is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. The sun-kissed beaches, rich culture, and unique language contribute to making it a desirable vacation destination.

Hawaiian language, also known as lelo Hawaii, is a beautiful and complex language that is closely tied to the Hawaiian culture. Hawaiian pronunciation can be challenging initially, but once you get the hang of it, it is a lot of fun.

In this article, we will delve into the basics of Hawaiian pronunciation and how to use Python to design a program for it. 1)to Hawaiian language pronunciation:

Hawaiian language is made up of 14 characters, seven vowels, and seven consonants.

The vowels are ‘a, e, i, o, u, and the two vowels that form the diphthongs ai and au.’ The consonants are ‘h, k, l, m, n, p, and w.’ Depending on where they are used in words, these vowels and consonants can take different sounds.

The pronunciation of vowels in Hawaiian language can be different from English.

For instance, the ‘a’ vowel in Hawaiian has a shorter and sharper sound, similar to the ‘a’ in ‘cat.’ The ‘e’ vowel in Hawaiian has a long sound like the ‘ay’ in ‘hay.’ The ‘i’ vowel in Hawaiian is pronounced like ‘ee’ in English. The ‘o’ vowel in Hawaiian has a long ‘o’ sound, just like the ‘o’ in boat.

Finally, the ‘u’ vowel in Hawaiian is pronounced like the ‘oo’ in ‘moon.’

Combinations and exceptions in Hawaiian pronunciation:

Hawaiian vowels can have different sounds depending on the vowel combinations. For instance, the ‘ai’ combination is pronounced like ‘eye.’ The ‘au’ combination has a sound similar to the ‘ou’ in ‘out.’ The two vowel combinations are pronounced as separate sounds.

Hawaiian pronunciation has several unique consonants, including the ‘okina’ or ‘glottal stop.’ It is represented by an apostrophe, and it separates any two vowels. It indicates a brief pause or a glottal stop between two vowels.

For example, the word ‘aloha’ is actually pronounced ‘ah-lo-ha’ with a small pause between ‘lo’ and ‘ha.’

Some exceptions can confuse the beginners while pronouncing Hawaiian words. For example, ‘eia’ is pronounced as ‘eh-yah’ and not ‘ee-ya.’ Similarly, the Hawaiians pronounce ‘u’ usage in unique ways like ‘moku’ is pronounced as ‘mo-ku’ instead of ‘mow-ku.’

2) Designing a Python program for Hawaiian pronunciation:

Python dictionaries can be useful in mapping Hawaiian letters and their sounds.

We can create a dictionary that maps each of the 14 characters to its unique sound. For instance, we can create a dictionary that maps ‘a’ to ‘ah,’ ‘e’ to ‘ay,’ ‘i’ to ‘ee,’ and so on.

We can write a check_word() function that takes an input word and converts it to lowercase. The function finds each vowel in the word and identifies its proper pronunciation.

We can also check for any apostrophes, as they indicate a glottal stop. Finally, we will combine the individual vowel sounds and print the word’s complete pronunciation.

Here is an example of how the check_word() function could work:


def check_word(word):

word = word.lower()

pronunciation = ”

for i in word:

if i in ‘aeiou’:

pronunciation += my_dict[i]

elif i == “‘”:

pronunciation += ”


pronunciation += i

return pronunciation



Visiting Hawaii is not only a vacation; it’s a chance to explore a unique culture and language. Hawaiian pronunciation may seem challenging initially, but with a little practice and some help from Python, anyone can learn to pronounce Hawaiian words correctly.

With the help of Python dictionaries and programs like check_word() function, it is easier than ever to learn the intricacies of the Hawaiian language. Give it a try and impress your next Hawaiian friends with your newfound linguistic skills.

3) Implementation of Hawaiian Pronouncer program:

Now that we understand the basics of Hawaiian pronunciation and how to use Python to design a program for it, we can implement our ideas into the code. Let’s start by initializing two dictionaries: Sing_vowels dictionary and paired_vowels dictionary.

Sing_vowels dictionary:

– It contains keys as the 5 single vowels in Hawaiian and their values as the respective pronunciation. – The letter ‘y’ and its pronunciation ‘iy’ in Hawaiian are also included as keys in this dictionary.


sing_vowels = {‘a’:’ah’, ‘e’:’ey’, ‘i’:’ee’, ‘o’:’oh’, ‘u’:’oo’, ‘y’:’iy’}


Paired_vowels dictionary:

– It contains keys as the 2 paired vowels in Hawaiian language (ai and au)

– The values are the respective pronunciation of the paired vowel sound. – It separates the two vowels and pronounces them in their distinct sounds.


paired_vowels = {‘ai’:’eye’, ‘au’:’ow’}


Now, let’s create a check_word() function that takes an input word and converts it to lowercase. The function identifies vowel sounds and checks for any glottal stops.

It combines individual vowel sounds and prints the word’s complete pronunciation. “`python

def check_word(word):

word = word.lower()

pronunciation = “”

for index, character in enumerate(word):

if character in sing_vowels.keys():

pronunciation += sing_vowels[character]

elif character == “‘”:

pronunciation += “” if (index != 0 and index != (len(word) – 1)) else “”

elif index < len(word)-1 and word[index:index+2] in paired_vowels.keys():

pronunciation += paired_vowels[word[index:index+2]]

return pronunciation


To test our function, we need a driver code that takes the user’s input and calls the check_word() function.

We have added a while loop to keep asking the user for new words to pronounce. Once the user types ‘exit’, the loop will end.


while True:

word = input(“Enter a Hawaiian word to pronounce, or ‘exit’ to stop: “)

if word == ‘exit’:


print(f”ntThe pronunciation of {word} is: {check_word(word)}n”)


4) Conclusion:

In conclusion, we’ve learned the basics of Hawaiian pronunciation and designed a program in Python that can accurately pronounce Hawaiian words. The program uses Python dictionaries to map each of the 14 characters to their unique sounds.

The check_word() function identifies each vowel in a word and uses the dictionaries to determine the correct pronunciation. We also discussed the use of programming constructs like for loop and if-elif conditions that make the program functional.

It’s worth mentioning that this program is far from perfect and may not always produce correct pronunciations for more complex Hawaiian words. However, it serves as an excellent starting point for beginners interested in learning Hawaiian pronunciation.

In the end, the beauty of Hawaiian language is in its unique and complex structure. With the help of Python and dedication to practice, we may also become proficient in speaking the beautiful language of Aloha.

In this article, we’ve explored the basics of Hawaiian pronunciation. We’ve learned about the 14 characters, vowels, and consonants that make up the Hawaiian language.

We’ve also discussed the use of Python dictionaries to map letters to their unique sounds and created a check_word() function to accurately pronounce Hawaiian words. This program’s implementation demonstrated how programming languages can aid the learning of a new language.

In conclusion, with dedication to practice and the help of technology, anyone can learn the intricate and beautiful language of Hawaiian.

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