Your Hawaiian is better than your Welsh


Pembrokeshire or Waimea? Wales and Hawai'i have more in common than beautiful beaches and mountain scenery...


Their languages have enjoyed a great resurgence in recent decades, bucking the trend of being bullied into irrelevance by the culturally dominant neighbouring language, which in both cases happens to be English.

Your knowledge of the Hawaiian language is probably more extensive than your Welsh.

How so? Because... Fact: There are more words in the English language that derive from Hawaiian than from Welsh.

Do you find it more surprising that there are so many of the former or so few of the latter?

A selection of English words of Hawaiian origin

Aloha - this has three meanings: hello, goodbye, and love (the latter is only used in Hawai’i)

Awa - a plant belonging to the pepper family. An intoxicating beverage is made from its roots.

Haole - outsider or foreigner

Honu - a green sea turtle

Hula - a Hawaiian dance which used to be performed only by men as a war dance and a symbol of masculinity

Kahuna - a priest, shaman, or wizard; also used to refer to a local or someone who has lived in Hawai’i a long time.

Luau - a feast, with singing and dancing

Mahalo - thank you

Ohana - family

Pele's hair - named after Pele, the fire goddess of volcanoes,