You'll hear many folks say the name of this island as though it were made up of the two English words "cow" and "eye". As with most Hawai`ian words, the proper pronunciation is much more lyrical, and flows through three syllables.

"Kau" is sort of like "cow", but don't let your lips move all the way out into the "oo" position at the end. (Pretend you're a ventriloquist and you don't want people to see your lips move.)

From there you just glide into "ah" - the sort of pleasurable sound you might make as you lower yourself into a hottub after a particularly hard day. Following the "ah" is a full interruption of breath at the back of your throat, as is indicated by the ` character.

The final syllable is prounounced "ee", as in "eek, I see a mouse!".

Put them all together, kau-ah ee, and you'll sound like a Local!
Now, isn't that much more pleasing to the ear than "cow eye"?

The Makai Guy's North Shore Kauai website maintained by Doug Wilson,    Page revised: 9 Aug 2000
Unless otherwise noted, text and images © Copyright F.D.Wilson, all rights reserved.