Fiji Language

One of the most exciting things about Fiji is the three official languages (English, Fijian and Hinustani) widely spoken by the South Pacific population. English is used most predominantly and has been adopted by the courts, businesses and the education system.

The traditional Fijian language is made up of a number of dialects, with the official interpretation being Bau Fijian. An Austronesian language, Fijian was initially spoken in Fiji when the first inhabitants arrived 3500 years ago from either Vanuatu or the Solomons. Today just 450,000 (less than half the population) Fijians speak it as their first language, while 200,000 speak Fijian as a second language.

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Lessons in Bau Fijian

Words with a 'd' sound an invisible 'n' before the letter (i.e Nadi is pronounced 'Nandi' and the tasty cool, marinated seafood dish called kokoda, is pronounced 'kokonda'). You also must put an 'm' immediately before the 'b' in some words like Toberua (Tomberua). Other irregularities include sigatoka which becomes 'singatoka' and naigani is 'ninegani'. 'C' is also pronounced as a 'th', so Mamanuca becomes 'Mamanutha'.

Common words and phrases include:

EnglishFijianPronunciation
Hello/hini sa bulanee sar bula
Good morningni sa yadranee sar yarndra
Goodbyesa mocesa more there
Pleaseyalo vinakayarlo veenarka
Excuse metuloutoo low
Yesioee or
Thank you/goodvinakaveenarka
Thank you very muchvinaka vaka levuveenarka varka levoo
Much/biglevulevoo
Nosegasenga
Eatkanakarna
Villagekoroko ro
A little/smallvaka lailaiva ka lie lie
Great/a lotvaka levuva ka levoo
Fastvaka totolova ka tortorlo
Slowlyvaka maluava ka mar lua
Housevaleva le
Toiletvale lailaiva le lie lie
Comelako maila ko my
Golako tanila ko tan i
Oneduadu a
Tworuaru a
One moredua taledu a ta le

Note: Greetings may be shortened, for example: Ni sa bula can be just 'bula', ni sa yandra can be just 'yandra' and sa moce can be simply 'moce'.