lmost everyone in Fiji speaks English – as it is the official language, but the Fijian language is preserved and widely spoken in many different dialects. Almost everyone is bilingual and many Fijian terms are included in everyday English usage. It is handy to know some of the more common words and phrases, and the Fijians will be delighted to know you picked up some of their language.
Fijian pronunciation is similar to English, but with a few changes to the phonetic alphabet. Below is a brief guide which will bring you close to the correct pronunciations. The best way to learn, since there are many subtleties, is to have a Fijian instruct you and then listen closely.
“a” is “ah” as in father, but shorter. The correct pronunciation of Nadi, is closer to “Nahn-di” than “Nan-di”.
“b” is “mb” as in bamboo. you’ll hear “bula” or “hello” many times. You may notice the slight humming “m”, almost silent at the beginning. When something precedes the “b”, then the “m” sound becomes more pronounced. The formal “hello”, Ni Sa Bula, is pronounced “ni sahm” boola”.
“c” is “th” as in “this”. So “moce” meaning goodbye is pronounced “moe-they”.
“d” is “nd” as in candy.
“g” is “ng” as in singer.
“i” is”i” as in sit or “ee” as in routine.
“o” is “ngg” as in finger.
The island of Beqa is pronounced “Mbeng-gah”.
“u” is”oo” as in bamboo or “u” as in put.
|good morning||ni sa yadra (ni sah yan dra)|
|goodbye||ni sa moce (ni sa mothey)|
|please||yalo vinaka (yalo vee naka)|
|excuse me||tulou (too low)|
|thank you||vinaka (vee naka)|
|mister||turaga (tu rang ah)|
|little||vaka lailai (vaka lie lie)|
|plenty||vaka levu (vaka ley vu)|
|quickly||vaka totolo (vaka toe toe lo)|
|toilet||vale lailai (vale lie lie)|
|come||lako mai (la ko my)|
|go||lako tani (la ko tanee)|
|bring||kauta mai (ka ou tah my)|
|one more||dua tale (ndua ta lay)|
|what is this||na cava oqo (na thava on go)|
|drink||gunu (goo noo)|
|I want||au vinakata (aoo vina kahta)|
|church||vale ni lotu (vahle nee lohtoo)|