Fiji Phrases for Your South Pacific Vacation

Fiji is one of the largest island groups in the South Pacific and while almost everyone in Fiji speaks English, the official language of the country, many residents still use the Fijian language.

If you plan to visit the island of Fiji, it is not only polite to become familiar with some common words and phrases in this language, but it can also make it captivating for the already warm and welcoming people of Fiji.

One word you will constantly hear is the infectious "bula", which means "hello" or "welcome."

You may also hear "ni sa yadra", which means "good morning" or "ni sa moce", which means "goodbye."

However, before speaking this language, you will need to know some basic pronunciation rules.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Some Basic Fijian Language

Source: Think Pacific

Pronounce words in traditional Fijian

When it comes to speaking other languages, it is important to remember that some vowels and consonants are pronounced differently than American English.

The following idiosyncrasies apply to the pronunciation of most Fijian words:

  • The letter "a" is pronounced "ah" as in the father
  • The letter "e" is pronounced "ey" as in the bay
  • The letter "i" is pronounced "ee" as in bee
  • The letter "o" is pronounced "oh" as in go
  • The letter "u" is pronounced "oo" like in the zoo
  • The letters "ai" are pronounced "ie" and it's a lie

Also, any word with a "d" has an unwritten "n" in front of it, so the city of Nadi would be pronounced "Nah-ndi".

The letter "b" is pronounced as "mb" like in bamboo, especially when in the middle of a word, but even with the "bull" that is often heard there is an almost silent hum of "m".

Similarly, in certain words with a "g", there is an unwritten "n" in front of it, so sega ("no") is pronounced "senga" and the letter "c" is pronounced "th", then "moce," which means goodbye, is pronounced "moe-them."

Keywords and phrases

Don't be afraid to try a few common words when visiting Fiji, whether it's talking to a tagane (man) or marama (woman) and saying "ni sa bula" ("hello") or "ni sa moce" ("goodbye").

The people of Fiji will surely appreciate that you have taken the time to try to learn their language.

  • Hello: Ni sa bula or just bula
  • Goodbye: Ni sa moce
  • Good morning: Ni sa yadra
  • Yes: Lo
  • No: Sega
  • Please: Yalo vinaka
  • Excuse me: Tolou
  • Thank you / good: Vinaka
  • Thank you very much: Vinaka vaka levu
  • What is this?: A cava oqo?
  • It’s a…: E dua na…
  • House: Vale or bure
  • Man: tagane
  • Woman: marama
  • Toilet: Vale lailai
  • Village: Koro
  • Church: Vale ni lotu
  • Shop: Sitoa
  • Eat: Kana
  • Drink: Gunu
  • Coconut: Niu
  • Quickly: Vaka totolo
  • Big: Levu
  • Small: Lailai
  • Slowly: Vaka malua
  • A little/small: Vaka lailai
  • A lot/great: Vaka levee
  • One: Dua
  • Two: Rua

If you forget, you can always ask a local for help.

Since most of the islanders speak English, you shouldn't have a problem communicating while traveling, and you might even get a chance to learn!

Remember to always treat the island culture with respect, including the language and the land, and be sure to enjoy your trip to Fiji.

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