Learn to Speak Fijian: A Holiday Makers Guide

Learning to speak few key words and phrases in Fijian will help make for a great holiday experience in some of the world’s most beautiful islands.

Fiji is an extremely popular tourist destination. It is especially a favourite of travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the United States, partly because English is very widely spoken in Fiji. If you are visiting an area popular with travellers or staying at a major resort, it is likely that many of the people that you meet with speak some English, and often extremely good English. But as well as being helpful when meeting people away from the main tourist strips, learning a few key Fijian words and phrases will help you to make friends wherever you are and show respect to your hosts.

Conversation Essentials

Hello = Bula

Bula is used to say hello, or welcome, or cheers, and is even exclaimed if you sneeze. It translates literally to ‘life’ and is a way of wishing you good health and good fortune.

Thank You = Vinaka
Vinaka is pronounced ‘vinahka’
Or you can say vinaka vaka-levu which means thank you very much.
Please = Kerikeri
Yes = Lo
No = Sega
I am going to Suva = Au lako ni Suva
I am from Canada = Au sa lako mai Canada
Not a problem/no worries = Sega na lega
Help = Oilei
Doctor = Vuniwai
Police = Ovisa
I am diabetic = Au tauvi matenisuka
Where is the hospital? = I vei na valenibula?

Days of the Week

Monday = Moniti
Tuesday = Tusiti
Wednesday = Vukelulu
Thursday = Lotulevu
Friday = Vakaraubuka
Saturday = Vakarauwai
Sunday = Sigatabu

Numbers

0 – zero = saiva
1 – one = dua
2 – two = rua
3 – three = tolu
4 – four = va
5 – five = lima
6 – six = ono
7 – seven = vitu
8 – eight = walu
9 – nine = ciwa
10 – ten = tina

Languages in Fiji

Only around of half of Fiji’s 850,000 residents speak Fijian as their first language, with a further 200,000 people speaking Fijian as their second language. As well as English and Fijian, Fiji-Hindi is also widely spoken. Also known as Fijian Hindi or Fiji Hindustani, Fiji-Hindi is spoken by the 38 per cent of the total population. Fijian Hindi features many of the regional dialects spoken by the Indians who arrived in Fiji as indentured labourers in the 19th century, including Awadhi and Bhojpuri. The relationship between Hindi and Fiji Hindi has been described as similar as that between Dutch and Afrikaans.

Fijian itself was only made an official language of Fiji in 1997 with the adoption of a new constitution. From the time of colonial rule, the only official language in Fiji had been English but 1997 constitution, for the first time, gave equal status to Fijian, Fiji-Hindi and English.

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