Fijian Words And Phrases

Pronounciation | Hello/Goodbyes | Asking Questions | Numbers | Weekdays | Sentences

Everyone picks up at least a few Fijian words or phrases when they visit Fiji. You just can't help but do so when everyone says BULA and VINAKA to you a hundred times a day!

Why not make an effort to go beyond those few common words, and extend yourself a little? It will impress your friends and locals alike! I have made multiple trips to Fiji, with some extended stays of up to four months, so I have managed to pick up a few more words than the average tourist. What follows are some of the words and phrases that I found to be useful (leaving out a few that really can't be published on a family friendly website).

These words and phrases are what I have picked up over the years, spending pleasant evenings round the kava bowl chatting with friends.

What Is The Official Fijian Language?

You could be forgiven for assuming that Fijian is Fijian, no matter which part of the country you are visiting. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are literally hundreds of dialects, with many of them in danger of dying out completely.

The dialect that was chosen to be the "official" language, is the Bauan dialect. This is what is spoken in the province of Bau, but has now spread to all the urban area like Nadi, Suva etc. It's what you hear most of the time.

A Few Simple Pronounciation Rules

One thing I could never get the hang of (and still can't) is the way Fijians roll or trill their R's. It's somewhat similar to the Spanish way. Some people can do it, some can't and I happen to be in the latter group.

The vowels: These are short, A E I O U are pronounced the same way as most Pacific island vowels. That includes Teo Reo, the Maori language in NZ.

Consonants: While many of these are very similar to English, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of. Also, there is no X or Z in the Fijian alphabet.

Some Of The Most Common Words You Need

Now that we have looked at the basics of pronounciation, we can get onto something more interesting - actual words that you will find useful in everyday situations.

These are the ones that you will find yourself using all the time. These are approximate translations, rather than actual linguisticly correct ones. Most of the Fijian I have picked up over the years is the dialect spoken in the west, Nadi in particular.

So many of these words and phrases are not ones you will find online. They are what locals actually use every day in their conversations.

Asking Someone A Question

1 - 10 In Fijian

Days Of The Weeks

Complete Sentence Examples

In English: I'm sorry (or excuse me). I don't speak very good Fijian.

In Fijian: Vosoti au. Noqu vosa vakaviti e sega ni matata.

I will finish with an example of how I might introduce myself to somebody in Fiji. It's a bit more than what we have looked at so far, but it's not actually hard. Give it a try!

In English: Hi, I'm AJ. I'm from New Zealand, but I now live in Australia.

In Fijian: Bula, na yacaqu ko AJ. Au mai New Zealandi, au vakai tikotiko mai Australia.

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