Say it in Fiji | Fiji Guide The most trusted source for Fiji travel (2023)

Heim»Fijian Culture 101»língua fijiana»Dilo in Fiji

Fijian pronunciation

Editor's Note:vinaka see you laterdr. albert's protectionauthor ofDilo in FijiYDiscover Fijifor providing this introduction to FijiGuide pronunciation. Be sure to read our supply list.Fijian words and phrases.

Unlike the English spelling, which is riddled with exceptions, the Fiji spelling is regular. This quality gives you a good chance of pronouncing the words correctly when you read them.


If you're told that Fijian vowels are similar to Latin or Spanish, you're out of luck if you don't know those languages. To be safe, use the following rules, which have no exceptions.

Aas inpadre

mias inBait,but without the slip at the end.

EUas into knock,but without the slip at the end.

oas into throw away, but without the slip at the end.

youas inStiefel, but without the slip at the end.

When a vowel has a slash, it means it lasts longer. Long vowels are always stressed, regardless of their position. (Unfortunately, the official Fijian writing system does not mark long vowels. But they are marked in the dictionary headings.


Certain combinations of vowels function as units:

hey hey hey me hello you ui

This means that no matter where these groups of vowels appear in a word, the emphasis is on the first vowel. We'll talk more about this topic in the Accent section below.


Most Fijian and English consonants are pronounced the same. The following five are the exceptions:

B, representsmegabyte, as inMichiganmegabyteEs.

D,What representssim,as inMesDakota do NorteEs.

q, representsVon+GRAMS, as infiVonEs.

GRAMS, representsVon, as inYVonEs.

C, representshe, as infaheEs.

(Video) Here's The Truth About Fiji Water


Stress, that is, emphasizing one syllable more than the ones surrounding it, is only predictable for short words. In words of two or three short syllables, the accent is always on the penultimate syllable. In the following examples, the vowel of the stressed syllable is in bold:

two one

I look eyes, man

tolu drei

beautiful solid

Syllables with a long vowel or diphthong are stressed regardless of their position:

go four rai visa

kilā knows mā.rau happy

In terms of stress, longer words and sentences are made up of short units called slashes. You can see that the word mā.rau is divided into two bars and the boundary is marked by a dot. It's not part of the normal writing system, but it helps you find the accents in longer words. For example:

Bulu, Macao-Corteza

dai.dai heute

Treatment- Cysts

test briefly

posi.tō.vesi Postamt


As you can see from the bolded vowels, every diphthong, long vowel and penultimate short vowel in a measure is emphasized. Also, the last bar of a word is accented a little more.


Particles and Marks, the grammarians

Most of us who have studied a classical language, or perhaps French or German or Spanish, are very familiar with paradigms. In addition to their real function, which is to display a set of related words, these paradigms presented a set of items to be memorized. "Learn the paradigms and learn the language" seemed to be the idea.

Cargill, educated in classical languages, arrived in Fiji with the notion of paradigms firmly ingrained in him. It was the classic way and he tried to bend the Fijian to fit. Of course, the language has withstood, and the results of Cargill's efforts seem forced.

(Video) Amazing Quest: Stories from Fiji Islands | Somewhere on Earth: Fiji Islands | Free Documentary

The following is from his 1839 manuscript grammar (the language of Lakeba Island) and is an example of a common noun declension:

a valley, lar.

appointmenta valleylar
GenitiveNot worth itfrom home
DativeKi na Talto the house
accusativea valleylar
ablativefor the foolsi get married
ablativeof foolsout of home

Cargill continued with dual (i.e. two) and plural, providing a total of eight pages of noun declension examples. It actually makes no sense to decline nouns or conjugate verbs in Fijian, as the words don't change like they do in Latin or Greek, for example.

Most of the grammatical work is done by a group of particles or markers. These particles, along with other grammatical words such as pronouns, form the skeleton of a Fijian sentence. Teal's words fit this framework.

Cargill continued with dual (i.e. two) and plural, providing a total of eight pages of noun declension examples. It actually makes no sense to decline nouns or conjugate verbs in Fijian, as the words don't change like they do in Latin or Greek, for example.
Most of the grammatical work is done by a group of particles or markers. These particles, along with other grammatical words such as pronouns, form the skeleton of a Fijian sentence. Teal's words fit this framework.

nouns, verbs and adjectives

Now let's move from the general to the specific. The Fijian language is and should be divided into ten parts of speech. . . .G.A.F.W. Beauclerc
A língua fijiana, 1910

Why does it have to be shared like this? There is no reason. (By the way, Beauclerc was the well-meaning amateur who thought the Fijian languageto try,meaning “person,”* was derived fromAdam,Yanalysis,means "dog"collie)

Classical grammarians divided words into parts of speech that behaved differently. For example, nouns had case endings and verbs had inflections for person, number, and tense.

Without such endings in Fijian, grammarians have had difficulty making such classifications. For example, consider the word Fijithem babiesIt translates as "big" and that's why it sounds like an adjective:

and there is the levuthe big boy
the big boy
But it can also serve as a verb:
Sav levu na idothe child is big
the child is bigThere are many children.

we callLevua verb in this construction because it fits in the same space as other verbs, as in the sentence:
always goneThe child cries.
the child cries

In another construction, levu is a noun:
und kena *levuits size ("size")
your size
Thus, for many Fijian words, the particles that accompany them and their place in the sentence determine whether we consider them nouns, verbs or adjectives.

word order

The first sentence in the previous section shows a. notable feature of word order in Fiji: that of modifiers:
and there is the levuthe big boy
the big boy
Modifiers follow the words they change. Logical? It is very likely that we have become accustomed to the logical order of words. So the phrases you've seen so far may have seemed strange to you.
For Fiji, a verb phrase followed by a noun phrase is normal:
Sav levu na idothe child is big
it's a farmthe child is walking
verb phrase noun phrase

Another common sentence type is "same". Matches English sentences with 'to be' but without the English verb equivalent. The lack of a direct translation of 'to be' (and 'to have', by the way) into Fijian maddened many early grammarians, and some of them undertook great linguistic contortions to prove its existence, but without real success.

Why is "being" necessary? Fiji does just fine without him. In equation sentences, two noun phrases are understood to be equivalent:

And it's autumn, right? Excitingsera is the teacher
the teacher (=) will be
he has two eyesHe is a herald.
A herald (—) him

These examples show that word order is not a matter of logic, but just logic.Convention.


So far, the sentences shown here have used only a few simple pronouns: a meaning of T; and ko and kofit "you". But the rest of the Fijian pronouns make much finer distinctions. If you count the possessive pronouns, there are around 90 in all, proving a grammarian's delight and a language student's bane for over a century.

(Video) Best Cheap Flights Websites NOBODY is Talking About | How to Find Cheap Flights 2023

Cargill devoted 53 pages of his manuscript grammar to pronouns and possessives, and earlier in this century an amateur philologist (with more eloquence than insight) exclaimed:

Pronouns are so long, so intricately arranged, and such a perfect system, that, first, they make a certain class of people look on in horror and stop trying to learn them, and, second, when they (of the other class ) are mastered , they make learning the rest of the language a bit difficult.
G.A.F.W. Beauclerc
A língua fijiana, 1910

This is, of course, complete nonsense. Someone (the right kind!) could probably memorize the forms over the weekend and still find out on Monday morning that learning the rest of the language is more than "just a trifle".

There are two main differences between Fijian and English pronouns. First, the Fijian system not only distinguishes between singular and plural, but also has separate forms for dual (i.e. two) and judgment (three or few). Notice the different ways of saying "you":

Esyou (singular)
it's dtauyou (double)
ko douyou try)
that is allyou plural)

The second difference concerns the different meanings of "we", ie whether the person you are talking to is included or not. The distinction is calledinclusive exclusive,and this system, combined with the different numbers, provides six ways to translate "we" into Fijian:

keirau(he and me)
keiiou(She and I)
keimami(She and I)

Daru(You and I)
datou(you and him and me)
Y(she and you and me)

Confusing inclusive and exclusive behavior leads to misunderstandings. The story is told of one of the first missionaries who tested his new language skills with a prayer in which he intended to say something like, "Lord,Usthey are sinners. . But when he used the inclusive form, the Fijian hearers found it really strange that the god of the Europeans was accepted as a sinner.

An unusual gender system

For most nineteenth-century grammarians (and some of them today), gender was a system that languages ​​used to distinguish between masculine, feminine, and neuter objects. Unable to find such a system in Fiji, however, they attempted to discuss sex, citing forms for "rooster", "hen" and other animal pairs, all distinguishing sex by addition.the window"male thedrag"feminine" to the noun. This has little to do with grammar.

But there is a gender system in Fiji, and you can call it "sexed" because the usual classification doesn't work. The following are examples of property items. Note the different ways of saying "mine":

ligamy brothermequ inclinationmy beer
He is wellMy fishNoqu-Talmy house

The key to word classes lies in the semantic properties of the possessed things:

  1. Body parts and kinship terms
  2. grocery items
  3. drinking items
  4. All other items owned

Sometimes there may be transitions from one class to another. For example,talk(Taro) is usually eaten and therefore used withplaceoNO.but you could sayI slept wellif the taro was specifically for sale.

language changes

they call us the devil
Amatida Morgengrau ttfolu
Oloki ga sosea noloki Contestamene
will have vul amatida matedo geca okeini
LV, 1969

Do you admit it? Maybe not at first. But it's not really Fiji. Pronounce it quickly, following the rules listed at the beginning, ignoring word breakers:

Humpty Dumpty was sitting on a wall. . .

This "borrowing" was meant as a language game, a pun of sorts, but Fijian has many words that are actually borrowed from English. One of the first to be found in early manuscripts is "Tabak", written by a Frenchman in the 1820s asClassroom(and as such could have come from French) and now regularly asmy faceIt wasn't long before other words were borrowed. The first printed Fijian was in part a translation of a simplified catechism, and the nature of religious translation often makes it necessary to borrow words for names and other concepts not found in the culture.

Used Cargill and CrossAnd the Lama, JehovahYjisu karaisifor proper names andhelicopterYhevanifor other nouns. The last one is one of the few.providedliterally, because it was "returned" and replaced bylomalagi,which originally meant "heaven".

(Video) Tourism Fiji CEO invites Aussies "come with an empty suitcase and leave with a full one" | ABC News

When Cargill finished his Glossary of Lakeba Words (1839), he added some secular terms:

bleedingPennyHardpencil (literally wooden pencil)

HardHardsi pisheep


It's hard to say how many English words have been adopted by Fiji since then. At first, translators feared that the process would continue unhindered; Here's how Cargill resented Tonga:

In this group another practice prevails which, if continued, will end up destroying the simplicity of the language... I am referring to the immense amount of English words introduced into the language. The number of constantly introduced foreign words is so great that it is impossible for a native speaker to understand a new book without an English interpreter when it is printed. . .

Cargill's fears were unfounded as all languages ​​borrow freely when needed. But do borrowed words remain unchanged? Far from it when donors and borrowers are as different as English and Fijian.

Two characteristics of Fijian that most affect loanword forms are the following: first, every syllable of Fijian ends in a vowel; and second, except forb, d, q,YDR,there are no consonant clusters. These conditions cause Fijians to add vowels to the end of a word and simplify groupings or separate consonants with vowels. Sometimes the results look quite different from the donors' words. Can you identify the following?

1. Lunch 7. id ini
2. ana 8. jiokarafi
3. Bicycle 9. Calico
4. Biriki 10. Savumarini
5. Biology 11. Mind
6. fiva 12. vinivo

English distributors are 1) alcohol, 2) weather, 3) bicycle, 4) brick, 5) theology, 6) fever, 7) engine, 8) geography, 9) cheetah, 10) submarine, 11) spirits, 12) apron.

Sometimes loanwords get cut to pieces due to Fijian grammar. "napkin" (meaning baby clothes) was borrowed asna piquini,why in fijiofIt means the'.

Another type of change occurred in "Bee" and "Honey". "bee" becameElla(i.e. honey) and "honey" translates asde ni oni"Bee droppings".

The process does not stop at all. Modern newspapers use words like these:put on me(nuclear),daqari(Mono),thousand poles(basketball) andbdmeti(Waitress). What better indications that language can change over time?

keep reading

As opposed to the light treatment here, there are a number of more comprehensive studies from Fiji - different views from different angles.

Na und Fosavosa Vakaviti e Sa(Anare Raiwalui, Oxford, 1954) is a collection of idioms or proverbs that takes a closer look at Fijian as art or metaphor.

Fijian grammar(G.B. Milner, Fiji Government Press, 1956) is the most comprehensive grammar survey available.

A new Fijian dictionary(A. Capell, Government Printer Suva 1968 (Third Edition), a direct descendant of Hazlewood's 1850 work, is an indispensable tool for the serious student or translator.

I spoke to Fiji(Albert J. Schutz and Rusiate T. Komaitai, University of Hawaii Press, 1971) is a text for language students based on materials developed by the authors for Peace Corps use.

Fiji's languages(Albert J. Schutz, Oxford, 1972) is a history and review of what has been written about Fiji from the early 19th century to the present.

(Video) Safest Countries to Hide Out if World War 3 Starts

©2022dr. Albert J Schutz

Top Shot courtesy of Rob Rickman (via Talanoa Tours)


What is the best way to travel in Fiji? ›

The best ways to get around Fiji are by bus if you want to explore one of the archipelago's islands, or by ferry if you want to island hop. You can also get to other islands by plane, but this mode of transport is more expensive.

What do I need to know before going to Fiji? ›

15 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Fiji
  • Tipping Is Not Expected.
  • When Visiting Small Villages, Bring a Gift.
  • Consider the Best Time for Visiting Fiji.
  • It's Okay for People to Roam Around With Machetes.
  • Learn Some Fijian Words Such as 'Bula' and 'Vinaka'
  • Adapt to Fijian Time.
  • There Are No Cash Machines.
Dec 8, 2021

What is the best time of year to travel to Fiji? ›

Fiji weather

The best time to Fiji for clear blue skies is from May through to September. October through to April make up the wet season which is also the time of year most at risk of cyclone. However, it is also when you're going to have the highest temperatures seen throughout the year.

Which part of Fiji is the best to stay at? ›

Where to Stay in Fiji
  • Denarau. The private resort island of Denarau is a tiny dot of tropical splendour just west of Viti Levu. ...
  • Coral Coast. This 80km stretch of splendid beaches and bays is an oasis of fine-dining and majestic coral reefs. ...
  • Mamanuca Islands. ...
  • Taveuni Island. ...
  • Yasawa Islands. ...
  • Kadavu Island.

How many days in Fiji is enough? ›

Travelers should plan to spend at least one week in Fiji to fully experience island life. Those seeking a beach vacation on the main island could visit for a quick five days.

How much cash should I bring to Fiji? ›


As a general guide, you'll need around FJD$360 (AUD$226) per person per day in Fiji if you're on a budget. For a midrange trip, you could be looking at FJD$360-800 (AUD$226-$501). For a luxury-style trip, aim for at least FJD$800 (AUD$501) per day.


1. 12 Essential NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL Tips! | WATCH BEFORE You Go!
(Alexander Ayling)
(Talk Business)
3. Top Tricks for Booking CHEAP Flights in 2023
(David Rule)
4. Single Handed Sailing from Australia to Fiji (Ep3)
(Captain Scarlegs)
(Talk Business)
6. 12 | Sailing to Fatu Hiva, the Most Beautiful Island in the World
(Madison Boatworks)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 03/15/2023

Views: 6537

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.