Learn the Language
English is the official language in Fiji and almost everyone speaks it – especially in the cities and tourist areas. However, a majority also speak Fijian as well, and terms and phrases may be used interchangeably.
Although learning Fijian is not necessary for easy travel around Fiji, locals always appreciate the effort made by others to learn their language. If all you learn are ‘bula’ (hello) and ‘vinaka’ (thank you), you’ll be off to a great start and make Fijians smile! The information below is from the Fiji Tourism Board.
- 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
Basic English/Fijian Translations
- Good morning: ni sa yadra (ni sah yan dra)
- Hello: bula (mbula)
- Goodbye: ni sa moce (ni sa mothey)
- Please: yalo vinaka (yalo vee naka)
- Thank you: vinaka (vee naka)
- Excuse me: tulou (too low)
- I’m sorry: Vosoti au (voesah tee ow)
- Yes: io (ee-o)
- No: seqa (senga)
- Woman: marama (ma rama)
- Man: turaga (tu rang ah)
- Eat: kana (kana)
- Drink: gunu (goo noo)
- Coconut: niu (new)
- Village: koro (koro)
- House: vale/bure (valey/mburey)
- Toilet: vale lailai (vale lie lie)
- One: dua (ndua)
- Two: rua (roo ah)
- What is this?: na cava oqo (na thava on go)
- I want: au vinakata (aoo vina kahta)
- Shop: sitoa (seetoah)
Don’t worry. If you forget, you can always just a friendly local for help. As most islanders speak English, you should have no trouble communicating and might even get the opportunity to learn. It is important to always treat the culture of the islands with respect, including the language and the land.