New Zealand’s Minister of Pacific Peoples says there should be more interest in the language of Fiji as it’s a significant trading partner. Aupito Su’a William Sio said learning more about anyone’s language or culture opens a pathway for communication and commerce.
This week New Zealand celebrates its sixth Fijian Language Week – Macawa ni Vosa Vakaviti – with the theme ‘Noqu Vosa Me’u Bula Taka’ meaning My language, Learn it, Speak it, Live it. Aupito said language and culture is vital for all Pacific peoples in New Zealand to have a stronger sense of belonging and general well-being. “Pacific languages are also avenues to trade and commerce,” he said.
Aupito said New Zealand exporters would be wise to invest in the language as well. “We export to Fiji in the vicinity of $693-million a year and that’s really important. And I’m told by businesses in the Fijian community that understanding the Fijian language and culture is so important in establishing those good business relationships.”
Fijian Words and phrases you can try:
Hello – Ni sa bula (nee sahm boola) or bula (mboola) for short
Goodbye – Ni sa moce (nee sa mo-they)
Good morning – Ni sa yadra (nee sa yandra)
Yes – Io (ee-o)
No – Sega (senga)
Please – Yalo vinaka (yalo vee-nahka)
Excuse me – Tolou (too low)
Thank you – Vinaka (vee-nahka)
Tips on Fijian language pronunciation
• The letter “a” is pronounced “ah” as in father.
• Any word with a “d” has an unwritten “n” in front of it, so the city Nadi is pronounced “Nah-ndi.”
• The letter “b” is pronounced as “mb” like in bamboo, especially when it is in the middle of a word.
• Similarly, in certain words with a “g,” there is an unwritten “n” in front of it, so sega (“no”) is pronounced “senga,”
• The letter “c” is pronounced “th,” so “moce,” meaning goodbye, is pronounced “moe-they.”