If you’re planning your dream getaway at our Namale Resort and Spa in Fiji, you might feel a little apprehensive about not knowing the local language. But no need to worry! Fijians are considered some of the most friendly people in the world, and they are sure to welcome you to their island with open arms, regardless of whether or not you can speak the language.
That said, learning a few essential words and phrases in the Fijian language is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. Not only can this help make it easier to get around and communicate with the locals, but showing that you’ve taken the time to study their language is a big sign of respect. Even just trying out one or two phrases can make a big difference!
Whether you’re looking to learn a few simple words like “hello” in Fijian or master full-on phrases and sentences, our guide to the Fiji language can help! With these words and phrases in your back pocket, you’ll be all set to make friends and experience the vibrant culture on your next vacation in Fiji!
What language do they speak in Fiji?
The most commonly spoken language is Fijian. This Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family, introduced to the island over 3,500 years ago, is the island’s official language. However, it’s not uncommon to hear English and Hindi spoken on the island, too, as they’re also the official languages of Fiji.
Is Fijian hard to learn?
The Fijian language isn’t considered a tough language to learn, but it’s not something you will master overnight. Learning other languages takes time, patience, and plenty of practice. The best way to study this language is by immersing yourself in Fijian culture and conversing with native speakers. The more you practice, the better you’ll get!
“Bula” is the Fijian greeting for hello, or welcome – you’ll hear it over and over again when you visit Fiji.
Bula literally translates to “life,” but it has many meanings. When Fijians use it as a greeting, they are wishing you good health. You may also hear it paired with “vinaka.” What is the “bula vinkaka” meaning? It means “the good life” and is used as a warm welcome. Furthermore, Fijians use bula after someone sneezes, the same way many say “bless you” in English. Having a drink with some new Fijian friends? Bula works as “cheers,” too.
Other variations of bula that you will hear in Fiji are “drau bula” or “dou bula.” You can spice up your greetings to impress local Fijians by saying “ni bula” for good day, and “ni sa bula” for good evening.
Your simple yes and no are: Yes= io, and no= sega.
Starting a Conversation
If you want to switch back to English after the traditional greeting, you can ask Fijians if they speak English like so: “Ko ni kila na vosa Vaka Valagi?”
If you are greeted with a response that you don’t understand, say so by telling them “au sega nit aura rawa.”
To tell people where you are from, say “O yau mai” and then the name of your home.
Of course, if you need to find a bathroom, you will ask “E vein a vale-lailai?”
If you wish to buy something, you can inquire about the price by asking, “e vica?” which means “how much?”
You may also come across the phrase “lako mai ke.” It means “come over here,” such as someone gesturing for you to join them.
Mind Your Manners
Polite as you no doubt are, you can say your please and thank yous as such: Please is “Yalo vinak,” and thank you is “vinaka” or “vinaka vaka levu.” If you happen to overstep your bounds and wish to apologize, you can say “vosoti.”
While travelling, if you don’t know what something is, ask “what is this?” by saying “gunu.”
Another set of fun Fijian words to know is “sega na leqa,” which means “no worries.” It’s the Fijian version of the famous phrase, “hakuna matata.”
When your meal is ready, you’ll likely hear someone say, “mai kana,” meaning it’s time to dine.
As you enjoy some traditional Fijian Lovo, you can wish your friends Bon Apetit in Fijian by saying “Da Kana.”
As the meal draws to a close, you can direct the bill to whoever in your party will be paying (or whoever didn’t study up on Fijian before arriving) by telling your server “na turaga oqo e na sauma taucoko,” which means “the gentleman will pay for everything.” If a lady is paying, replace “turaga” with “marama.”
After dinner, if you decide to try the nightlife and connect with the locals, you can ask someone if they would like to dance with you with a simple “Ko Via meke kei au?”
If you are visiting Fiji with the love of your life on a honeymoon, anniversary, or wedding, they will surely appreciate your romantic gesture of learning to express your love for them in a new language. Sweep your partner off their feet by saying “Au domoni iko,” meaning “I love you.”
When It’s Time to Say Goodbye
Even though it’s likely that you won’t want to leave Fiji, “Moce” is how you say goodbye. Your new Fijian friends may say “Vanuinui vinaka e nomu volau,” which means bon voyage, or have a good journey.
And of course, you will want to come back and visit your Fijian friends at Namale Resort, so you can tell them “sota tale”—see you again (soon!).
Now that you have some Fijian words and phrases under your belt, it’s time to create the perfect island getaway here at Namale Resort and Spa. Whether celebrating your honeymoon or indulging in a much-needed vacation, our luxury boutique resort promises to exceed your expectations. Contact us today for a quote, check out our special offers, and get ready to say “bula” to your island vacation with us!