Let's Speak Fijian!

Though I feel it's probably a required ingredient to the "good global citizen" recipe, I don't think I'll ever be truly bi-lingual. Darn tootin', wouldn't that be wonderful? I just don't think I have the stamina to only concentrate on one culture at a time. As my pseudonym suggests, I gotta keep moving. Instead, my resume reads much like this:

Language Skills - Italian (can somewhat carry on a conversation), Spanish (know lots of good insults and how to sound pissed off), and an ability to ask for a beer or count in the following languages: Kiswahili, German, Khmer, Fijian and a couple other languages which prove to be virtually useless in the rest of the world.

Alas, Garrett and I are attempting to learn enough Fijian to command the children who can't understand us or to appease the adults who barely have a hold on "Hello." It's been a fun experience thus far, especially since people in the village get a kick out of making us say naughty or insulting things to others.

Join us in learning an incredibly useful and global language…Fijian! Remember to roll your R's and note the difference in pronouncing C's and J's.

On the internship in Fiji

On the internship in Fiji

  • Bula: Hello, Bless you (when someone sneezes)

  • Cei na yacamu (pronounced they nigh-a tha-mu): What's your name?

  • Vinaka: Thank you

  • Vinaka vaka levu: Thank you very much

  • Bula vinaka: Nice to meet you

  • Yadra (pronounced yan-dra): Good morning!

  • Moce (pronounced mo-they): Goodbye

  • Au sali moce (pronounced ow sa-lee mo-they): I'm going to bed.

  • Jilou (pronounced chill-o): Pardon me, sorry for invading your space

  • Io (pronounced ee-yo): Yes

  • Sega (pronounced sang-a): No


  • Kana: eat

  • Gunu (pronounced ngu-nu): drink

  • Kana vakalevu: eat a lot

  • Gunu ti (pronounced ngu-nu tee): have tea, drink tea

  • Naka an kana: Thanks for the food.

  • Tavioka: cassava (a root vegetable like a potato)

  • Dalo: taro (another root vegetable with an odd, sticky texture)

  • Bele: greens related to sugar cane and hibiscus, also called Fijian asparagus

  • Rourou: the leaf of the taro plant, which has itchy sap that makes the mouth feel tingly and quite odd

  • Pea (pronounced peh-ya): avocado

  • Vainaviu: pineapple

  • Suka: sugar

  • Maleka sara na kakana: The meal was delicious.


  • Dua: one

  • Rua: two

  • Tolu: three

  • Va: four

  • Lima: five

  • Ono: six

  • Vitu: seven

  • Walu: eight

  • Ciwa (pronounced thee-wa): nine

  • Tini: ten

  • Tinikadua: eleven

  • Tinikarua: twelve


  • Cava (pronounced tha-va): what

  • Cei (pronounced they-ee): who

  • Vei: where Vakacava (pronounced va-ka-tha-va): how

  • Naica (pronounced nie-tha)

Namosi Slang

  • Warai (pronounced wah-rye): No

  • Cavatikomadabunene (pronounced tha-ba-teek-oh-man-da-boo-ne-ne): How is it? (throw a snap in there as you say the phrase)

  • Kisi mai: Come here/Get close for a kiss

  • So (pronounced Soooooooooooo!): Awwww! Noooooo

There. Now you're as fluent as we are.