After spending Easter at a resort filled with mostly Aussies on holidays (more on that in another post) there are some handy words and phrases that you can use if/when visiting Fiji. Granted that everyone working in the tourism sector speaks English primarily while at work, we found that we pleasantly surprised some of the staff by speaking Fijian with them.
Some simple words to get you started include:
Bula (mboola) – this is used as hello but is also used as ‘bless you’ if someone sneezes, because bula also means life.
Vinaka (vi-na-ka) – thank you
Vinaka vakalevu – thank you very much
Moce (mo-they) – good bye (also means night)
These words are a great starting point and any attempt to speak Fijian is always greatly appreciated by the locals.
Interestingly enough it was when I responded with yes in Fijian that confused most people. It’s actually become a bit of a problem as I now say yes and no in Fijian out of habit rather than English.
Yes – Io (ee-o)
No – Sega (se-ng-a)
No thankyou – Sega vinaka
Agreeing with someone, or acknowledging you understand – Set
Ok – sadonu (sa-n-do-noo) (Set can also be used as ok)
Like we mentioned though, most people you will encounter as a tourist in Fiji (if you stick to the main towns and hotels) will speak good English. But they do love it when you show an interest in their language and culture.