Monday, July 5, 2010

Fiji Language 101

So I thought I'd give a short lesson in Fijian so people can understand what I've been going through trying to learn the native language.Fiji's national language is English and all children are taught it in school.However FIji does have it's own native language.Within this native language though there are a multitude of dialects. Apparently dialects can change from one village to another. Some are simple as removing a letter completely from words to as difficult as changing meanings and uses of words.I am learning the Boan dialect which is kind of the universal dialect that any Fijian would understand, but not necessarily speak.In the Fijian alphabet the letters h , z and x are nonexistent.The letter b makes the mb sound,the letter d has the nd sound, the letter j has the ch sound, the letter q has the ng sound as in Inglewood and the letter g makes the ng sound as in sing.In Fijian many of the words are made from pairing a consonant and a vowel and the word usually ends in a vowel making it hard to understand where a word ends and where one starts when hearing it with an untrained ear.For example here is a simple Fijian sentence : Au kakana vinaka bula vinaka vakalevu. You see there are so many vowels, sometimes I feelt here just are too many.Also, a word can talk on different meanings just by how you pronounce it for example the word dredre can take on the meaning of difficult or laughter if you stress the first or last vowel-I forget which one.I also want to point out that to translate something into Fijian from English would be sucha hassle, things that take a few words in English would literally take a paragraph in Fijian.I don't have any examples of that yet since I am not that far along with my Fijian but I will add to this post later to show you how true it is.

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