One of the very first things that visitors have to consider before traveling to any country is the languages that are spoken in that country. When the first inhabitants arrived in Fiji thousands of years ago, they brought with them a language that has splintered over the years to form a multitude of different community dialects that total to more than 300. This is because the language evolved as more people migrated to the various islands. Additional input from recent immigrants from the other islands situated in the west has also helped to shape Fiji language today.
What language is spoken in Fiji?
There are many languages spoken by the multicultural people that live in Fiji. The majority of the Fijians speak Fijian, while the Indians mainly communicate in Hindi and Urdu, Rotumans speak Rotuman and nearly all islands have their own dialect of the Fijian language. But overall people mainly communicate with each other in English, which is the main medium of instruction in schools and the official business language.
The official language of Fiji
Fiji has three main languages that are spoken officially, English, Hindustani and Fijian.
Fijian is categorized as Austronesian, which means that it is a mix of thousands of other languages that are spoken in other parts of the globe. Mainly, the Fijian language is mainly influenced by the Melanesian and Polynesian cultures, however, it sounds similar to what you would hear people from Hawaii speaking.
The type of Fijian that is spoken prevalently today is called Bauan, which was named after the tiny island of Bau, which is where the dialect originated. More than half of the population speaks Fijian, however, Hindi and English are also spoken. Please note that the Hindi that is spoken in Fiji is very different from the one that is spoken by people in India.
When traveling to Fiji, you can communicate easily through English because English is considered as the national language of the islands. English can be heard on the radio, TV and can be read in the newspapers; therefore, you should feel safe and free to communicate if you can speak English.
Speaking and understanding the Fiji language
The Fiji language can be a little difficult to understand but nothing is impossible with a little bit of practice. A little knowledge of the local language might help you to navigate the expansive islands, if for no other reason other than learning how to pronounce some of the complicated locations. Some common Fijian words to know are:
Some common Fijian words to know are:
Bula – hello, cheers, good day, or welcome.
Vinaka – thank you.
Kava – ask for this national drink, if you are old enough.
Meke – traditional dance in Fiji, usually those dances tell a story
Viti -this means Fiji in the Fijian language