While almost everyone in Fiji, one of the major island groups in the South Pacific, speaks English, which is the country's official language, knowing a few key phrases in Fijian is not only polite but will endear you to the already warm and welcoming Fijian people. One word you will hear constantly is the infectious "Bula!" which means "hello" or "welcome."
The Fijian language does have a few idiosyncrasies in terms of pronunciation, however, so keep in mind that:
The letter "a" is pronounced "ah" as in father.
Any word with a "d" has an unwritten "n" in front of it, so the city Nadi is pronounced "Nah-ndi."
The letter "b" is pronounced as "mb" like in bamboo, especially when it is in the middle of a word. But even with the frequently heard "Bula!" welcome, there is a slight, almost silent, humming "m."
Similarly, in certain words with a "g," there is an unwritten "n" in front of it, so sega ("no") is pronounced "senga,"
The letter "c" is pronounced "th," so "moce," meaning goodbye, is pronounced "moe-they."
Here are the key words and phrases to know:
Hello Ni sa bula (nee sahm boola) or bula (mboola) for short
Goodbye Ni sa moce (nee sa mo-they)
Good morning Ni sa yadra (nee sa yandra)
Yes Io (ee-o)
No Sega (senga)
Please Yalo vinaka (yalo vee-nahka)
Excuse me Tolou (too low)
Thank you Vinaka (vee-nahka)
House Vale/bure (valey/mburey)
Toilet Vale lailai (valey lie lie)
Village Koro (ko ro)
Church Vale ni lotu (vah-ley need lohtoo)
Shop Sitoa (seetoah)
Eat Kana (karna)
Drink Gunu (goo noo)
Coconut Niu (new)
Quickly Vaka totolo (vaka toe-toe-lo)
Slowly Vaka malua (vaka mar lua)
A little/small Vaka lailai (vaka lie lie)
A lot/great Vaka levee (vaka levee)
One Dua (ndu a)
Two Rua (ru a)