top of page
  • Mauatua Fa’ara-Reynold

Pacific Nations and Languages 

Welcome back to Salient’s Pacific language learning! This week is Rotuman Language Week, or Gasav Ne Fäeag Rotuạm Ta. This year's theme is “Vetạkia ‘os Fäea ma Ag fak hanua”, which means “Sustaining our Language and Culture”. 


Rotuma’s settlement history is rather complex, but linguistic evidence suggests that it was first inhabited by Tahitians from Bora Bora, and was later invaded by Sāmoans and Tongans, while also maintaining connections with ‘Uvea mo Futuna, Tuvalu, and the Marquesas. For hundreds of years, their social organisation consisted of clans with Chiefs (Gagaj ne hanua) who controlled their respective territories. It is also important to recognise that they were a thriving community, establishing successful trade relationships between other islands. It wasn’t until 1881 that Rotuma was annexed by Britain as a British protectorate, and soon after became administratively linked with Fiji.

Rotuma is split into seven districts (each with multiple villages). First, the medial and northern districts: Noa’tau, Oinafa, Malhaha, and Itu’mata. Then, the capital district: Itu’ti’u and ‘Ahạu (the capital). And finally, Faguta.

Today, Rotuma has a population of around 2000 people on-island and nearly 10,000 in Fiji. Its official languages are English, Fijian, Fiji Hindi, and Rotuman (Fäeag Rotuạm). 

Pronunciation guide

  • A = ‘a’ sound in car

  • [A] = ‘a’ sound in paw

  • [A] = long ‘a’ sound

  • Ä = short ‘a’ sound

  • E = ‘e’ sound in egg

  • I = ‘ee’ sound in sweet

  • O = ‘o’ sound in shore

  • Ö = ‘u’ sound in fur (American English)

  • U = ‘oo’ sound in look

  • Ü = ‘u’ sound in german

  • G = ‘ng’ sound in sing

  • R = slightly rolled

  • J = ‘ch’ sound in church

Email greetings/ sign offs / phrases

  • Noa’oa = Hello

  • Fạiåkse’ea = Thank you 

  • Figalelei = Please

  • Se fek gou kat hö'åk mijif ra se 'äe = Apologies for the delayed response

  • Fak ma se' pukut ne få mumuaf = As per my previous email

  • Gou 'oaf la hạifäegag = Happy to discuss

General phrases

  • Ka sei ta ‘ou asa? = What is your name?

  • ‘Otou asa le … = My name is …

  • Ka 'äe le' ne tei? = Where are you from?

  • Gou le’ ne … = I am a person from … 

  • Ka 'äe garue 'e tei? = Where do you work?

  • Gou garau ‘e … = I work at …

  • Ka 'äe tapen? = How are you (singular)?

  • Ka 'ạuạr tapen? = How are you (dual)?

  • Ka 'ạus tapen? = How are you (plural)?

  • Gou lelei fạiåkse'ea = I am fine, thank you

  • ‘Ua’ua’ạki! = Congratulations?

  • ‘Ạitu iạ lelei! = God is good!


bottom of page