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The language of the Fiji Islands. It is an Austronesian language. Although the Fiji Islands are in Polynesia, Fijian does not belong to the Polynesian branch of Austronesian; it is Melanesian. (However, on the Fijian island of Rotuma the Polynesian language Rotuman is spoken.)

A number of oddities of Fijian pronunciation, or more accurately spelling, need to be noted.

The sounds of the (English) consonants B D G do not occur in isolation: they only occur as part of the clusters MB ND and NG. These groups are spelt B D and Q in Fijian, because they are felt to be a single sound. So the politican Adi Kuini Bavadra, widow of the overthrown prime minister Timoci Bavadra, is pronounced "Andi Kuini Mbavandra", and the town of Nadi is "Nandi". The group DR, pronounced NDR, also counts as a single consonant.

Q is English "ng" as in "finger". The other sound "ng" as in "singer" is written G in Fijian. The island of Beqa is pronounced "Mbengga".

C represents the voiced English TH sound of "this".

The syllable TI is more like "chi". There is no F in Fijian, nor is there a J. The native name from which "Fiji" comes is more accurately Viti, as in the main island, Viti Levu.

Grammatically, one notable peculiarity is that in addition to singular and plural it has dual and even paucal (a number inflection for 'few'): this is typical of Melanesian languages.

Fi"ji*an (?), a.

Of or pertaining to the Fiji islands or their inhabitants.



A native of the Fiji islands.

[Written also Feejeean, Feejee.]


© Webster 1913.

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