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Say bula! A light-hearted pocket guide to the Fijian language

Geraghty, Paul (2011) Say bula! A light-hearted pocket guide to the Fijian language. Tiara Enterprises Limited, Nadi, Fiji.

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“Bula!”, the Fijian ‘hello’, is probably the best known Fijian word. Whatever their own language, people who come from Fiji like to say bula to each other when they meet in other parts of the world. It has even become the name of a kind of shirt and the casual, colourful style of dress for which Fiji is famous. Originally bula meant ‘to live’ or ‘to be alive’, and it is a way of wishing someone good health and a long life. But bula is not the only Fijian word for ‘hello’. In fact, throughout the western part of Fiji, including western Vitilevu, the Yasawa and Mamanuca islands, and Vatulele, the usual word for ‘hello’ is cola (pronounced thola). So if you are in western Fiji, try saying cola instead of bula, and the gesture will be appreciated. There is also a slightly more enthusiastic way of saying hello: bula vinaka, literally ‘good life’, and the western equivalent of this is cola vinā. Finally, there is another, more respectful, way of saying hello, which is by adding nī before the bula or bula vinaka. So Nī bula or Nī bula vinaka is what you might say if you were formally introduced to a chief, or a person of high status such as a mayor or member of parliament. In the morning, people are more likely to say yadra, which literally means ‘awake’. This corresponds to ‘good morning’ in English. Again, the respectful way of saying ‘good morning’ is nī yadra. You can reply to any of these greetings by repeating the same, or you can simply say io, literally meaning ‘yes’ – and always remember to smile!

Item Type: Other
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2011 02:52
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2012 02:53

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