Tahitian Language

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English is widely spoken and understood at most Bora Bora resorts, restaurants, and shops. However, learning a few common Tahitian words and phrases is appreciated by the locals, especially if you venture away from the tourist areas. Ready to learn the basics of how to speak Tahitian?

It can also be helpful to brush up on a few basic French phrases as French and Tahitian are the official languages of French Polynesia, and both are commonly used throughout the Society Islands. Tahitian is mainly spoken by islanders in their homes, while French is commonly used in schools and business.

The Tahitian language has a melodic intonation like a luring appeal and is very simple, with only 16 letters and 1,000 words. There are only five vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and eleven consonants (b, f, g, h, k, m, n, p, r, t, v), which makes learning the language very easy. An apostrophe indicates a short pause, and most vowels are pronounced.

Speak Basic Tahitian

ENGLISHTAHITIAN
Welcomemaeva, manava
Hellola orana
Yesoia
Noaita
Goodmaitai
Badino
Thank youmauruuru
Happyoa oa
Boatpahi
Beachtahatai
Toiletfare iti
Man, husbandtane
Woman, wifevahine
Childtamarii
Doctortaote
Flowertaire
Flower garland, leihei
Friendhoa
Tomorrowananahi
Yesterdayi nanahi
Eveningahiahi
Moneymoni
Sarongpareu
Rainua
Luggageotaa
Danceori
Songhimene
Shopfare toa

Tahitian Food Words

ENGLISHTAHITIAN
Foodma’a
Eatamu
Waterpape
Beerpia
Coffeetaofe
Wineuaina
Reduteute
Cheers!manuia
Bon Appetittama’a maitai
Lunchtama’a
Tahitian feasttamaaraa
Breadfaraoa
Drinkinu
Coconuthaari
Swordfishmeka
Pineapplepainapo
Earth ovenahimaa
FinishedOti

Tahitian Phrases

ENGLISHTAHITIAN
How are you?eaha te huru?
Where are you going?e haere oe ihea?
How much?e hia?
No problemaita e peapea
Goodbye (to a person leaving)haere
Goodbye (to a person staying)parahi
Take it easyhaere maru
Very goodmatai roa
Thank you very muchmauruuru roa
Happy New Year!‘Ia ora na i te matahiti ‘āpī
Merry Christmas!‘Ia ‘oa’oa i te Noera
Happy Easter‘Ia ‘oa’oa i te ‘ōro’a Pātate
Happy Mother’s Day‘Ia ‘oa’oa i tō ‘oe ‘ōro’a nō te mau māmā
Happy Father’s Day‘Ia ‘oa’oa i tō ‘oe ‘ōro’a nō te mau pāpā
Happy Anniversary‘Ia ‘oa’oa i to ‘oe mahana fānaura’a
Birthday‘Ōro’a mahana fānaura’a
Congratulations!Te ha’apoupou atu nei!

Speak Basic French

ENGLISHFRENCH
Hellobonjour
Hisalut
Good morningbonjour
Good eveningbonsoir
Yesoui
Nonon
Thank youmerci
Thank you very muchmerci beaucoup
Pleases’il vous plait
Where is…?ou se trouve
I want…je desire, je voudrais
I don’t understandje ne comprends pas
A storeune boutique
I’m sorrypardon
How are you?comment vas-tu?
Cheers!acclamations!
Good byeau revoir
Do you speak English?parlez vous anglais?
The beachla plage
A roomune chambre

Once you get to the island of Tahiti, you’ll be in better shape to communicate with the locals, and they’ll appreciate your effort in learning their language. Now before you go, do you know what to pack for a trip to Bora Bora?

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Work hard, play hard. Located in California, but I have been fortunate to be able to travel to Bora Bora five times in my life. I'm counting down until my next visit...

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