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Useful phrases in Tuvaluan

A collection of useful phrases in Tuvaluan, a Polynesian language spoken mainly in Tuvalu, a nation consisting of nine small islands in the south-central Pacific. The orthography used is the one recommended by the Tuvalu Language Board.

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See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

Key to abbreviations: sg = singular, du = dual, pl = plural reference, * = not often used in Tuvaluan, - = no Tuvaluan equivalent.

English Te 'gana Tūvalu (Tuvaluan)
Welcome Ulufale mai!
Only used when speaker is indoors and addressee(s) entering
Hello (General greeting) Tālofa!
How are you? E ā koe? (sg)
E ā koulua? (du)
E ā koutou? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Au e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koe? (sg/sg)
Māua e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koe? (du/sg)
Mātou e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koe? (pl/sg)
Au e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koulua? (sg/du)
Māua e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koulua? (du/du)
Mātou e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koulua? (pl/du)
Au e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koutou? (sg/pl)
Māua e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koutou? (du/pl)
Mātou e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koutou? (pl/pl)
Long time no see * Kō leva loa seki toe fetaui.
What's your name? Ko oi tou igoa?
My name is ... Toku igoa ko ...
Where are you from? Ko oi tou fenua?
Koe se tino mai fea? (sg)
I'm from ... Toku fenua ko ...
Au se tino ...
Pleased to meet you * Au kō fiafia aka loa i a tāua kō fetaui. (du)
* Kō oko loa toku fiafia me ko toe fetaui tāua. (du)
* Au kō fiafia aka loa i a tātou kō fetaui. (pl)
* Kō oko loa toku fiafia me ko toe fetaui tātou. (pl)
As this is not a common phrase in Tuvaluan,
other dual and plural variants have been omitted
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
-
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
-
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
-
Good night Manuia te pō!
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Tōfā!
Good luck! Manuia!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Manuia!
Have a nice day Manuia te aso!
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Kai mālosi! (sg)
'Kai mālosi! (du/pl)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Manuia te malaga!
I don't know E sē iloa nē au
Do you understand? Koe e malamalama? (sg)
Koulua e malamalama? (du)
Koutou e malamalama? (pl)
I understand Au e malamalama.
I don't understand Au e sē malamalama.
Please speak more slowly Fakamolemole, tai faipati mālielie aka. (sg)
Please say that again Fakamolemole, toe fakafoki aka au pati.
Please write it down Fakamolemole, tusi aka ki lalo. (sg)
Do you speak English? Koe e faipati faka-'Pālagi? (sg)
Koulua e fai'pati faka-'Pālagi? (du)
Koutou e fai'pati faka-'Pālagi? (pl)
Do you speak Tuvaluan? Koe e logo i te 'gana 'Tūvalu? (sg)
Koulua e logo i te 'gana 'Tūvalu? (du)
Koutou e logo i te 'gana 'Tūvalu? (pl)
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Āō, mālie fua.
How do you say ... in Tuvaluan? E fai pēfea ... faka-'Tūvalu?
Excuse me Tulou!
How much is this? E fia te togi o te mea tēnei? (sg)
Sorry Fakamolemole, au kō 'sē!
Please Fakamolemole!
Thank you Fakafetai
Fāfetai (more colloquial)
Reply to thank you E 'lei.
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Tēfea te fale fōliki?
This gentleman will pay for everything A mea katoa e 'togi nē te tagata tēnei.
This lady will pay for everything A mea katoa e 'togi nē te fafine tēnei.
Would you like to dance with me? E 'lei kē 'saka tāua? (du)
E 'lei kē 'saka tātou? (pl)
I miss you Kō misi nē au koe.
I love you Au e fia fai ki a koe. (sg, more romantic)
Au e alofa ki a koe. (sg, more platonic)
Get well soon Fakamoemoega ko koe kē nā 'lei!
Go away! Fano keā'tea! (sg)
Olo keā'tea! (du/pl)
Leave me alone! Tuku aka au kē nofo tokotasi!
Help! Fesoasoani!
Fire! Te afi kō 'kā!
Stop! Tū! (sg)
Call the police! Kalaga ki pulisimani!
Christmas greetings Manuia te Kilisimasi mo te Tausaga Fou!
Easter greetings Manuia te Eseta (the whole feast)
Manuia te Toetū (Easter Sunday and Easter Monday)
Birthday greetings Manuia te aso fānau!
One language is never enough E sē tāitāi o lava i te 'gana e tasi.
E tasi te 'gana e sē tāitāi o lava.
My hovercraft is full of eels Taku hovercraft kō fonu i pusi.

Information provided by Emanuel Fuchs, Igo Teonea, Tausaga Motee and Kaimalie Ulufale.

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Tuvaluan | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Tower of Babel

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