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Tonga Travel Guide

Tongan Vocabulary

Although Tongans generally have a much better knowledge of English than do Samoans, a few words of Tongan will enrich your stay.

Listen for the many glottal stops (marked below by apostrophes), which sound something like co'n (for cotton) in American English.

In Tongan, "ng" is pronounced as in longing, not as in longer, making it Tong-a, rather than Tong-ga. The vowels sound as they do in Spanish or Italian.

Basic Tongan

  • afe to'ohema: turn left
  • afe to'omata'u: turn right
  • alu: go (singular)
  • 'alu a e: goodbye (to person going)
  • 'alu hangatonu: go straight
  • bimi: later
  • fakaleiti: transvestite
  • fakamolemole: please (polite form)
  • fale: house
  • fe'unga: that's enough
  • fefe hake?: how are you?
  • fefine: woman
  • fa'a se'e: surfing
  • fafine: woman
  • ha'u: come (singular)
  • hena: an there (by you)
  • heni: here (beside me)
  • 'i fe?: where?
  • ika: fish
  • 'ikai: no
  • 'ikai ha taha: none, nothing
  • io: yes
  • kataki: please (common form)
  • kaukau: bath
  • kaume'a: friend
  • koau: I
  • ko e ha?: what?
  • ko e me'a 'e fiha?: how many?
  • Ko fe 'a e fale malolo?: Where is the toilet?
  • kohai ia?: who is it?
  • ko koe: you
  • ko moutolu: you (plural)
  • kovi: bad
  • lahi: big, much
  • ma'ama'a: cheap
  • mahalo: maybe
  • makona: hi
  • malo: thank you
  • malo 'aupito: thank you very much
  • malo e lelei: hello
  • malohi: strong
  • malo pe: no thank you (at meals)
  • mamafa: expensive
  • mohe: sleep
  • mou nofo a e: goodbye (to several staying)
  • mou o a e: goodbye (to several going)
  • niu mata: drinking nut
  • niu motu'u: mature coconut
  • nofo a e: goodbye (to person staying)
  • o: go (plural)
  • 'ofa: love
  • 'oku fiha?: how much?
  • 'oku mau: we
  • 'oku nau: they
  • 'Oku ou fieinua.: I'm thirsty.
  • 'Oku ou fiekaia.: I'm hungry.
  • omai: come (plural)
  • palangi: foreigner
  • sai: good
  • sai pe: just fine
  • si'i: small
  • ta'ahine: girl
  • talitali fiefia: welcome
  • tamasi'i: boy
  • tangata: man
  • tulou: excuse me
  • tu'u: stop
  • NUMBERS:
  • 01:  taha
  • 02:  ua
  • 03:  tolu
  • 04:  fa
  • 05:  nima
  • 06:  ono
  • 07:  fitu
  • 08:  valu
  • 09:  hiva
  • 10:  hongofulu
  • 11:  tahataha
  • 20:  uanoa
  • 25:  uanima
  • 100:  teau
  • 1,000:  tahaafe:
  • 10,000:  tahamano