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Main Parts of Speech

The main parts of speech in Fijian include 3 open lexical classes, 2 semi-open classes, and 10 closed classes, which are categorised into shifters and grammatical systems.

Open Classes

The open classes in Fijian include verbs and a subset of semi-auxiliary verbs, adjectives, and nouns. Furthermore, nouns have several subclasses: personal names, place names, and common nouns, which is further divided into free and bound nouns).

  • Verb <va> or <vo>
    • la’o<va><iv> ↔ la’o ("go")
    • dree<va><iv> ↔ dree ("pull")
    • siivi<va><iv> ↔ sivi ('exceed, lead')
    • tadra<va><iv> ↔ tadra ('dream')
    • ’ana<va><iv> ↔ ’ana ('eat')
    • lo’i<vo><iv> ↔ lo’i ("bend")
    • tawa<vo><iv> ↔ tawa ("inhabit")
    • will<vo><iv> ↔ will ("count")
    • Semi-auxiliaries <aux>
      • sega<aux> ↔ sega ("not")
      • rawa<aux> ↔ rawa ("can")
  • Adjective <adj>
    • lo’alo’a<adj> ↔ lo’alo’a ("purple")
    • levu<adj> ↔ levu ("big")
  • Noun
    • Common Noun <n>: (article used: a~na)
      • ose<n> ↔ ose ("horse")
      • nu’u<n> ↔ nu’u ("garment")
    • Personal Name <np>: (article used: "o"; prepositions used: "(mai)vei")
      • Jone<ant> ↔ Jone ("John")
      • Sepo<ant> ↔ Sepo ("Sepo")
    • Place Name <np>: (article used: "o"; prepositions used: "i/mai")
      • Viti<top> ↔ Viti ("Fiji")
      • Na’auvadra<top> ↔ Na’auvadra ("Na’auvadra mountain")
    • Time Words
      • Tiiseba<n> ↔ Tiiseba ("December")
      • mata’a<n> ↔ mata’a ("morning")
      • ya’avi<n> ↔ ya’avi ("afternoon, early evening")
      • kaloko<n> ↔ kaloko ("o'clock")
      • nanoa<n> ↔ nanoa ("yesterday")
      • saubogi<n> ↔ saubogi ("tomorrow")
      • sigava’arauwai<n> ↔ sigava’arauwai ("Saturday")
      • yaba’i<n> ↔ yaba’i ("year")

Semi-open Classes

The semi-open classes include numbers and time words, which contains several subclasses: unit of time, names of months, shifters, parts of the day, and clock time expression.

  • Number <num>
    • dua<num> ↔ dua ("one")
    • ruasagavulu<num> ↔ ruasagavulu ("twenty")

I'm not convinced that this is a separate part of speech. Some look like nouns ("year", "morning"), some look like adverbs ("tomorrow", "yesterday"). You have to think about how these words pattern. For example, for each one, can it be quantified or come after prepositions? If so, it might be a noun.

Closed Classes

The closed classes in Fijian are divided into two main subclasses--shifters and grammatical systems. The closed classes of shifters include pronouns and demonstratives; the closed classes of grammatical systems of words include articles, prepositions, tense-aspect markers, discourse markers, modifiers, classifiers, relators, and interjections.

you don't need - before each form. It makes it look like everything's a suffix.

Closed Classes of Shifters

use <pers> for personal pronouns

  • Pronoun <prn>
    • au<prn><pers><sg><p1><subj> ↔ au ("I")
    • i’o<prn><pers><sg><p2><obj> ↔ i’o ("you")
  • Demanstrative <dem>
    • yai<dem> ↔ yai ("this/here")
    • yaa<dem> ↔ taa ("that/there (mid-distant; near addressee)")

Closed Grammatical Systems

  • Article <art> (There's no corresponding tag on the list; so, a new tag "art" is assigned to it.)
    • a<art> ↔ a (Common article)
    • o<art> ↔ o (Proper article)
  • Preposition <pr>
    • i<pr> ↔ i ("to/at")
    • ’ei<pr> ↔ ’ei ("together with")
  • Tense-aspect Marker
    • Tense markers:
      • aa<past> ↔ aa ("past")
      • na<fti> ↔ na ("future")
    • Aspect markers <asp> (There's no corresponding tag for aspect markers; "asp" is assigned to it):
      • saa<asp> ↔ saa (contrasting this moment with a previous one)
      • sa<asp> ↔ sa (contrasting this moment with a later one)
  • Discourse Marker <disc> (There's no corresponding tag on the list; "disc" is assigned to discourse markers.)
    • qei<disc> ↔ qei ("and then")
    • mani<disc> ↔ mani ("so/consequently")
  • Modifier <modf> (There's no corresponding tag on the list; so "modf" is assigned to modifiers.)
    • rui<modf> ↔ rui ("more than a usual amount")
    • be’a<modf> ↔ be’a ("about/perhaps")
  • Classifier <cl> (There's no corresponding tag on the list, so "cl" is assigned to classifiers.)
    -Classifiers in Fijian are a series of prefixes attached to nouns, adjectives, and verbs. The section below on classifiers will show how they work in more details.
  • Relator <rel> (There's no corresponding
    • me<rel> ↔ me
    • ni<rel> ↔ ni
  • Interjection <ij>
    • io<ij> ↔ io ("yes")
    • ae<ij> ↔ ae ("hey")

Morphological Changes

Non-singular Pronouns

Non-singular pronouns include first-person (inclusive and exclusive) dual, paucal, and plural, second-person dual, paucal, and plural, and third-person dual, paucal, and plural. These pronouns combine with different prefixes in order to stay in subjects, objects, cardinals, and three possessive pronouns. Besides, all of these roots can function as possessive suffixes.

-Note: tags not on the list: "inc" = inclusive; "exc" = exclusive; "card" = cardinal; "pau" = paucal

don't forget to add <pers> (subcategory)!

First-person inclusive

Dual: root = taru

  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><subj1> ↔ etaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><subj2> ↔ taru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><obj> ↔ ’eetaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><card> ↔ ’eetaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><cl1_pos1> ↔ weetaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><cl1_pos2> ↔ ootaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eetaru
  • taru<prn><pers><du><p1><inc><cl3_pos> ↔ meetaru

Paucal: root = (ta)tou

  • tou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><subj> ↔ tou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><obj> ↔ ’etatou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><card> ↔ ’etatou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><cl1_pos1> ↔ wetatou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><cl1_pos2> ↔ otatou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’etatou
  • tatou<prn><pers><pau><p1><inc><cl3_pos> ↔ metatou

Plural: root = ta

  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><subj1> ↔ eta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><subj2> ↔ ta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><obj> ↔ ’eta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><card> ↔ ’eta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><cl1_pos1> ↔ weta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><cl1_pos2> ↔ ota
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eta
  • ta<prn><pers><pl><p1><inc><cl3_pos> ↔ meta

First-person Exclusive

Dual: root = irau

  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><subj> ↔ ’eirau
  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><obj> ↔ ’eirau
  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><card> ↔ ’eirau
  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><cl1_pos> ↔ weirau
  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eirau
  • irau<prn><pers><du><p1><exc><cl3_pos> ↔ meirau

Paucal: root = itou

  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><subj> ↔ ’eitou
  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><obj> ↔ ’eitou
  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><card> ↔ ’eitou
  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><cl1_pos> ↔ weitou
  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eitou
  • itou<prn><pers><pau><p1><exc><cl3_pos> ↔ meitou

Plural: root = imami

  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><subj> ↔ ’eimami
  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><obj> ↔ ’eimami
  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><card> ↔ ’eimami
  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><cl1_pos> ↔ weimami
  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eimami
  • imami<prn><pers><pl><p1><exc><cl3_pos> ↔ meimami


Dual: root = mudrau

  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><subj1> ↔ omudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><subj2> ↔ mudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><obj> ↔ ’emudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><card> ↔ ’emudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><cl1_pos> ↔ omudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><cl2_pos> ↔ ’emudrau
  • mudrau<prn><pers><du><p2><cl3_pos> ↔ memudrau

Paucal: root = mudou

  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><subj1> ↔ omudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><subj2> ↔ mudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><obj> ↔ ’emudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><card> ↔ ’emudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><cl1_pos> ↔ omudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><cl2_pos> ↔ ’emudou
  • mudou<prn><pers><pau><p2><cl3_pos> ↔ memudou

Plural: root = munuu

  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><subj1> ↔ omunuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><subj2> ↔ munuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><obj> ↔ ’emunuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><card> ↔ ’emunuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><cl1_pos> ↔ omunuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><cl2_pos> ↔ ’emunuu
  • munuu<prn><pers><pl><p2><cl3_pos> ↔ memunuu


For third person pronouns, there are two sets of roots: the ones on the left are used for pronouns in subjects, objects, and cardinals, and the ones on the right are used for pronouns in possessives. Dual: root =rau/drau

  • rau<prn><pers><du><p3><subj1> ↔ erau
  • rau<prn><pers><du><p3><subj2> ↔ rau
  • rau<prn><pers><du><p3><obj> ↔ rau
  • rau<prn><pers><du><p3><card1> ↔ irau
  • rau<prn><pers><du><p3><card2> ↔ rau
  • drau<prn><pers><du><p3><cl1_pos> ↔ oodrau
  • drau<prn><pers><du><p3><cl2_pos> ↔ ’eedrau
  • drau<prn><pers><du><p3><cl3_pos> ↔ meedrau

Paucal: root = ratou/dratou

  • ratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><subj1> ↔ eratou
  • ratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><subj2> ↔ ratou
  • ratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><obj> ↔ iratou
  • ratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><card1> ↔ iratou
  • ratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><card2> ↔ ratou
  • dratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><cl1_pos> ↔ odratou
  • dratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><cl2_pos> ↔ ’edratou
  • dratou<prn><pers><pau><p3><cl3_pos> ↔ medratou

Plural: root = ra/dra

  • ra<prn><pers><pl><p3><subj1> ↔ era
  • ra<prn><pers><pl><p3><subj2> ↔ ra
  • ra<prn><pers><pl><p3><obj> ↔ ira
  • ra<prn><pers><pl><p3><card1> ↔ ira
  • ra<prn><pers><pl><p3><card2> ↔ ra
  • dra<prn><pers><pl><p3><cl1_pos> ↔ odra
  • dra<prn><pers><pl><p3><cl2_pos> ↔ ’edra
  • dra<prn><pers><pl><p3><cl3_pos> ↔ medra

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Most verbs in Fijian have both an intransitive form and a transitive form. An intransitive verb becomes transitive by taking a suffix -Ca, -Ci, -Ca’ina, or -Ca’ini, where C is a consonant. The choice of C depends on the root, and the choice of the ending vowel depends on the object taken by the verb: the form ending in -i precedes a pronoun or name, while the form ending in -a precedes 3sg object. Possible choices of C include:

-Monosyllabic: -ta, -va, -ca, -ma, -na, -ra, -ga, -’a, -ya, -a
-Trisyllabic: -ta’ina, -va’ina, -ca’ina, -ma’ina, -na’ina, -ra’ina, -la’ina.

Some examples are shown below:

  • la’o<va><tv> ↔ la’ova ("go"-> "go for something")
  • la’o<va><tv+prn> ↔ la’ovi
  • dree<va><tv> ↔ dreta ("pull"-> "pull something")
  • dree<va><tv+prn> ↔ dreti
  • siivi<va><tv> ↔ siivita
  • siivi<va><tv+prn> ↔ siiviti
  • tadra<va><tv> ↔ tadraa("dream" -> "dream of something")
  • tadra<va><tv+prn> ↔ tadrai
  • tawa<vo><tv> ↔ tawana
  • tawa<vo><tv+prn> ↔ tawani
  • lo’i<vo><tv> ↔ lo’ia
  • lo’i<vo><tv+prn> ↔ lo’ii
  • will<vo><tv> ↔ will’a
  • will<vo><tv+prn> ↔ will’i
  • ’ana<va><tv> ↔ ’ania


Classifiers in Fijian are a series of prefixes attached to possessive pronouns, and the classifiers with possessive pronouns can modify nouns, adjectives, and verbs. (For examples of classifier prefixes with non-singular possessive pronouns, refer to the previous section on pronouns. Only examples of classifier prefixes with singular possessive pronouns are provided below.)

I would take one of these strategies with these things: o<cl>+dra<prn><pers><pl><p3> ↔ odra or dra<prn><pers><pl><p3><cls_subj> ↔ odra. <sufx> or <cl> are categories, not functions.

With nouns

Three sets of classifiers are used with nouns:

-we-/o- for nouns that are not consumed and owned by the "possessor";
-’e- for nouns that are not consumed but relating to the "possessor" and nouns that can be consumed and eaten/chewed/smoked;
-me- for nouns that can be consumed and drunk/sucked/licked.

When the possessor is a proper noun, the classifier prefix attaches to a possessive suffix -i and precedes the possessor but follows the possessed noun. When the possessor is in a pronoun form, the classifier prefix attaches to the possessive pronoun suffix and precedes the possessed noun.

  • qou<prn><pers><sg><p1><cl1_pos> ↔ qou
  • qau<prn><pers><sg><p1><cl2_pos> ↔ qau
  • meqau<prn><pers><sg><p1><cl3_pos> ↔ meqau
  • omu<prn><pers><sg><p2><cl1_pos> ↔ omu
  • ’emu<prn><pers><sg><p2><cl2_pos> ↔ ’emu
  • memu<prn><pers><sg><p2><cl3_pos> ↔ memu
  • ona<prn><pers><sg><p3><cl1_pos> ↔ ona
  • ’ena<prn><pers><sg><p3><cl2_pos> ↔ ’ena
  • mena<prn><pers><sg><p3><cl3_pos> ↔ mena

With Adjectives

Adjectives in Fijian can function as NP head. In this case, there is generally a "possessor" shown. Two sets of classifiers can be used:

-we-/o- when the "possessor" has some control over the quality;
-’e- for an inherent quality.

With Verbs

For verbs in clausal NPs (similar to geruntive in English), the classifier we-/o- is used. The surface subject in a clausal NP can be regarded as the "possessor".

Adjective Reduplication

There are two types of adjective reduplication: full reduplication and partial reduplication.

Full reduplication

Full reduplication is only found in some colour terms, as seen in examples below.

  • loa<adj><anm> ↔ loaloa ("black")
  • vula<adj><anm> ↔ vulavula ("white")
  • dro’a<adj><anm> ↔ dro’adro’a ("green")

Both the regular and reduplicated forms have the same meaning, but the regular form is used to modify a noun referring to an animal, earth, and stone/rock, while the reduplicated form modifies other nouns. For example, a pusi vula "while cat" and a nu’u vulavula "white sand".

this isn't how to do this with tags. It should be something more like loa<adj> ↔ loa, loa<adj><anm> ↔ loaloa or something.

Partial Reduplication

Some common adjectives have a partially reduplicated form to modify a plural noun. This only occurs to NP modifiers but not in predicate position. For example, a ose levu "big horse" and a ose le-levu "big horses".

  • levu<adj><pl> ↔ lelevu ("big")
  • vou<adj><pl> ↔ vovou ("new")
  • vina’a<adj><pl> ↔ vivina’a ("good")
  • balavu<adj><pl> ↔ babalavu ("long")

this isn't how to do this with tags. It should probably be levu<adj> ↔ levu, levu<adj><pl> ↔ lelevu.

Verb Reduplication

Verb reduplication is used differently on O verbs (subjects S of O verbs' intransitive forms correspond to objects O of the verbs's transitive forms) and A verbs (subjects S of O verbs' intransitive forms correspond to subjects A of the verbs's transitive forms). With O verbs, reduplication is the only way to derive an intransitive form with the underlying A NP in S function (for example: e cula aisuluyai. "this garment is being sewn." v.s. e culacula o Maria. "Maria is sewing away."

-Note: <O>=O verbs, <A>=A verbs
  • cula<vo><va> ↔ culacula

On A verbs, reduplication only has semantic effects, such as adding the semantic sense of "multiplicity".

  • rabe<iv><mult> ↔ raberabe ("kick"->"do a lot of kicking")

this isn't how to do this with tags. It should be something more like rabe<v><tv><mult> ↔ raberabe or something.

Prefixe va’a-

Va’a is the most versatile prefix in Fijian. It can occur with nouns, adjectives, numbers, and verbs. A few interesting morphological changes are listed below.

With Nouns

Va’a can prefix many nouns to form intransitive verbs, with a meaning lie "use"/"make"/"have". For example,

  • ilo’olo’o<n><v> ↔ va’ailo’olo’o ("pillow" -> "use a pillow")
  • teevoro<n><v> ↔ va’ateevoro ("spirit (traditional Fijian god)" -> "worship traditional gods")

The prefix can also derive adverbs with some nouns, as seen below:

  • ’oro<n><adv> ↔ va’a’oro ("village" -> "relating to the village")

With Adjective

Va’a can form adverbs with a limited set of adjectives and drive verbs with a larger set of adjectives. For example,

  • balavu<adj> ↔ belavu )"long")
  • va’abalavu<adv> ↔ va’abalavu ("lengthily")
  • va’abalavu<v> ↔ va’abalavu ("be long")
  • tautauvata<adj> ↔ tautauvata ("the same, level")
  • va’atautauvata<v> ↔ va’atautauvata ("be level with (e.g. in a race)")

this is probably derivational

With Numbers

Prexing to numbers, va’a- can form adverb "X times", and with the transitive suffix -ta’ina, derive a transitive verb. For example,

  • rua<num> ↔ rua ("two")
  • va’aruata’ina<v><tr> ↔ va’aruata’ina ("double")

this is derivational

With Verbs

Va’a can be a causative marker on verbs and create causative constructions.

  • ’oto<v><tr><caus> ↔ va’a’otora ("lie" -> "put sb. lie down")
  • ’au<v><tr><caus> ↔ va’a’auta ("take (e.g. letter)" -> "make sb. take (e.g. letter)")

subcategory tags come before function (here, voice) tags

In fact, va’a is not a causative marker for all verbs. For some verbs, this prefix only adds the semantics of "do intensively, with special effort". Since these are not functional morphologies, examples won't be included here.

Numbers and Ordinal Number Systems

The simple decimal system in Fijian is:

-dua "one", rua "two", tolu "three", vaa "four", lima "five", ono "six", vitu "seven", walu "eight", ciwa "nine", tini "ten".

Prefixing i’a- to any number results in an ordinal number, as shown in the examples below. An ordinal number, like that in English, is usually preceded by an article, but the article won't be included in our morphological analysis here. ("ord" = ordinal number)

  • rua<num> ↔ rua ("two")
  • i’arua<ord> ↔ i’arua ("second")
  • ruasagavulu<num> ↔ ruasagavulu
  • i’aruasagavulu<ord> ↔ i’aruasagavulu


Dixon, R.M.W. 1988. A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian. University of Chicago Press.