Tuvaluan Language



Talofa Tuvalu!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s chartered jet landed on this Polynesian island last year on the final leg of their tour to the Far East. Tuvalu ranks as the fourth smallest country in the world, following Vatican City, Monaco, and Nauru as the top 3 in the list, respectively. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu separated from Gilbert Islands in 1975, and gained independence from Great Britain in 1978. The capital city is Funafuti. 

Tuvalu was awarded ".tv" by the International Organization for Standardization in 1999. Since then, at least five internet companies visited Funafuti to tender for the right to lease of its ".tv" so it could be used by television and media organizations. Tuvalu obtained royalties with revenue of more than $2 million for leasing its ".tv" internet domain name in 2006.

Tuvaluan Language (Te 'gana Tūvalu)

English and Tuvaluan are the official languages in Tuvalu. Gilbertese, Samoan, and English have had significant contact with Tuvaluan. Gilbertese was important when its administration was located in the Gilbert Islands. Missionaries introduced Samoan, and have had most influence on the language. About 13,000 people speak Tuvaluan. Visit "Handbook on the Language of the Tuvalu Islands" by Donald Gilbert Kennedy for grammar explanation.

Sample Tuvaluan Phrases
  • Tālofa – Hello
  • Ulufale mai – Welcome
  • E ā koe? – How are you?
  • Au e 'lei, fakafetai, kae e ā koe? – Fine thanks, and you?
  • Ko oi tou igoa? – What is your name?
  • Toku igoa ko ... – My name is
  • Au kō fiafia aka loa i a tāua kō fetaui – Pleased to meet you
  • Tōfā – Goodbye




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Photo Credit:
Tuvalu Islands

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