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Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-07-09, 6:33
by melski
Hello !
I just got interested in Wallisian, the language spoken in the Wallis Island (around 30 000 native speakers according to Wikipedia). Unfortunately there are very few resources (Wallis being a french overseas territory, all the resources are in French)

I found a dictionnary ( and some grammar related explanations (, but not that much.
Has anyone any resource for that language ?

thanks a lot - malo si'i 'ofa ! :wink:

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-07-09, 7:48
by N J
If you are interested I have two conversations in Wallisian with English gloss and translation. I could probably scan them to my computer and send it to you or something.

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-07-09, 12:56
by melski
that would be awesome if you could do that ! thanks :)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-07-11, 3:33
by melski
After some research, I found a fairly decent amount of resources for Wallisian (mainly in French) including audio ! :D

- a thematic dictionary with some phrases : ... ky-a-fraze ... st%20Uvean : tales and stories (with audio from native speakers !!!) with French translation :woohoo:
(seems way too hard for me, but still a very good find !)
- Some phrases with grammar explanations (so far the best resource I have found to understand how the language works) : ... urie11.pdf
-Some phrases with French translation :
- Wallisian songs with French translation : ... 29_38_2413
- A song with the lyrics (unfortunately, no translation but I'm trying to understands what the lyrics say) : ... ure=relmfu
There seems to be quite a few songs in Wallisian on Youtube, unfortunately few provide the lyrics.
- ah, there is also a wikipedia page written in Wallisian... on Jesus Christ ! :) :preach: ... u_Kilisito
- some other stuff : ... llisienne/

And I'm happy to have some wallisian friends on FB who can provide some native input :D (but often heavily mixed with French or English)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-07-13, 4:51
by melski
Spent some time translating Wallisian into French, now I start to see how the language works. :D
I also found a few more resources, including "Brother John" (frère Jacques) in wallisian with audio !!!
At first glance, Wallisian seems pretty easy : :partyhat:
-basically, there is only past and non-past
The grammar seems to be quite different from European languages, since it tends to emphasize change rather than precise tense.
nevertheless, it's quite simple :
- you use 'E to indicate present tense or future
- kua or ne'e for past (the distinction seems to be quite complex !)

there is no equivalent to the verbs "to be" : you use 'e and the pronoun
ex : "I am" : 'e 'au

- many nouns are also verbs;
- there are no declensions; there are cases, but expressed with a particle
- there is only one article : te (pretty much like English in fact !)
- plural is expressed with 'u (so te is singular and te'u is the plural article)

But it can be quite tricky too :
For instance, there are dozens of personal pronouns (for instance, "us" can be expressed
"us (you and me)" : tāua
"us (me and him)" : māua
"us (all of us, inclusive)" : tātou
"us (but not you, exclusive)" : mātou

there are also many distinctions if you want to say brother or sister : you always have to refer to gender and/or to the family relation (mother/father), etc
Indeed, social and familial relationships are fare more developed in the language compared to European ones.
Since Wallis is a French colony, a lot of words have been borrowed from French, like "vitesi" (speed), vikitima, telefoni, televisio.... Even family translates to "famili" (although the word "kaiga" also exists). Sometimes, a western meaning is added to an existing Wallisian word (as "tamaliki" which both means "child" and "pupil", or koloa which means goods, store, richness but also cargo)

And for the end, a very useful wallisian expression : "ofa atu", which could be translated as "love you". I've seen it used a lot on Facebook messages (and if I'm not mistaken this is also used in other Polynesian languages such as Tongan or Samoan)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-08-05, 8:32
by kahihi'o
Thank you for posting what you've learned. Like Walisian, many texts on Tahitian are Marquesan and written in French. I'm tempted to learn French as a means of learning such languages. Have you found any beginner's books on learning Walisian?

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-08-07, 10:40
by melski
kahihi'o wrote:Thank you for posting what you've learned. Like Walisian, many texts on Tahitian are Marquesan and written in French. I'm tempted to learn French as a means of learning such languages. Have you found any beginner's books on learning Walisian?

Unfortunately, I don't think such a book would exist. There are only scarce resources on the internet and a few grammar books (but most of them are only available in Wallis or New Caledonia).

But I have great news :woohoo:
I'm back in Nantes, France, where some wallisian friends live ! Yesterday, I visited one of them and we spent the whole afternoon studying wallisian, listening to wallisian songs (and I came back home with a CD full of wallisian songs :):) )
What started a bit as a joke is becoming more serious, as I have now some people to chat with !
Wallisian is very interesting but can also be quite tricky. However, the pronunciation is very similar to French hence very easy !
I hope I can soon make a youtube video with my beginner wallisian :D

And now some wallisian (I also translated it into French as some may be interested too)

Wallisian conversation / Conversation en wallisien

Malo te ma'uli = [flag]en[/flag] good morning (litt. thank you life ! ) [in the morning up to 9/10 o' clock]
- [flag=]fr[/flag] bonjour (litt. "merci la vie" !) [jusqu'à 9/10h du matin]

Malo si'i kataki = [flag]en[/flag] good morning/good afternoon (litt. thank you work !) [after 9/10 o'clock, when work started]
[flag]fr[/flag]bonjour ! (litt. "merci le travail") (après 9/10h, quand le travail a commencé)

Malo = hello ! Salut ! (most used / le plus utilisé)

E ke lelei pe ? = How are you ? / comment ça va ?
E au lelei = I'm fine / je vais bien

E au melski : I am Melski / Je suis Melski
E au higoa ko Melski : my name is Melski / je m'appelle Melski (actually, my real name "translated" into wallisian is "Helemele" :) ) (mon vrai nom en wallisien c'est Helemele ! :))
E au falani : I am French / Je suis français
E au ako faka'uvea : I am learning Wallisian / j'apprends le wallisien
E matou palalau faka'uvea : we are speaking Wallisian / nous parlons wallisien
(NB : matou is the exclusive form for us, so it means "you and I" / matou est la forme exclusive du nous, donc c'est "toi et moi" [et personne d'autre])

Kua hola fia ? = what time is it ? quelle heure est-il ?

E ke fia kai ? = are you hungry ? Est-ce que tu as faim ?
Ei, au fia kai = yes, I'm hungry Oui, j'ai faim / Oho, mole au fia kai = no, I'm not hungry. Non, je n'ai pas faim.
E ke fia inu ? = are you thirsty ? Est-ce que tu as soif ?

[flag=]en[/flag]fia expresses the wish (in this example), kai means hunger and inu means thirst. Ke means you , E expresses the present tense.
[flag=]fr[/flag]Fia exprime le souhait, l'envie (dans cet exemple). Kai = faim, inu = soif. Ke = tu,toi (2ème pers singulier et pluriel) et E est la marque du présent.


See you very soon for more Wallisian ! à très bientôt pour encore plus de Wallisien !
Ofa atu ! (bye ! salut !)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-08-13, 11:02
by melski
Time for more Wallisian !

[flag=]en[/flag] How to say goodbye : Ofa atu (which also means "I love you" in other contexts) or io nofola (goodbye !)

I also learned another expression : E faifaiga'i pe, which is hard to translate into English but basically faifaiga'i means "so-so". You say this to answer the question "how are you "(E ke lelei pe), meaning you're doing neither well nor badly.

Faiga'i = to try, to work hard to achieve a result. Doubling "fai" expresses the repetition

[flag=]fr[/flag] Comment dire aurevoir : Ofa atu (qui dans un autre contexte signifie "je t'aime") ou "io nofola" (au revoir !)
J'ai aussi appris une autre expression : E faifaiga'i pe, qui pourrait se traduire par "ça va comme-ci comme-ça" / "couci-couça"(en gros !). On répond cela à la question "comment ça va ?" (E ke lelei pe ?)

Faiga'i = essayer, travailler dur pour parvenir à un résultat. En doublant le "fai", on exprime la répétition, la durée.

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-27, 13:03
by melski
Well, it's been more than a month that I did not post anything in Wallisian... but I've got so much to say ! I met two people from Wallis and they taught me a lot of Wallisian !!!!
I am really starting to take this language seriously, and I have found plenty more ressources - especially articles written by scholars on Wallis Island and faka'uvea. I have for instance found many tales and legends, as well as some music. I was aslo able to get a dictionnary made by K. Rensch, a linguist who studied faka'uvea, which is far more complete than the previous dictionnay I had.

I can now say some phrases and start a (little) conversation and introduce myself :)
And thanks to Zeme we now have a flag for Wallisian :) [flag=]wls[/flag]
I will try to summarize here what I have learned here (I hope it won't be too messy)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-27, 14:22
by melski
[flag=]wls[/flag] Malo ! E au higoa ko Helemele (melski), e au papalagi, e au falani, pea e au ako te faka'uvea mo oku kaume'a uvea. E ke lelei pe ?
[flag=]en[/flag] Hi ! My name is melski (Helemele is my real name in wallisian), I'm French, I am a "papalagi" and I am learning Wallisian with my friends from Wallis. How are you ?

Some explanations :
uvea is the vernacular name of Wallis, hence faka'uvea : Wallisian.
Papalagi is a very interesting word ! It refers to the Europeans, white people :
papa : plank
lagi : sky
When the first ships arrived in Wallis, their sails were seen as clouds from the skies. Therefore the boats (and the sailors) were called "papalagi", or "planks from the sky" :wink:
(it seems to come from other polynesian languages, see for more info)

Another typical wallisian word is "fenua", which means land, country (but it carries so many nuances in its meaning that many wallisian use it even when they speak French!)

now some grammar/conjugation

Conjugation is pretty straightforward :
to eat - kai (present tense) (regular)
E au kai..............I eat
E ke kai (sing) eat
E kai .................he/she eats
E matou kakai ......we (you and I) eat
E kotou kakai (plur, all of you) eat
E natou kakai .......they eat

to go - 'alu (present tense) (NB it is irregular)
E au 'alu........... .I go
E ke 'alu (singular) go
E 'alu ...............he/she goes (no gender distinction)
E matou olo ........we (you and I) go
E kotou olo......... you (plur, all of you) go
E natou olo..........they go

>>> when using plural, you have to double the first consonant (or use the proper form if it exists).
It's quite simple, isn't it ? But wait ! past is even more simple : you just have to replace E by ne'e
(NB there are two form of past, I'm just focusing on ne'e right now)

[flag=]wls[/flag] Ne'e au kai, ne'e ke kai, ne'e kai, ne'e matou kakai, etc
Ex : Ne'e au kai te keke : I ate the cake (keke is a loanword from English !)

This cake was very good indeed ! In English (and many other indo-european languages) there is only one word to say very good. In Wallisian, there are at least 4 different words, depending on what is good/beautiful.

mata lelei : visual (mata = eyes). E matalelei te'u paki (the pictures are very beautiful)
logo lelei : sound/tactile. (logo : to hear) E logo lelei te musika ! (the music is very nice)
kano lelei : taste, solid object (kano : flesh) >> ne'e kano lelei te keke (the cake was very good)
hu'a lelei : taste, liquid (hu'a : to pour a liquid) >> Ne'e hu'a lelei te hu'a piele (the beer was good :cheery: ) (this is definitely not typical wallisan, but I couldn't find a better example !)

Expressing negation
Negation is rather simple : you use the preposition "mole" before the subject
E mole au fia kai : I don't want to eat (I'm not hungry)
E mole au palalau lelei te faka'uvea : I don't speak wallisian very well

You could also say "E au palalau te faka'uvea veliveli pe" (I speak a little Wallisian)

That's already a lot :) see you soon for more faka'uvea :)
Io Nofola ! Ofa atu :)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-28, 5:01
by hashi
I'm not sure if it's the same in Wallisian, but if you call a white person 'palagi' in New Zealand, it is usually meant in a derogatory manner :/

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-28, 9:22
by melski
hashi wrote:I'm not sure if it's the same in Wallisian, but if you call a white person 'palagi' in New Zealand, it is usually meant in a derogatory manner :/

II don't think "papalagi" has a negative/offensive connotation, however it refers precisely to the europeans (most often French people) living in Wallis (many of whom just stay a few years in the administration or as teachers). The word is also used in French to refer to them : "les papalagis".
They are welcome in Wallis - last election, a papalagi was even elected as the MP for Wallis in the French Parliament.
What I love about Wallisian is that you cannot separate the language from the culture and history of Wallis, and papalagi is a very good example of that !

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-29, 5:16
by Yserenhart
hashi wrote:I'm not sure if it's the same in Wallisian, but if you call a white person 'palagi' in New Zealand, it is usually meant in a derogatory manner :/

You must be in the wrong part of NZ then, where I was ‘palagi’ was used almost never for derogatory reasons.

I find it interesting the word order of Wallisian quite interesting in how it compares to Māori. To my eyes it just doesn't look right :P.

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-29, 11:17
by melski
Taydr wrote:I find it interesting the word order of Wallisian quite interesting in how it compares to Māori. To my eyes it just doesn't look right :P.

I don't know Maori so I wouldn't be able to compare, but is it very different ? I find the Wallisian word order quite similar to French (at least for the basic phrases), but keep in mind this is only beginner Wallisian - I have no idea what's the precise word order for more advanced stuff.

Besides that, I am starting to chat in Wallisian with my friends - even if it's full of mistakes and that I always rely on the dictionary, I can make some phrases and be understood :)
Ofa atu !

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-29, 12:56
by melski
Time for more Wallisian :) This time, we'll focus on politics, which are extremely complex in Wallis (you have the French state, the Church and the traditional chiefs altogether). As you can see, there are plenty of borrowings from French.

[flag=]wls[/flag] Fakapolitike - [flag=]fr[/flag] Wallisien - vocabulaire politique / [flag=]en[/flag] Wallisian - vocabulary of politics

Falani : France
fakafalani : langue française - French language
te Minisi : le/la ministre - the minister (for French politicians)
te Lepupilika : la République - Republic
te politike : la politique - politics
te telituale : le territoire (administratif) - the territory (administrative). If you want to refer to the land, or to Wallis in general, use Fenua
puleaga : Nation, pays, gouvernement, royaume - nation, country, government, kingdom
puleaga Falani : République française - French Republic

Koga Fenua i tai : territoire d'Outre-mer - French oversea territory.

Koga : morceau, partie / part (of something)
Fenua : terre / land (the famous Fenua !)
I : indique le lieu / indicates a place
Tai : mer / sea

littérallement, cela veut dire "morceau des terres de la mer"
litterally, this means "part of the lands of the sea"

Another translation possible of overseas territories is "te'u fenua o Falani mama'o" : French lands far away (mama'o)

Pule'aga Hau - La coutume - the Customary system
Tohi lao : le statut de 1961 - Territorial Statute of July 29, 1961
Lavelua : nom donné au roi - name given to the king
Hau : roi - king
aliki : noble - from noble ascendance. They play a very important role in Wallis
Aliki fa'u : ministres du roi - ministers of the king
Faipule : chef de district - district chief (there are 3 districts in Wallis : Mu'a, Hihifo and Hahake)
pulekolo : chef de village - village chief
talaga : discussions, palabres (pour prendre les décisions)- discussions, talks (to take decisions).

[flag=]fr[/flag] Les hommes se réunissent le soir sous le fale fono et discutent (talaga) au cours d'un fono (assemblée) pour prendre les décisions sur la vie du village, élire les pule kolo.

[flag=]en[/flag] Men gather under the fale fono and talk (talaga) during a fono (assembly) to discuss the matters of the village and elect the pule kolo.

(NB there can be some mistakes, I am definitely not an expert on this topic !)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-09-29, 20:42
by Yserenhart
melski wrote:
Taydr wrote:I find it interesting the word order of Wallisian quite interesting in how it compares to Māori. To my eyes it just doesn't look right :P.

I don't know Maori so I wouldn't be able to compare, but is it very different ? I find the Wallisian word order quite similar to French (at least for the basic phrases), but keep in mind this is only beginner Wallisian - I have no idea what's the precise word order for more advanced stuff.

It's somewhat different, for the basic stuff. As an example (with colour to indicate the parts):

[flag]wls[/flag] Ne'e au kai te keke.
[flag]mi[/flag] I kai au te keke.
[flag]en[/flag] I ate the cake.

Having the subject between the tense particle and the verb is to me quite unusual, and I can't at the moment actually recall any other Polynesian language in which it occurs.

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-10-10, 12:26
by melski
Well, according to, Tongan also has this feature :
'Oku ou kai = I eat

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-10-10, 12:54
by melski
Discussing grammar is interesting, but learning a language should be fun ! I have found four children stories in Wallisian with audio ! Unfortunately, no translation available...which means I have to do it myself :P
They are available freely on the internet here : ... Itemid=182
I would have loved to put the audio here, but unfortunately the mp3 files are too big :(
Moreover, the audio is perfect for beginners because it's very slow and clear :D

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-10-25, 18:21
by melski
I'm so happy, today I managed to have a small conversation in Wallisian on the phone ! Well, it was not really a conversation (most of the call was in French), but I said some phrases to a Wallisian person and she was delighted ! I am actually doing a major research paper on Wallis Island and I will use the language for sure ! It impressive how just saying "malo te ma'uli" instead of "bonjour" or "hello" can break the ice and create contact way more easily (even if E au palalau te faka'uvea velivelipe, I speak little Wallisian !).

Last week, I also managed to send a message to one of my Wallisian friends to describe what I had done during the week-end, entirely in faka'uvea :) She corrected me and I realized I made a huge but very funny mistake : I wrote
"Ne'e ni'ihi kukua te kai'afi'afi, ( some people prepared the dinner), ne'e logo lelei te'u "pâtes" (the pasta was very good !), but I should have said ne'e kano lelei te'u pâtes instead (you remember the distinction between mata lelei, logo lelei, kano lelei and hu'a lelei, right ? ), because "ne'e logo lelei te'u pâtes" is like saying that I was pleasured by having sex with the pasta !!!! :lol: A small change in the word, a big change in the meaning !

But that's cool because I am getting over the simple greetings and presentations and little by little learning more advanced stuff (still beginner, but now I can express some basic things, describe simple actions, etc). Moreover, I have access to some good resources (for instance, learning how to say properly all that I wrote to that person and the corrections she made will already take some weeks :))
My goal is to have a good command of the language by the end of the year (april-may), when I will have finished my research paper. Stay tuned for more Wallisian coming soon :)

Hoki toe felave'i pe :) Nofola, tata :)

Re: Wallisian (faka'uvea)

Posted: 2012-11-11, 22:23
by melski
I just spent the afternoon with Wallisian friends and we spoke a bit in faka'uvea - I was happy to present myself in Wallisian, say what I'm studying, where I live, etc...
here's what it looks like :
Malo ! E ke lelei pe ? ko toku higoa ko Helemele. Ko Helemele toku higoa i te faka'uvea, i te fakafalani ko "***". Ko toku tehina e tahi, pea e au te tama ako i te fale ako "Sciences Po" (ko te université). E au nofo i Falani, i te kolo ko [city]. E au palalau te faka'uvea velivelipe, kae au fia ako te lea !

Moreover, I learned some useful Wallisian words :
cheers ! is manu'ia or asu :cheery:
the cook is good : ko te kuka lelei
When you have finished eating, you thank those who prepared the meal (meal : ko te kakai): "malo pe si vela".
Litteraly, this means "thank you for getting hot" (vela : heat) because when you cook in Wallis (tropical climate), you get hot very easily .

There are several expressions to say goodbye, who are related to the verbs nofo (to stay, to live) and alu (to go) :
alula : to the person (singular) who leaves.
olola : to several persons leaving (plural)
nofola : to the person (singular) that stays
nonofola : to the persons (plural) who stay.
So when my Wallisian friend left, I had to tell her "alula" and she responded "nofola". If our friends told us goodbye in faka'uvea, they would say "nonofola", to which we would respond "olola" !
(If you think it's too complicated, you can still use io or tata !)

That's all for now, see you soon for more Wallisian !