Fijian


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Fijian

1. a member of the indigenous people of mixed Melanesian and Polynesian descent inhabiting Fiji
2. the language of this people, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family

Fijian

 

the language of the Fijians, the indigenous population of the Fiji Islands, spoken by approximately 225,000 people (1974, estimate). Fijian is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language and belongs to the same branch as the Polynesian languages, Rotuman, Efatese, Kerebuto, and a number of other languages; the American scholar I. Dyen refers to these languages as the Geonesian branch.

The consonant system of Fijian shows an opposition between voiceless and prenasalized voiced obstruents. Vowels, which always end a syllable, are distinguished as long or short. The grammatical structure is primarily analytic—only verb forms, such as the causative and passive, and possessive forms of nouns are formed synthetically. Personal pronouns are classified as singular, dual, trial, or plural in number and as inclusive or exclusive in the first person, except in the singular. Written Fijian uses the Latin alphabet.

REFERENCES

Capell, A. A New Fijian Dictionary. Sydney, 1941.
Churchward, C. M. A New Fijian Grammar. [Sydney] 1941.
Grace, G. W. The Position of the Polynesian Languages Within the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) Language Family. Baltimore, 1959.
Dyen, I. A Lexicostatistical Classification of the Austronesian Languages. Baltimore, 1965.
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