Volume 62 1953 > Volume 62, No. 1 > A dialect of Yasawa Island (Fiji), by R. Raven-Hart, p 33-56
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- 33

Although a linguistic survey was not one of the main purposes of a recent stay at Nabukeru, it seemed desirable to collect notes on this village-dialect of West Fijian, which appears to have been very little studied. The village lies at the southern end of Yasawa Island, the northernmost of the group to which it gives its name: the dialects are stated to vary considerably even on this one island.

The official spelling has been used in preference to the so-called “phonetic” system: an odd misnomer, since, if the conventions of the official system be accepted, this is almost rigorously phonetic, which the “phonetic” system is not—for example, there is nothing to show whether the “ng” in that system stands for the sound in “anger,” “singer,” or “change”; or whether its “th” is that of “they,” or of “thigh.” In what follows B is therefore to be read as mb, D as nd, C as the th of “thy,” G as the ng of “singer,” and Q as the ng of “anger.” As an abbreviation B stands for “Bau,” the East Fijian dialect adopted as official ,Y for the Yasawan dialect under study; and for “Capell,” “Biggs,” “Churchward,” “Thomson,” see the Bibliography.

My special thanks are due to the brothers Epeli and Kamenieli Sokidrau, Storekeeper and Schoolmaster respectively; and above all to their 65-year old father Livina Sokidrau.

Pronunciation. The C is very palatal, even retroflex, and is almost a Z in many words. The flat of the tongue (Churchward II.1) does not appear to be used, only the tip.

The S tends, for the same reason, to SH.

The introduced J is usually very nearly CH, and in some words takes this sound exactly.

The V is frequently a quite definite P.

- 34

There is a strong tendency to clip off final vowels entirely, not merely to leave them voiceless (Churchward II.2). The village schoolmaster finds this his greatest difficulty in teaching the Bau dialect.

Articles. The indefinite article is e t'la na, as in Nailanga (Biggs) for the B e dua na. Y-speakers insist that it is e tila na, but the i is never heard.

The definite article is na, as in B, but before i (especially before the Preformative I of the next section) tends to ne (as in the last of Biggs' Nailanga examples). Ko is used before proper nouns and cardinal pronouns as in B, and, as in B again, is often abbreviated to o. A definite article E was occasionally heard before nouns (not only before numerals as in B) but it was not possible to trace any rule governing its use: not infrequently it was replaced by na when a repetition was asked for. One example will however be found in the Vocabulary, s.v. “male.”

Preformative I. This is used as in B to form nouns from verbs, especially to designate the intrument, locale, mode, result, etc. of the action. There seems to be a tendency to omit this I where B would use it, but this may be due to the extremely rapid Y speech.

Pronouns. In Y, as in B, there are in theory four persons (First inclusive, where “we” includes the person addressed; First exclusive, where it does not; Second; Third) and four numbers (Singular; Dual; Trial, also used for a small number; and Plural). In practice, however, these do not all occur, as will be seen.

Cardinal Pronouns.

  First Excl. First Incl. Second Third
Singular o yau o iko o koya
Dual o maru o taru o muru o koru
Trial o mamutou Not o mutou o koru
Plural o mamutou used o mutou o kora

The one First Inclusive form shown is however rarely used, the Exclusive forms being preferred even when not grammatically applicable.

- 35

For the short forms see below under the example of a Conjugation.

Possessive Pronouns. These have five forms: Suffixed, Short, and Full in L, K, and M.

The suffixed forms are:

  First Excl. First Incl. Second Third
Singular -qu   -mu -ya, -a
Dual -maru Not -muru -dru
Trial -mamutou used -mutou -dru
Plural -mamu   -mutou -dra

In B, such suffixed forms are used for relationships and parts of the body (and in some other cases): in Y (as in Nalotawa, Biggs) for relationships only, with one interesting exception, q.v. below.

The short forms, used before the noun, are:

  First Excl. First Incl. Second Third
Singular qu   mu e
Dual maru Not muru dru
Trial mamutou used mutou dru
Plural mamuya   muya dra

The Full forms in L are:

  First Excl. First Incl. Second Third
Singular lequ   lemu lea
Dual lemaru Not lemuru ledru
Trial lemamutou used lemutou ledru
Plural lemamu   lemuya ledra

The K- and M-forms merely substitute these letters for the L.

The L-forms are the ones normally used (as in B the N-forms), the M-forms being used for foods, the K-forms for drinks, and also in cases where the object is not owned but concerns the possessor (e.g., na lemu i taba, the photograph owned by him, na kemu i taba, the photograph of him). In B, however, the K-forms are used also of inanimate objects (“its”) instead of the N-forms, from the logical idea that an inanimate object cannot “own” anything: in Y the corresponding use of the K for the L-forms is not invariable.

In all the last three tables no Inclusive forms are shown. They were never heard in conversation; and when - 36 they were asked for, the B form was produced, or a phonetic modification of it (e.g., T for D).

Auxiliary Verbs. For the continuative, (in B “to lie”) after the principal verb replaces the B tiko. For possibility, rewa after the verb replaces rawa; for completion devu after the verb replaces the B oti; and for desire matā or sometimes vinatia before the verb replaces the B via, as in Nalotawa (Biggs) in all cases. Examples are: I am speaking, qi sa tata nō; you can speak, i sa tata rewa; he has spoken, oi sa tata devu o koya; they wish to speak, a ra matā tata. All these auxiliaries also exist as verbs in their own right, except matā.

Causative Verbs. In B these are formed by prefixing vaka- (or vā- before g, k, q) and suffixing -taka (as a rule). to nouns, adjectives, and verbs: in Y by vaka- (very rarely vā, even where B would use this, unlike most dialects of West Fijian according to Capell, page 293), and the suffix is almost always -takinia.

Definitive-transitive Verbs. In B these are formed by suffixing -a, -ca, -ga, -caka, -taka, etc. (Churchward I.11), to the Indefinite-transitive form, the verbal root: thus B tā niu, to chop coconuts, but taya na niu, to chop the coconuts. The Y suffixes almost invariably add an i to the B form, as -ia, -cia, -gia, -cakia, -takia, etc. It would have been possible to extend the Vocabulary below from some 600 words to ten times that length by giving such variations, but only enough have been included to show the principle, the suffixes being in brackets.

Conjugation of the Verb. As in B, the verb itself is not changed for person, number, or tense: person and number are shown by the pronouns preceding the verb, but whereas B shows the past tense by the tense-sign a, Y does so by a change in the form of the pronoun. For the future both Y and B use the tense-sign na; but there is in Y-speakers a definite dislike of this, even when speaking B, the simple present being preferred (as in English, “I am going next week”). Also in Y the predicate-sign - 37 sa is sometimes used as a tense-sign, to differentiate the Present (or Future) from the past, whereas in B it is an intensifier only (Churchward II.5). Thus, for the verb lā, to go:

    First Excl. & Incl. Second Third
Sing. Pres. and Fut. qi lā i lā oi lā
  Past qu lā o lā a lā
Dual Pres. and Fut. mari lā miri lā a ru sa lā
  Past maru lā muru lā a ru lā
Trial Pres. and Fut. mamiti lā miti lā as
  Past mamutu lā mutu lā Dual
Plur. Pres. and Fut. as as a ra sa lā
  Past Trial Trial a ra lā

No signs of a separate First Incl. form appeared.

The identification of the Trial with the Dual in the First and Second persons but with the Plural in the Third person is curious: it will be found also, more or less completely, in the other tables of pronouns above.

Passives. In B these are formed in various ways, among which is the prefixing of lau- to the verbal root, but rarely except where there is a connotation of injury. In Y, on the other hand, the use of this prefix, in the form lei-, is by far the commonest manner of forming the Passive.

Reciprocal. The B prefix vei- becomes vi- in Y: examples will be found in the Vocabulary.

Negatives. The B sega ni before the verb is replaced in Y by tamu, with a very clipped final u (as in Nalotawa, Biggs): I do not go, B au sā sega ni lako, Y qi sā tamu lā (the being here an intensifier in both cases). Tamu is also used for the B prefix tawa-, English “un-”, “less”: B tawa-yaga, useless, Y tamu yaga.

There is however a second negative, tikai, in Y, taking me, the “Subjunctive” “that”: sā tikai me vinā, it is not good: oi sā tikai me lā, he is not going. But these could also be sā tamu vina, oi sā tamu lā; and in fact these latter appeared to be the forms preferred by the younger Y speakers, tikai being somewhat old-fashioned. Even for them, however, tikai is the only acceptable form for “No” - 38 (in answer to a question); for “or not?” at the end of a query, Y i sā la se tikai, B ko sā lako se sega, are you going or not?; and as a verb, “there is no sugar,” sā tikai na suka.

Suggestors. (to coin a term). In B li after the verb indicates that a negative answer is expected; and ne at the end of the sentence, an affirmative one. (But if the question is negative, to the logical Fijian an affirmative answer is what to the illogical English is negative: sa sega li ni ika?, is there no fish? expects “No,” but meaning “No, you are wrong, there is some fish; and sa sega ni ika, ne? expects “Yes,” but meaning “Yes, you are right, there is no fish.”) In Y se at the end of the sentence replaces the B ne; and li is used, but is also placed at the end of the sentence.

Moderators (to coin another). In B mada, and (with negatives) or soti are used to soften commands or statements: e.g., lako mai, come here, but lako mada mai, please come here; au sa lako, I am going, but au sa lako mada, I am going if you don't mind. (This, and “please” are too strong for mada: nearer equivalents would be “You might come here, will you?” and “Well, I think I'll be going.”) Or again: kua ni lako, do not go, but kua sō ni lako, you had better not go; sā sega ni vinaka, it is no good, but sā sega sō ni vinaka, it is not much good. In Y mada is used as in B; but is replaced by du or sewa (“small”): thus kua sewa ni lā, sā tikai du me vinā or sā tamu vinā du for the examples given.

Numerals. These, with the exception of “one,” B e dua na, Y e t'la na, are the same in Y and B in their indefinite forms; but when definite (i.e., “the three villages” instead of “three villages”) the Y is na koro ke tolu for the B na koro e tolu.

Relationship Terms. These show interesting variations from B, always in the direction of greater simplicity.

Thus, there is no difference between “brother” and “sister,” real or assimilated (children of mother's sister - 39 or father's brother), which might suggest that the brother-sister avoidance-compulsion was not strong. Again, no difference is made between the sons and the daughters of one's paternal aunt or maternal uncle. In both cases, of course, a distinction can be made by adding tagwane, male, or yalewa, female, but no separate words exist as in B.

Assuming that a man is speaking, the terms are as follows: Grandfather, Y tubu (in B “ancestor”) for B tuka (which in Y is “elder brother”), with Y tai as term of address; Grandmother, Y again tubu and tai, for B bu. The brothers and sisters of the grandparents are assimilated to and named as these.

Father, Y tama as B, with mo as term of address; Mother, tina and nau as in B. Father's brother and grandparents' sons assimilated to father: mother's sisters and grandparents' daughters, to mother; but with if necessary the distinction between, e.g., tama sadu (B tama dina), “true father,” and tama sewa, “little father.” In B the equivalent, tama lailai, is used (Capell) only for assimilated fathers and mothers younger than the true parents respectively, the forms tama levu, “big father,” tina levu, “big mother,” being used for those older than the true parents: in Y no such distinction is made.

The important relationships of mother's brother and father's sister are both gwadi in Y, being respectively gadina and gane-ni-tama in B. Their children of both sexes are in Y tavale, which in B refers to their sons only, their daughters being davola. In Fiji in general, this davola was the destined wife of a man: the fact that no special term exists for it in Y might suggest that this obligation to marry was less strong there.

With the exception of these, all the relations of one's own generation, whether one's siblings or the children of one's uncles and aunts, are in Y taci if younger, tuka if older than oneself, whereas in B taci and tuaka are thus used only of those of the same sex as oneself, gane for those of the opposite sex.

One's sister's children (if one is a man) or brother's children (for a woman) are in Y batuvu, in B vugo, or, in the case of a man's sister's son (only) vasu. With - 40 these exceptions, all relations of the next generation, whether one's own children or those of brothers and sisters (true or assimilated) are luve both in Y and B. Finally, children of these luve and batuvu are in Y viago, B makubu.

All these take in Y the suffixed possessive pronouns, e.g., tamaqu, gwadimu; with however one interesting exception, batuvu, which takes the short possessive, qu batuvu, with qu va as term of address, as if this particular relative were regarded as a part of one's body rather than a nephew or niece. It of course suggests the matrilineal importance of the sister's son (and cf. vasu in e.g. Capell); but applies also to the sister's daughter, and, in the case of a woman speaking, to her brother's children.

  • BIGGS, The Mba Dialects, Western Viti Levu. Journal of the Polynesian Society, Wellington, March, 1948.
  • CHURCHWARD, New Fijian Grammar, Govt. of Fiji, Suva, 1941.
  • CAPELL, New Fijian Dictionary, Sydney, 1941.
  • THOMSON, The Fijian, London, 1908.
  • WATERHOUSE, King and People of Fiji, London, 1866.

What Capell calls “tabu words” have been included, since in many languages (e.g., English) they tend to be of great antiquity. Many words will be seen to be the same as in Biggs' Vocabulary (which of course proved indispensable), usually in his Nalotawa, less often in Kaibulu or Lewā dialects: they are shown by N, K, or L in brackets.

  Bau Yasawa
to be Able to rawa rewa
above -x- e cake e dela ni -x- yata
  e dela ni -x-  
to accuse bei(taka) bei(takinia)
Adam's-apple tagitagi godrogodro

With the Y cf. B “to grunt.”

again tale (gā) leqwa
to aim navu navucu
all kece gā kece magā
to be angry cudru borisi

Cf. B bora, “to speak angrily.”

- 41
  Bau Yasawa
ankle qurulāsāwa lobolobo-ni-lā

Cf. Y “back.”

ant kasikalolo kādridri

With the Y cf. B “bēche-de-mer.”

anus i vekaveka veveke
to appoint a time loku(ca) loku(cia)
armpit kirikiriwa kirikiri
ashes dravu ravu (L)
to ask a question taro(ga) taro(gia)
to ask for kere(a) kera(via)
auger-shell kiro ni vede

For the Y see “gimlet,” “rectum.”

to awaken vakayadra(ta) vakayadra(nia)
away yani yati
axe matau kia (N)
Back daku lobo (N)
bad cakacā (N)
bald cou, drika driwa
bandy-legged yava sabe lā sabe
barracuda ogo silasila (K)
basket su ketekete (Rewa in Capell)
to bathe sisili viāsili (N)
beach (sand) matāsawa mata-ni-vanua

Y “eye of the land.”

beard kumi teba (N)
before e liu i mata

Cf. B e na matana, s.v. mata.

behind, after e muri i taku (N)
to belch derekona doroqe
below -x- e ruku ni -x- i ruku ni -x- i rā
to bend love(a) loqi(a)
to bend the head lolou lulu, luluvu
bit (for horse) kokomia, kauk aumea vureli

Capell page 355 gives in error mata-ni-vakowiri for B.

The Y word may be English “bridle,” in B vreli.

bivalve, a sp. of (kai) sigawale qeqe

For the Y cf. “egg.”

black loaloa lōlo (N)
blade (knife, oar) yame me

For both cf. “tongue.”

blind mataboko matakubulu
to blink sauriva rimo
to blow (breath) uvu(ca) uvia
to blow nose venu giraki

But venu is used in Y for “to pick nose,” as B.

- 42
  Bau Yasawa
blunt mucu drili

With Y cf. B “smooth.”

to board (ship) vodo(ka) vodo(kia)
body yago lala (N)
bone sui tua (N)
boom (ship) karikari sila karikari i rā
bottom boto buto
bow (for arrow) dakai titi vucu (N)
bowels wawa wa (N)
box kato rubo

With the Y cf. B rubu.

brains mo moya (N)
branch taba-ni-kau tula-ni-kai (N)
breadfruit uto kulu (N)

In Y, uto is “pawpaw.”

to break musu(ka) musu(kia)
breakfast i katalau i vakawalu
breeze (gentle) mudre mure
bridge i kawakawa i dawadawa

For the Y see B dawa.

to broil tavu lete
broken kavoro tavoro
brother etc., elder tuaka tuka

See Relationship Terms above.

brush (coconut ribs) i tataviraki basilele
burr-weed ? kasē, qatima sēbulubulu

With the Y cf. B “flower,” “sticky” (of soil).

to bury (person) bulu(ta) bulu(tia) (N)
to bury (thing) bulu (ta) lovo(nia)

See also lovo(na) in B, Capell.

buttocks bu vede (N)

Vede is also “rectum” in Y.

“button” of door tiqariti kiliti
Calf of leg temo ni yava bute i lā (K)
to call kaci(va) covia (N)
to carry on back dreke liko
to carry on back (child) vava liko
to carry in arms keve(ta) kebe(tia)
to carry on shoulder cola cuku
to carry (general word) kau(ta) kau (N)
cat vusi kosi
to catch ciqo(ma) sovia
cave qaravatu qwaravatu
centipede cikinovu kaseva
cesspit sovasova ni benu sovasova ni sau
chair i debedabe i tokatoka
charred qesa sama
- 43
  Bau Yasawa
to chase away vakasē(va) kara(via)

With the Y cf. B kara(ca).

cheek bulu kaliga
child gone luve (N), driadria

Luve is also B, but in the sense of son or daughter.

chink laqa laqwa
to chop ta(ya) musu(kia), takia

Musu is also B, to cut across.

clear macala as B, or samacala
clear of weeds caracara carakoro
to climb kaba cakeva

With the Y cf. B cake, upwards.

to cling to sobe(ta) sobe(tia)
cloud ō lolo (N)

For ō in Y see “grass.”

coconut (baby) sosou sula
coconut (half-ripe) kade drokai (L)

With the Y cf. B droka, “raw.”

coconut (ripe) madu sama (N)
coconut-husk qa-ni-bulu taba-ni-bulu

With the Y cf. taba, “skin.”

collar-bone tabua tabua vadra

For the Y cf. B “pandanus.”

cold (of people) liliwa driwadriwa (N)
to collect firewood ca(va) sakia
collision veisaqa visaqa
comb i seru i kava (K)

Also used in B.

to converse veivosa (ki) vitata(ki) (N)
to cook vakasasaqa vakatoko (N)
to cough ogo
to count wilika wilia
to cover ubia tilovia
crab, hermit uga momo
crab, land lairo tubā (K)
crab, sea qari qarau (N)
to crawl (insect) qasi kasi
to crouch oqo karoko
to cry (animal) tagi sere

The Y word is used in B of people only, “to sing.”

to cut off mudu(ka) mudu(kia)
to cut string, etc. cebe(ta) sele(tia)

With the Y cf. B, sele(va).

to cut with the point soi(laka) toci(a)

The Y word is used in B for “to plane.”

Dance meke kiu (L)
“dawa” (a tree) dawa tawa (N)
deaf didivara dudu
- 44
  Bau Yasawa

The Y word is used in B for “fearless.”

to desire Various words, all=vinatia in Y.
to despise be(ca) be(cia)
devil tevoro tevoro, anitu
dew tegu yawe
different tani teni (N)
to dig up ground cuki(ta) uma(nia)
disobedient talaidrēdrē duakara
to dive nūnu riu
to do kitaka tarā (N)

The Y is used in B for “to touch.”

dog koli tui (N)

The same word is also used for King in Y, as in B.

door (lower end of house) soliqa mata-i-rā,
door (side) mata-i-kaba

The Y respectively, “eye in the lower part,” and “eye in the side.”

doorway katuba mata-ni-sue

The Y is “eye of the house.”

downwards sobu, e rā sovu, i rā
to drag (anchor) ququ qoqo
dragonfly caicaiwai duluduluwai

See for both “intercourse” and “water.”

to dream tadra bubuya
to drink gunu somu
dry mamaca macamaca (N)
“duruka” (a plant) duruka dule

The Y term is also used in B.

dusk karobo kwarobo
to dye lomo(ca) lomo(cia)
Ear daliga taliga (N)
ear-shell kabikabi digilo
earth qele qwele (N)
earthworm baca-ni-qele baya (N), taba-ni-qele
East i cabecabe ni mata-ni-siga i cedrecedre ni mata-ni-siga

Both mean “the going up of the sun.”

easy rawarawa rewarewa

Cf. for both “to be able to.”

to eat kana kania
egg yaloka qe (ni tō) (N)
eel duna tuna (N)
elbow duruduru-ni-liga turu-ni-lima (N)
elsewhere tani dai

Cf. “different.”

- 45
  Bau Yasawa
to embrace roko(va) roko(via)
the end i otioti i devudevu (N)

See above among the Auxiliary Verbs.

envious vuvū khwakhwai (N)

I follow here Biggs' spelling: I heard it as kwaikwai.

erect (of penis) bulabula, cidroi ladu
evening yakavi yayavi (N)
excrement dē, dā tā (N)
to exhale smoke bura(ka) bura(kinia)
to extinguish, erase boko(ca) lovia
eyelash bebeka-ni-mata vuluvulu kei mata

Cf. B “to wash the hands.”

eyelid, upper dakudaku-ni-mata lobolobo-ni-mata

Both have the meaning “back of the eye.”

eyelid, lower dreke-ni-mata tete-ni-mata

Both have the meaning “hollow of the eye.”

to Fall (different meanings in B) bale, lutu lutu for both
to fan away flies roya taviroya
far off yawa vakayawa
fast totolo rewarewa (N)

Cf. Y “easy.”

fear rere mataku (N)
to fear rere(vaka) mataku(cia) (N)
to feel yamo(ca) yamo(cia) (N)
to fight veivala vivala (N)
to fill vakasinai(ta) vakavuqa(nia)

Cf. B vuqa, “many.”

to find kunea dania (K)

Cf. Y “to see.”

finger i qaqalo titi (N)

Cf. B “mangrove-root.”

finger, middle qaqalo tura duciduci balavu
fingernail i taukuku voce-ni-titi

Cf. B and Y voce, “paddle.”

fingertip vuso-ni-qaqalo sō-ni-titi
lacking the little finger (in mourning) (liga mudu?) titi mudu

Y-speakers take liga mudu as lacking the hand or arm, as in Capell s.v. mudu, not lacking the finger as Capell s.v. liga. But see e.g. Thomson for latter.

butterfingers liga dabe lima lutu
to be finished oti devu
fire bukawaqa quto (L)
fireplace matadravu mataravu (K)

See for both “ashes.”

- 46
  Bau Yasawa
firemaking nita as B, the lower

(stationary) piece being tina-ni-nita, the upper (mobile) piece being luve-ni-nita.

to fish with line siwa yakau
to fish with net qoli roro

Cf. B in connection with “fish-fence.”

fishhook, steel cuku bati

The Y term is the B word for the old thorn-hook.

fisticuffs veivacu viuso
flat (as tabletop) tedretedre dedele
flock (shoal, etc.) i qele i navo
flower sē-ni-kau sē-ni-kai (N)
flying-fox beka bekwa (N)
to follow muri(a) taku(cia) (N)
food kākana magiti

The Y word is “a ceremonial banquet” in B.

footprint wē-ni-yawa māwe-ni-lā
forehead yadre ra (N)
garden fork i cuki i uma
formerly e na gauna e liu i na gauna i mata
fowl toa tō (N)
to frown matacudrucudru mataboriborisi

See “angry” for both.

fruit vua-ni-kau vua-ni-kai (N)
full sinai vuqa (N)

Cf. B “many.”

fungus karou tataliga, kaicolo

The latter Y fungus is edible.

in the future e na gauna e muri i na gauna i taku
Gable-end kubu cu
garden teitei laulau

The Y is a verb in B, “to garden.”

gimlet vakowiri kiro
to glance aside kivi rabaruku
glans penis vuso sō-ni-uti

The B word is given in Capell both for the glans and (in error) for the prepuce.

to go lako
good vinaka vinā
grass ō
grass under floor-mats i cōcō-ni-vale i oni-ni-sue (K)
green drokadroka drokodroko
grey (hair) sikā sikō
to grin sigege gege
to grope for vakayayamo(ca) vakayamo(ca)
Hair drau-ni-ulu ro-ni-ulu
Hair pubic vulua vunua
- 47
  Bau Yasawa
half veimāmā vimāmā
hand (and arm) liga lima (N)
to make hank (sinnet) sauloki saloqi
to haul up yavi(a) ara(kia)
to hear rogo vārogo (N)
heart uto nunu (N)
heavy bībī bībīta (N)
here e kē nia kwē
high up cēcēre tetelani
hill dela tua
to hit moku(ta) ravu(tia) (N)

The Y is “to kill with club” in B.

to hit with stick yavi(ta) ravu(tia)

See preceding entry.

hither mai mai, mei
push-hoe “Dutch hoe” kutari kavakava

For the Y cf. B “comb.”

to hold tau gulu
to hold out hand dodo(ka) donia
hole qara qwara
a hollow dreke tete
honey-eater, yellow wattled kikau kitou
to hop (frog) tido rido

The Y is used in B for persons.

hornet vī (English bee)
hornet lagotăvoivoi lagodāveivei
hot katakata karasa
house vale sue (N)

The Y is used in B for the kitchen part of house.

how? vakacava? vakaeva?
how about? vakavei? eva?
hunger, hungry via kana matā kana (N)
If ke, kevakă ke, magā
in e i
inside e loma ni i buto ni (K)
intercourse (sexual) veicai vidulu
Jellyfish dumodumokaro dumodumokuro
joint (knife, etc.) loki loku
joint (of jaw) qoqa-i-ră

The Y is “lower jaw” in (N), a more obvious meaning.

to jump down rika vila (K)
to jump up lade ula (K)
to Kick rabe(ta) caqe(tia)
to Kick forward caqe(ta) caqe(tia)
- 48
  Bau Yasawa
kilt, Fijian liku vākuta (N)
to kiss regu(ca) abo(tia) (L)
kitchen vale-ni-kuro sue-ni-kuro
to knead bali(a) kadru(laka)

With the Y cf. B “to scratch.”

knee duruduru-ni-yawa turu-ni-lā (N)
to kneel tekiduru tikituru
knob (of lid, drawer) i tautauri i gulugulu

Cf. Y “to hold.”

to know kilā kila(tia) (N)
Ladder i kabakaba i cakecake

With the Y cf. “upwards.”

lady marama yalewa

The Y is “woman” in B: Y makes no distinction between “lady” and “woman.”

to land sobu ki vanua sovu i vovo

With the Y cf. B “shallow.”

to launch (or beach) boat tavo(ca) sala
to lead by hand tube(ra) tube(ria) (L)
leaf drau-ni-kau ro-ni-kai
leg yawa lā (N)
lest de sara kei
letter (alphabet) mata-ni-vosa tiki-ni-tata
to lie (falsehood) lasu rekwa
to lie back-to-back koto vakanădaku koto viyaloboraki
to lie face-to-face koto vakanămata koto viyamataraki
to lie supine koto vakatadaicake koto tadrake
to lie prone koto vakatobuicū koto luvake
to lie on side koto vakanătutu koto vakatutu
to lift lave(ta) lave(tia) (N)
to lift the side cega cevelia
light (not dark) rārama cēcē (N)
light (not heavy) mamada taumama
to light tutu(vaka) tu(nia)
line (fishing) wă-ni-siwa cuka
lip tebe-ni-gusu taba-ni-gusu (N)
to live bula cola
(for a) long time dedē yawa

The Y is “far” in B.

to loosen sere(ka) sere(kia)
to lose vakayalia vakarevania (N)
to love lomana lomania (N)
Mad lialia gāvui

The Y is “indolent” in B.

- 49
  Bau Yasawa
maggot ulo ilo (N)
male (persons) tagane tagwane
male (animals) tagane e tamaya (ni ose etc.)
man of -x- kai -x- koi -x-
mangrove dogo togo (N)
many vuqa levu (N)

The B is in Y “full”: the Y in B is “large.”

masturbation vakasīsī, vakatādoro salai
masturbation, mutual vutulaki visalai

The B word is given as “sodomy” in Capell, in error according to Y-speakers.

mat ibe loga (N), but i oni for the large floor-mats (cf. “grass”)
milk sucu cucu (K)
mist kabu kwabu
moon, full lewe-ni-lagi buto-ni-lagi

The Y word is “navel of the sky.”

morning mataka roaroa (N)
mosquito namu yamo
moss lumi lumelume (N)
mountam ulu-ni-vanua ulu-ni-tua
moustache somi-ni-wai rogomau (K)
to move toso toro

The Y is also used in B.

mud-skipper tidaloko tiloko

The Y is perhaps also used in B: the Capell entry is not clear.

mullett kanace tumo (when small), tumoyari (half-grown), kanace (fully grown)
to murder laba(ta) laba(tia) (N)
Naked luva wale yiva wale
nautilus kuita-ni-waitui voce-ni-sulua, tidre-ni-mataya

Cf. “Octopus.”

navel vicovico buto (N)
near vōleka vakaleka (N)
necklace taube rebu
next (week, etc.) mai muri mai taku
nose ucu gicu (N)
no! sega tikai (N)
do not kua, kakua kua, kwa
to Obey vakaroro vārorogo
- 50
  Bau Yasawa
to obtain rawa(ta) rewa(tia)

Cf. “to be able to.”

octopus kuita sulua (N)
offal bemu sau
oil waiwai i lumi

With the Y cf. B i lumu.

old (of persons) qase donu

The Y occurs in B for “correct, righteous.”

old (of things) makawa matua (N)
only wale gā boto (N)
only magā
to open dola(va) dola(via) (N)
to open a book tevu cevelia
ornament (esp. hair) i tekiteki i tikitiki
owl lulu vevea
Pain mosi, vutu mosi is preferred
pandanus balawa vadra (N)

The Y word is also used in B.

path sala calevu
pawpaw weleti uto

The Y word is used in B for “breadfruit.”

to pick up tomi(ka) comi(a)
pig vuaka qo
pigsty torō bā-ni-qo

With the Y word cf. B bai, bā.

pith uto-ni-kau uto-ni-kai, bonu

The second Y word is used in B for the core of breadfruit.

to place upon vakatiko(ra) vānonia
to play game qito viseu
plover (seabird) dilio tilo
to point at dusia ducia
to poke fire qiso(ra) qiso(ria)
pole (boat) i kara i cula

The Y word is used in B for “needle” or “table-fork.”

to pound vutu(ka) vutu(ya)
to pour slowly livi(a) sovā
to pour in bulk sova(ra) sovā
prawn manā tolā (N)
to be proud prepuce. wedewede masamasa

Capell gives vuso-ni-uti both for the glans and the foreskin, the latter apparently in error. No special word was traced either in Y or B, other than general words B kuli, Y taba, “skin.”

to press taba(ka) taba(kia)
to pull dreta tokia (K)
to punch with fist vacu(ka) uso(kia)
to push bili(ga) bili(a)
- 51
  Bau Yasawa
to Quench suya susuia, susuya
quickly vakatotolo vakatila
Rafter i sā ke i sā

The Y is probably “the thing of pairs,” with the change of a to i as in the Article, q.v.

to rain tau na uca luvu na uca

The Y verb is used in B for “to drown.”

rat kalavo kucuve (N)
raw droka droko (N)
reception veiqaravi viqwaravi (N)
rectum sona vede

The Y word is also used in Y for “buttocks,” but “rectum” seems to be the principal meaning.

reed gasau vita (N), yavita
reef (isolated) yamotu motu
to refuse bese dua
rein wā-ni-kokomia, wā-ni-kaukaumea, i tārovi tuli-ni-vureli
relish (added to food) i coi i lava (N)
to reveal vakatakilā vakataya (L)
rib sarisari sakesake
rib of boat soka vivita
ridgepole doka bewa
river uciwai tuba-ni-wai
root waka-ni-kau waka-ni-kai
rope dali tali (N)
rough kakase gagasa
rubbish i soqosoqo na soqorau
to run cici wavu

But in Y for “to cut out the meat of nuts” the B cici is used.

to run away drō tuba
Sailor kai mua koi mua (N)
saliva weli welu
sand nuku volivoli (K)
sandfly nānā tauya
satiated mamau vuse (N)
scar mawē
to scrape kari kakari
to scratch (hurt) kadru(va) kalu(cia)
to scratch (itchy) mila samusamu

The Y root is used in B for “to beat” or “kill.”

scrotum qala qwala
seashell in general qā-ni-vivili taba-ni-viviti
seashell, univalve kai tave
- 52
  Bau Yasawa

The Y word is used for one particular species in B.

seashell, one sort diwara qā-ni-masi
to see raica dania (K)

Cf. “to find.”

seed sore-ni-kau qele-ni-kai

Cf. “egg.”

to sell volitaka volitakinia (N)
serrated tavutavu kotikoti

The Y root is “scissors” in B.

shallow vodea vode
shallow, very mātia cēre

With the Y cf. B “high,” and English “high and dry.”

to share out votā tuvania

The Y root is “to put in order” in B.

shark qio iko (N)
shin qarisiga qwarisiga
short lekaleka lekeleke (N)
shoulder vū-ni-taba vū-ni-lima (N)
to shout kaila gisa
to shudder rikō mataku

With the Y cf. “to fear.”

to shut sogo(ta) sogo(tia) (N)
side (person) yasa sakesake

Cf. “rib.”

side (house) yasa kaba
to sink (person) luvu cidromu

With the Y cf. B dromu.

to sink (thing) luvu luvu, as B
to sip ceru(ma) cedru(nia)
sister gane gwane, but more usually taci, tuka: see Relationships
Sir saka riki
to sit (on buttocks) dabe

The Y word is used in B for “to lie,” of things not persons.

skin kuli taba (N)
to slap thigh (in thanks) lali dibi sau dibi

For Y cf. B sau, “to clap hands.”

to slip tidara tiasi (K)
to slip from hands tawaru tivari

The Y word is also used in B, in another similar sense.

slow mālua berebere

With the Y cf. B bera, “tardy.”

small lailai sewasewa (N)
to smell of boi(ca) garu(tia)
smoke kubou kobulu (K)
snake gata gwata (N)
sodomy veivutusona vidulu i vede
- 53
  Bau Yasawa

Veivutu (Capell in this sense) is normal intercourse.

some e sō e i sewa

Cf. “small” in Y.

sour gaga kolikoli
to sow kabu(ya) biu(ta) na qele-ni-kai
span caga ravo

The B word is a “tabu word” in Y, for the vulva.

to speak vosa tata (N)

The Y word is used for “to stammer” in B.

spear moto sā (N)
to spill sova(ra) sovā

Also “to pour.”

to spin (as does a top) cawiri cowiri
spinach (equivalent of) rourou sasau (N)

But the Y and N word is that for a different plant.

to spit kasivi katāsivi (N)
spouse wati wele
to squat on heels toka toko
squinting mataceba matasoro
to stand up duri

Also used in B.

star kalokalo digilo (N)
to steal butako(ca) driva(tia) (N)
steam cawā mawa
to steep toni(a) luvu(ya)

With the Y word cf. B “to drown.”

stem (boat) mua e liu mua vatu
stern (boat) mua e muri vede-ni-gā

The Y is “duck's posterior.”

sticky dregadregata bulubulu

The Y is used in B of sticky ground.

to stink bona mara
to stoop cuva ruva
to strangle kuna kuna nasukia
string wāwā
strong kaukauwa qwaqwa

With the Y cf. B for “bold.”

sub-clean i tokatoka i tokotoko (N)
to suck sucu cucu (N)

See “milk” in both cases.

to suffice rau(ta) rau(tia) (N)
sugarcane dovu tovu (N)
to sun siga(na) drasiga(nia)
the sun rises sa cadra na siga sa cedre na siga (N)
supper i vakayakavi i vakavayavi
swallow (bird) lākaba kalaba
to swallow tilo vodro
- 54
  Bau Yasawa
to sweep tavi(raka) tavi(rakinia)
to swell vuce vuka
to swim qalo qau (N)
Tail bui laulau
to take tau(ra) gunumia
to tame vakalaca vakatokania
tamed mānoa toka
taro dalo doko (N)
“tavola” (tree) tavola tivi
to tell kaya kwaya
to tell tukuna tukunia (K)
testicles sore-ni-qala qele-ni-qwala
testicles, elephantiasis of ceke   qwatu

With the Y cf. “vulva” in B.

that oqori oki
that far-off ko yā konā
thatch tibitibi yavita (K)

The Y is also “reed.”

and then qai qei
there e keri nia oki
there far-off e keā nia konā
thereat, therewith, etc. kina kinia
thick (liquids) sosoko soko
thick (solids) vavaku kukuto
thigh saga vū-ni-lā
thin (solids) mamare meremere
thing kwā
to think nanuma numia (N)
thirst viagunu matāsomu (N)
this oqō kwē
to throw viri(ka) viri(kia)
to throw away biu(ta) biu(tia)
to throw away biu(ta) laivi dania
throwing-stick na i kolo ne i wala
thumb dovidovi-ni-kākana kuku

The Y word is used in B for “finger-” or “toe-nail.”

to tickle kiri(ca) kirikiri(ria)
to tie vau(ca) loko(cia)
to tie vesuka watia
tiller dia-ni-uli laqe

The Y word is also used for the spurs of a cock, in Y and B.

tip vuso
tiptoe titeqe titiqwe
to (with pronouns) vei veke
to touch tere dere

The Y is used in B for “to cleanse,” “scour.”

- 55
  Bau Yasawa
tomorrow e na mataka i roaroa (N)
tongue yame me (N)
to tread on butu(ka) butu(kia)
to tremble nini saga

The Y is used in B for “to strive.”

trevally (fish) saqa dole (K)
true dina sadu
trumpetshell davui tavui (N)
to try tovolea tovelia
turmeric (plant) cago reregwa
turmeric (spice) rerega reregwa
to turn over, capsize vuki(ca) vuli(cia)
to turn end-for-end sauma(ka) sauma (kinia)
to turn round moi(ca) iri(kia)
to turn the head gole tulemata

The Y root is used in B for “to push aside.”

turtle vonu bula (K), ika-bula
to Undress luva liva
to unhook fish vali(a) tava(kinia)

The Y root is used in B for “to cut with knife.”

unripe vou droko

The Y word is also used for “raw.”

upwards cake yata
to uproot cavi(ta) cavi(tia)
Valley buca tovatova (N)

The Y word is used in B for an old yam-garden on flat land.

valley qakilo qiloto
very rui beke
village green rārā dārata (N)
voice domo lio
to vomit lua luelue (N)
vulva qatu caga

The Y word is “span” in B. The B word bebe is also used in Y.

to Wait for wāra(ka) wāra(kinia)
to wake yadra mata (N)
walkingstick i titoko i toko (K)
wall lālaga tutu-ni-sue (K)

The Y root is used in B for the inside corner of house.

wall-plate kau-tabu kai-tabu
to want vinakata vinătia
to warm oneself tatalai taliku
wart somu sogo
to wash the face tavoya verau (N)
water wai wei (K), wai
water salt waitui weitaci (N)
waterfall savu bati-ni-savu (N)
weak malumaluma mamalumu
- 56
  Bau Yasawa
to weep for tagi(ca) tagi(cia)
well (health) bula vinaka cola vinā
wet suasua lūlū (N)
what? a cava? na eva?
when? e naica? e gica? (N) i gica
where? e vei? i vai?
to whistle kalu kwalu
white vulavula sesevu(N)
whole taucoko kece

The Y word is also used in B.

“wi” (tree) maoli (Rewa, Capell)
to wink boto mata dua katarimo
with kei qai
withered madu samasama
to wonder kidacala kuraria
to wrap vivi(ga) vica(kinia)
wrinkle (of age) sokidi sulogi, suloqi
Yard (ship) karikari tū karikari yata
to yawn lāmawa mawa (N)
yellow dromodromoa dromodromo (N)
yesterday e na noa ni yavi (N), ni yaci
a youth cauravou saravou (N)

Some 3,500 B. words were checked to obtain the above.

It is of interest that Waterhouse (see the Bibliography) noted in 1866 a number of dialect variations. They are as follow, the second and third columns being respectively what he calls “supposed immigrants” (East Fijian) and “supposed aborigines” (West Fijian).

God kalou nanitu Cf. Y “devil”
chief turaga viagane, momo  
pig puaka vurei  
house vale were, sue Cf. Y
temple bure bito  
human being tamata e cola Cf. Y “to live,” and note the article “e”
wood buko guta Cf. Y “fire”
anger cudru oca B “tired”
hand liga lima Cf. Y
male tagane seiqane  
bow dakai vucu Cf. Y
song meke wesi A Vanua Levu dance in Capell
cold liliwa driwadriwa Cf. Y
hot katakata tunutunu Also B, “stuffy”
sick tauvi mate raraci Cf. B, “smart”
to strangle kuna nasu Cf. Y
grave bulubulu lovolovo Cf. B, “oven”
kiss regu yabo Cf. Y