5 Reasons your children are not speaking in Tongan

5 reasons why your child is not speaking in Tongan

I read a great article on Multilingual living and decided to put together a TOP 5 REAONS why your children are not speaking in Tongan. In my own experience with my children these are the 5 top reasons why they were not speaking in Tongan. So you want your children to speak in Tongan but you are finding it very challenging. Consider these 5 reasons as to why or what is holding your child back. Same reasons here apply to anyone learning the Tongan language not just children.

1. Ongo fiemālie (Feel comfortable):

Do your children feel comfortable to speak the language? Are they continually getting told off to speak in Tongan by you the parent or grandparents? Do they get ridiculed for their speaking or lack of speaking abilities at school, by friends, at church. You need to encourage them and make them feel comfortable and it starts at home. As an example, I tried to give them positive experiences by reading the English bedtime stories in Tongan. I would also make my kids laugh with silly songs I made up for them.

2. Ngaahi tohi mo e naunau he lea faka-Tonga (Resources)

Do they have access to a wide range of learning materials in the Tongan language. This will continue to be a problem as there are no (in my opinion) interesting books or learning material in the Tongan language for children. Keep an eye out for the ebook (The Hungry little mouse) coming out soon on youtube.

3. ʻOku fakahā kita? (Exposure)

Are your children being exposed enough to the Tongan language. There may not be enough reading resources for children but they can listen to the language. There are plenty of digital radio programmes, Tongan songs and Tongan news all on youtube. While youʼre doing chores at home, play it in the background.

4. ʻOku fakalata? (Is it enjoyable?)

Is speaking in Tongan enjoyable for your children. Do they find it interesting or difficult and boring? Play games using the Tongan language will help make it enjoyable. Play cards, find items around the house, sing songs.

5. ʻOku i ai ha fiemaʻu? (Is there a need?)

Is there a need for them to speak in Tongan. Do they have grandparents or parents that can speak to Tongan to them? Are they part of a Tongan speaking Congregation? Are they in a language class that they need to speak in Tongan? Will they be visiting Tonga anytime soon?  If they see no apparent need to learn they will find it more difficult.

Did you find this useful? let me know.

Is ‘plastic’ the new norm?

Is ‘plastic’ the new norm?.

Ko e fehu’i mālie eni ‘a Alando Soakai. A very interesting question by Alando Soakai. 

Have you been called ‘plastic’ because you speak more English than your native tongue?

Other terms used to address you and your identity for not speaking the language is a pālangi (foreigner) or fie pālangi (want to be a foreigner). Considering there are more Tongans living outside the Kingdom is plastic the new norm? Great article into his own experience which I know many can relate to. Click on the link to check it out. Is ‘plastic’ the new norm?.


‘Oku ‘oatu ‘a e hiva ko eni ma’amoutolu kau ‘Uiha ma’alahi. Ka ‘i ai ha me’a ‘oku hala pea mou kataki ‘o tanaki mai. 

A good way to re-learn your language is through songs. This song sung by Teine Latu is a hiva hanu a lamenting song for ‘Uiha an Island in Ha’apai and perhaps a girl left behind. The italic bolded words are all landmarks associated with ‘Uiha. This is a literal translation of the song.


  1. Fangufangu mohe he vaeua pō
  2. Si‘eku ‘ofa’ni mo e manako
  3. ‘Oku fuiva ‘a e si‘oku loto
  4. He fe‘ofa‘aki he vavamama‘o
  5. Ikai malava si‘ono ha‘aha‘a
  6.  Si‘eku ‘ofa’ni fai tokotaha
  7. Lotomo‘ua he fiemata
  8. Kae vaetu‘u a ‘e he vaha
  9. Makahokovalu te u si‘i fēfē?
  10. He ko e tauala ‘a e folau he
  11. Auhanga Mea ‘oku kei taka fe
  12. Liku’omatoto te u si‘i vale
  13. Tangi muimui si‘oku loto
  14. Ongo Ha‘angana ke ta fe‘ao
  15. ‘Otukinekina si‘oto makano
  16. Ko e na‘a a si‘i to‘onga pō
  17. Lose ‘o e MakakoFele’unga
  18. Tatongi ‘i hoku mafutefua
  19. Huni ‘o e ‘Api ko Hala ‘Ikumea
  20. Sio‘ata Vai ko Kanakana 


  1. Awoken from my slumber in the midnight hour
  2. My dear love and one desire
  3. My dear heart is a seabird
  4. that travels long-distance like our love.
  5. Not able to face her busy life full of difficulties
  6. My poor love doing it on her own
  7. My heart is concerned to see her
  8. But my feet stands still in this space/ time
  9. Makahokovalu what shall become of me?
  10. my voyage is sailing close to the wind
  11. but the wind keeps changing direction at Auhanga Mea Pass
  12. Cliff-bound coast of Matoto I will be a poor fool
  13. My dear heart cries following
  14. Two from Uiha look out for each other
  15. Weary Island (south of Uiha) is what one desires
  16. Calms my emotional state at night.
  17. The Rose of Rock of Fele’unga
  18. is imprinted in my heart makes it whole
  19. like the huni flowers at Home of Hala ‘Ikumea
  20. and the Mirrored waters of Kanakana.


Best websites for learning Tongan

Hema Fifita:

Ko e ‘uhinga eni ne u kamata ‘eku si’i feinga he ngalu’ea ma’amoutolu matua moe fanau.
I started my blog with parents, adults and children in mind to help with you all learn or be inspired to learn more. I must be doing something right. Thank you Alando Soakai for your vote. It is encouraging for me to do more. Mālō ‘aupito

Originally posted on ALANDO SOAKAI:

Children books in the Tongan language. Was brought when I was in Tonga, March 2014.

Currently, the Tongan language has minimal tools for learning how to speak Tongan. Some websites are out dated and do not capture todays audience. I have searched everywhere on the internet, book stores, CDs and even bookshops in Tonga. However, I have come across some useful sites and books I recommend.


Lets Learn Tongan is my favourite. The content is regularly updated and very suitable for todays audience. Tongan hymns and myths are posted for willing learners to learn about Tongan history. From games, activities and even print outs (mainly for children). The pronunciation section  is easy to read and understand. Targeted for beginners. You can also find them on Facebook

Speak Tongan - This site is based primarily on audio learning and is helpful for hearing the pronunciation of phrases and vocabulary. The only site…

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Game: ko hai au? Who am i?

I found this game “who am i” at the flee market last week and my kids and i have been having lots of fun. You ask questions, describing people in Tongan and the other person answers ‘Io pe ‘Ikai – yes or no.


Here are some basic questions and vocabulary for you to expand your repetoire.
Ko e siana/fefine koe? Are you male/female?
‘Oku’ke…. Are you…?
‘Oku’ke tui…. Are/do you wear(ing)…?
‘Oku ‘i ai ha…? Is there a…?
‘Ulupoko – bald
‘Ulukelo – blonde
‘Ulu lanumelomelo – brunette
‘Ulu loloa – long hair
‘Ulu mingimingi – curly hair
Ihu loloa – long nose
Mata sino – fat face
Matasio’ata – glasses
Tataa – hat
Kava – beard

Is this useful? Would you like to see something added let me know.

Hiva: Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki/ Song: I am Soldier of God



I am a soldier of God

I heard this song during this years Children’s White Sunday and have found the words to it. I am an advocate for learning through play and song so enjoy. Is this useful? Let me know?

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
No’o’aki ‘a e mo’oni - tied on my belt with truth
tu’uaki e kosipeli - spreads the Gospel
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
Kofutau’aki e mā‘oni’oni - i wear the breast shield of righteousness
mo’ui pe ‘i he kelesi - filled alive with grace
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
topuva’e’aki e melino - my feet soled with peace
mo tukulolo kakato - and I surrender totally
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – I am a soldier of God
Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – I am a soldier of God
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili – and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
heletā‘aki e folofola - fight with the sword of the word of god
mo’ui’aki ‘ene ‘ofa - reborn with his love
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God



Sunday School questions: Fehu‘i mo e tali

One of the few memories I have of Sunday school back in the Kingdom is the fehu’i mo e tali that kids learn at Siasi Tonga Tau’ataina. I loved hearing it because the answers were always said back in a tune chant like manner which made it easy for kids to learn off by heart. Here … Continue reading


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