Know your Tongan: ki (v) kia

Here is the first of our Thursday Grammar. Do you know the difference between the two words “ki” and “kia”?  Both mean the same English preposition word “to”.

Thurs grammar

Read carefully the information above and fill in the blanks.

Is it “ki” or “kia”?

  1. ‘Ave _____ Sione. Give it to John.
  2. Na’a’ ke lea _____ Mele? Did you talk to Mary?
  3. ‘Alu ____ he falekoloa’ Go to the shop.
  4. Na’a’ ke falala _____ Tomasi? Did you trust Thomas?
  5. Foki ____ ‘api. Return home.
  6. Sio  ____ he faiako’. Look at the teacher.

Hope this helps you. Leave a comment and share with those who do not know the difference.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

2015 a year of learning

At this time of year I like to remind myself and all the entire Tongan Language School of how much they have achieved in 2015. So I created this video. Kids always love to see themselves in videos. I then challenged my family to write down their new goals. Amongst our new family goals is to speak more in Tongan. To consciously catch ourselves when we speak in English. To make more opportunities to use our language. What one Tongan word will describe 2016 for you? Will it be ako (learn, learning). For me it will be the word “va’inga” (play). To be more playful, to incorporate more play-based learning into my lessons. 2016 will be a year to play.

‘Ofa ke mou ma’u ha ta’u fo’ou fiefia.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

Is it Taimi’ni or Taini’mi?

taimini MEME

This is another of my internal questions that has lingered in my head regarding the Tongan language. I have always used Taimi’ ni which means at this moment in time/ right now. Then I started to hear people say Taini’ mi, so are you saying it right or not.

It has been confirmed by Tongan linguists so you can be rest assured, the correct term is Taimi’ ni.  The Tongan version of time (taimi) is used with (ni) an enclitic word, joining together to pronounce it as one word with the fakau’a (glottal stop) TAIMI’ NI.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

My first ebook in Tongan: The Hungry Little Mouse

As promised, I have finally uploaded my first ebook onto youtube. This has been such a labour of love made only possible with faith that the Tongan Language School (Sydney) had in me. The goal was to make an engaging resource that our digital kids today would like. My kids gave it the two thumbs up so iʼm hopeful that you guys will to.

Tips on how to use this as a resource:

  1. Please share with all your family, friends, and Tongan language teachers you know.
  2. Play it for your kids or nephews & nieces, and practise speaking
  3.  If you can, mute it and read it allowed. Iʼm sure your voice will be much more better than mine.
  4. Get your kids thinking in Tongan or English with some questions like what do you think is going to happen? Ko e hā meʻa ʻe hoko mai? What do you think happens to the mouse at the end? Ko e hā meʻa ʻe hoko ki he kumaá?
  5. Learn the days of the week by asking sequence questions What did the mouse eat on Monday? Ko e hā meʻa ne kai e kumaá he ʻaho Mōnite?

Did you like it? Share your thoughts

Ka ʻi ai ha tō nounou pea kātakiʻi pe au. Hangē ko e lau ko e feinga pe maʻae fānau ke nau maʻu ha loto fiefia ʻo kau ai mo ha ako ki he lea faka-Tongá.

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?.

The limits of my Tongan language

The limits of my language

The goal for my blog in 2014 is to make learning the Tongan language easy, fun and shareable for you all in this digital age. Like climbing a coconut tree the view is better from the top but we can only share as much as we know. The limits of my language (ie my understanding of the Tongan language and culture) is the truly the limits of our own world. For parents who are fluent in Tongan please do not limit the view of your children. For those trying to improve, join in the conversation via our socail media page and let us broaden our horizon’s together.

Vavai ‘a ‘Amelika: a failing of America

I want you to speak in Tongan
I want you to speak in Tongan!

I’m currently travelling in America and the general comments I have been getting from the old folks have been the same everywhere I go.

  • They are happy to hear my children understand and speak in Tongan
  • They are happy to hear a mother speak in Tongan to their children
  • Their comments include “Vaivai ‘a ‘Amelika” America fails when it comes to passing on the language.That their own children understand little of the language.

But is it really only America with this problem? I think the problem is everywhere. Parents and grandparents and the community need to make the Tongan language a priority. Loose the language and you lose the culture and ones identity.

Malimali means Smile!

 

malimali

In anyoneʼs language kids know how to smile and give them a toy camera and they start acting like professional photographers and happily snap away. So this is a great way to teach Tongan to your kids. Not only are they having fun but they are also learning simple phrases.

Here are some useful vocabulary when you’re playing imaginary paparazzi and superstar or for real life photo shoots.

  1. For Beginners: You could take photos until they get familiar with the phrases.
  2. For Intermediate: They could take photos of you and give you directions

Ko e ngaahi kupu’i lea ma’ae toko-taha fai-ta’ (Phrases for the photographer)

  • Malimali! – Smile!
  • taha ua tolu malimali – 1 2 3 smile!
  • Hanga mai! – Turn this way!
  • Hanga ki hē! – Turn that way!
  • Unu atu! – Move away!
  • Unu mai! – Move closer!
  • Tu’u ma’u! – Stand still!
  • Tangutu ma’u – Sit still!
  • Sio mai! – Look this way!
  • Sio ki ‘olunga – Look up!
  • Sio ki lalo – Look down!
  • Ko ia – that’s it!
  • Faka’ofo’ofa – beautiful
  • Talavou  – handsome
  • Ai fakalelei – Do it properly
  • La’i tā – a photo
  • tangata fai-tā – photographer (male)
  • fefine fai-tā – photographer (female)

Hope this helps you and if you have other phrases to add let me know

Tu’a ‘ofa atu

The importance of speaking in Tongan

Mahuʻinga ʻo e lea faka-Tonga.

This is an interview of Lady Fielakepa on the importance of speaking in Tongan. Her story would resonate with many Tongan families as it does with me.

She points to the old belief of her parents that education was important and in order to achieve it one had to be proficient in the English language. Which is great but the downfall of that was the demise of her Tongan language skills. She realised her own shortcomings and has since then strived to improve her own language skills and pushed her own kids and grandchildren to learn Tongan first.

The new belief is to teaching kids at an early age Tongan first. I am definitely encouraged knowing that Lady Fielakepa who is quite knowledgeable in Tongan culture is still a student  using the dictionary and continually learning from others about the Tongan language.