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

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Ko e feinga pē: All we can do is TRY!

Life is such a battle for many. No matter what communities we live in rich or poor we all have our own challenges. Growing up there are several words or phrases you constantly hear from your parents, grandparents and Tongan society.

  1. Ko e fonua masiva (Tonga is a poor country).
  2. Ako ke lahi. Study hard.
  3. Lotu ke lahi. Pray diligently.

But unlike the teens here at Roosevelt High, we had role models to look up to, expectations of our parents and the prayers of our grandparents that we build our families, communities and contribute back. But what of those kids featured on this clip. How many kids are out there with no support. Who have lost there way, feel disconnected or have no sense of purpose. All I can say is pray and be prepared. Don’t say no to the opportunities that come a knocking, give it a try. That is all we can do in life. We do not have to be confined to the stereotypes society tells us will be our future. Watching this clip reminds me of one of my favourite hymn verses, we all have worth we must stand up and be counted and with support of people like Coach we can value, encourage and protect that treasure.

Tama Tonga, tu’u ‘o ngāue,
Ho koloa ke fakamonū.
Lotu ki he ‘Eiki ma’u pē,
Ke ne poupou ki he lotu
‘O malu’i,
‘O malu’i ‘a Tupou

Tongan man, stand up and work,
your treasure must be expressed.
Pray to the Lord always,
for his support in prayer
To protect,
To protect Tupou.

Click to hear Hymn 391 

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.

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 are some of the first basic questions that all the children learn at Sunday School about God. I often out of the blue ask these simple questions of my kids as a reminder of Gods presence and love for them. And always good to practise as much Tongan as possible with them. These are also great basic questions that you can use to build your vocabulary and ask other questions.

Who made you? God.
Who made you? God.
Who is God? Our Father in Heavan.
Who is God? Our Father in Heavan.
Where is God? He is everywhere.
Where is God? He is everywhere.
Does God love you? Yes, he loves all things he created
Does God love you? Yes, he loves all things he created

 

5 Tips learning Tongan for beginners

5 tips learning tongan

Here are 5 tips for those who want to learn Tongan as a foreign language or those wanting to improve their language skills. Learning Tongan does not have to be a chore. Follow these tips, and you will soon discover a beautiful rich language and culture.

  1. Immerse yourself. Ideally spending a good six months in the Kingdom would be the best place to learn Tongan. Otherwise immerse yourself within your local community (family, church, online) and simply LISTEN. Fanongo kihe u ngaahi lea. Listen to the sounds all around. With your family, at church, songs played on radio, programs on tv, or youtube. Listen for the sounds, the tone, the reflections in their voices. 
  2. Imitate. Remember how children first learn to speak. They copy the sounds they hear. Ma-ma, Te-Ti (Mum, Dad) are usually the first words they speak.
  3. Know key phrases. ‘Ikai mahino – I don’t understand. Koe ha ‘ae lea fakaTonga ki he … ? What is the Tongan word for …? Know some key phrases and words will help you learn quicker.
  4. Be a student.  Take notes and ask questions. Be inquisitive like a child. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. That is all part of the learning process. 
  5. Have FUN. Learning anything new is always easier when there is some fun involved.