Learn Some Words in Fakatongan!

Travel is all about discovering new cultures and the Tongan culture is certainly a fascinating one! One of the basic ways to start immersing in the local culture is to speak the local language. While you can get by in English in Tonga, all Tongans speak Tongan or “Fakatongan” as a first language. It’s always fun to learn and speak some basic words in Tongan. Give it a try with these words listed in the Tongan words you need to know when visiting Tonga!

For more language talk, take a look at The Guide to the Tongan Language. Plus, wise up on the Tongan culture with The Guide to the Tongan Culture for Travellers.

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1. Malo e Lelei!

Malo e lelei means “hello” in Tongan and is the Tongan word you’re bound to hear the most of a trip to the Kingdom.


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2. Malo ‘Aupito!

Malo ‘aupito means “thank you” and, if you’re a polite tourist, it’s a word that you will be using a lot in Tonga. It is often met with a “‘lo malo”, which means “you’re welcome”.

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(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

3. Fale

If you’re staying at an island resort, you’re bound to be staying in a “fale”. This is a house in Tongan and, in the context of resorts, it’s your stand-alone cabin for sleeping in. Fale is a word seen at the beginning of a few words in Tongan as a word for different types of houses, for instance, the church is “fale lotu”, the hospital is “fale mahaki” and a restaurant in “fale kai”.


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(c) yellowcomic.com
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(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism
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(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism