Learn Tahitian – Basic Tahitian Words & Phrases

The official languages of Bora Bora and French Polynesia are French and Tahitian. French is Bora Bora’s official language and is used in schools and business, while Tahitian is spoken by most locals at home. Tourism is the main industry in Bora Bora, so English is also widely spoken by the locals, particularly at hotels, resorts, restaurants and shops in order to communicate with tourists. While you’re likely not to have any problems being understood in English, Tahitians are always pleased and entertained when tourists attempt to use a few Tahitian words.

Consider trying out these basic Tahitian phrases, pronunciation guide in parentheses:

Hello: Ia oran na (yo-rah-nah)
Thank you: Mauru’uru (mah-roo-roo)
Yes: E (ay)
No:Aita (eye-tah)
How are you?: Maita’i oe? (may-tay oh-ay)
No problem: Aita pe’a pe’a (eye-tah pay-ah pay-ah)
Cheers!: Manuia! (mah-new-yah)
Goodbye: Nana (nah-nah)
Merry Christmas: Ia orana no te noere (yo-rah-nah noh tay noh-ay-ray)
Happy New Year: Ia orana i te matahiti api (yo-rah-nah ee tay mah-tah-hee-tee ah-pee)

When travelling around Bora Bora and the French Polynesia you are likely to come across these Popular Tahitian words:

Motu: small islet on the reef
Tiaré: Flower
Vahiné: Woman
Tané: Man
Pia: Beer
Papé: Water
Ma’a: Food

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