Oh, you don’t speak the language?

All Fijians speak Fijian and English, but usually Fijian.

If you’re with Fijians, they only speak English when speaking to you. Even if there are only two of them with you, they’ll speak Fijian to each other until your needed. They don’t do this to be rude, but rather because it’s just so much easier to speak Fijian.

IMG_0172This has it’s advantages, kind of. See, another aspect of the culture is the small-town effect — everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. If you’re with a Fijian, they’ll innocently expect to know everything you’re doing and why. Now, for people who know me well know that I can be wonderfully elusive about topics that I don’t want to discuss. You could say I’m a private person. However, it’s not a problem because if they’re speaking Fijian, then I’m at no obligation to pay attention to what they’re saying. So, for as much as the village people talk, just the right amount of conversation is sent my way.

Although, I will admit that not being able to speak Fijian has many disadvantages. One of which is the discouraging aspect of seeming like you’re a high school drop-out who didn’t finish learning all of the languages he should have.

Ah … but wait, I know small and otherwise insignificant phrases in other languages. I know enough Spanish to order a burrito from Filiburto’s. And I don’t know French, but I’ve seen Eddie Izzard enough to repeat that bit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpVBxgXL59I).

Alas, I am saved from the despair of being the only single-language yokel on the island.

“Dinner was excellent. Muy bien. …. Oh, do you not know what that means?” I smugly reply. “Well … I guess I’ll have to explain it to you.”

Comments are Disabled