Tonga is a group of about 170 archipelago in west Polynesia in the south Pacific, alongside Fiji and also Samoa. Archaelogists and also linguistic research study have displayed that the first settlers came at approximately 1000 BC more than likely from brand-new Guinea, Indonesia or Philipines. They formed plenty of chiefdoms in the archipelago which have been united in 1845 right into one Kingdom through the King Taufa"ahau Siaosi Tupou I. Tonga is the only nation in the region which has actually never been a colony. Till recently they continue to be the critical polynesian Kingdom, nearly an absolute monarchy. Over there are around 110.000 Tongans life in Tonga and around 60.000 or an ext overseas.

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The Tongan language, (a language that the austronesian group), is among the oldest polynesian languages and the many conservative of every (the populaces that worked out the rest of Polynesia have begun their journey from Tonga and also Samoa). That maintains an ext phonemes than any kind of other and also it uses the consonants more. It is really close come the language of Niue and also Uvea (Wallis isl.), and comparable to samoan, tuvaluan, tahitian, maori and hawaiian, although no mutually intelligible. That is this particular day the mother language of around 120.000 people.

Part among this course is only intended for absolute beginners.

Lesson One Tongan Alphabet • Greetings, Farewells • Vocabulary Lesson 2 Vocabulary • command • an ext Greetings Lesson three Vocabulary • current Tense • Locational Preposition "ki" • exercises Lesson 4 Vocabulary • much more Pronominal pronouns • questioning • practice Lesson five Vocabulary • Verb "To Be" • other Prepositions • numbers • just how To use Them • exercises Lesson six Vocabulary • Self-defining & typical Nouns • write-ups • practice Lesson seven Vocabulary • more On write-ups • practice

Part One - The Basics

Lesson One / Lēsoni ‘Uluaki

The Tongan Alphabet / Ko e motu‘alea Tongá
Aa a < A, a > <ɑ ,a > as a in English "father" or choose the Spanish a
Ee e < e, E > as e in English "end" or favor the Spanish e
Ff < f > < f > as f in English "fool"
Hh < h, x > < h,x > as h in English "horse" but much more deep in the throat, something in between ح and خ in Arabic
Ii i < ns > < i > as ee in English "beep" or prefer the Spanish i
Kk < k > < k > as k in English "kill"
Ll < l > < together > as l in English "left" yet sometimes choose r
Mm < m > < m > as m in English "man"
Nn < n > < n > as n in English "no"
Ng ng ngā < N > < ŋ > as ng in English "singer", not like in "finger" (see notes)
Oo o < Q, o > < ɒ, o > as o in English "odd" or like the Spanish o
Pp < p > < ns > as p in English "pen" or like in French or in Spanish, unaspirated
Ss < s > < s > as s in English "see"
Tt < t > < t > as t in English "too" or prefer in French or in Spanish, unaspirated
Uu u < u > < u > as oo in English "boot", or prefer the Spanish u
Vv < v > < v > as vin English "van"
fakau‘a < - > < - > glottal avoid (see notes)

So the Tongan alphabet has actually seventeen letters. The seems small but that is still the biggest Polynesian alphabet. For instance the Sāmoan has actually fifteen and also the Hawai‘ian just thirteen letters!

Don’t ever forget to counting the fakau‘a as a letter. For example the word "fakau‘a" has actually 7 letters, while when we to speak "the an initial letter of words "‘io" we median the fakau‘a and also not the "i"


1. In Tongan there room no consonants’ clusters. That method we will never ever see 2 clusters with each other not be separate by a vowel. The letter "ng" is taken into consideration one single letter in Tongan, so the is no an exception. Also, all words end with a vowel.

2. The vowels’ clusters: In Tongan there room no diphthongs. That method that in a vowels’ swarm each vowel maintains its initial pronunciation. Clusters prefer "ee" are pronounced eh-eh, "oo" is pronounce oh-oh etc: tatau (ta-ta-oo), toutou (to-oo-to-oo), sai(sa-ee), faingofua (fa-ee-ngo-foo-a), engeenga (e-nge-e-nga)

3. The vowels can all it is in lengthened. When they room lengthened they are written with a macron ("macron" = "long" in Greek) end them: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. Thus their duration, the time they are pronounced, is doubled. Attention: The macron is not a stress. That way that a vowel through a macron is double in duration but it is not stressed together well.

The macron never ever exists in ~ the penultimate, unless if there is a macron top top the can be fried too. Once there is a word finishing in a vowel v a macron, and it needs to take a suffix i m sorry will have as a result having the vowel through the macron to be the penultimate, the is doubled and the macron is lifted: fakahā + suffix ‘i --> fakahaa‘i and not fakahā‘i.

4. All Tongan words room stressed on the penultimate. The only exemption is if over there is a macron on the ultimate. Then the stress drops on the ultimate (ex. Fenetā, muikū, pehē, pongatō…). As soon as the words are preceded by some certain articles, adjectives and also tense indications their interval changes and the stress drops on the ultimate. Then this is provided by a stress: Tongá, vaká, tohí, onongó etc. We will mention that when we will talk about these words. If they precede a word with a macron ~ above the utimate, the vowel through the macron is doubled and the stress falls on the second of the two same vowels: fenetaá, muikuú, peheé, pongatoó etc. We will certainly say more about these later also.

5. Once we have actually macrons on both the penultimate and the ultimate syllables, the stress drops on the ultimate. Instances mālō, mālōlō: the stress drops on the last "ō".

6. The letter "ng" is pronounced favor in "sing", "singer" and also not like in "finger". For this reason there is just one single sound produced, no a compound one (n-g). The sound originates from deep in the throat. That was composed as "G" formerly and also it tho is in other Polynesian languages prefer Sāmoan, Tuvaluan, Futunan, and also recently in Māori, but it is the same sound. Its pronunciation have the right to be complicated in some words, however it’s all a matter of practice.

7. The glottal prevent (fakau‘a) is a monster sound because that the Hindoeuropeans yet it is not so exotic due to the fact that it exists additionally in Arabic, Hebrew and many various other languages. It’s a stoppage the the breath by the closure of the glottis, the is to say, the opening in between the vocal hords. That is not a totally new sound though. Us all execute a glottal stop when we exclaim "Uh uh!". The grunting sensation that comes in between those two words is the glottal stop. It’s very important no to ommit it when talking since the definition of the word have the right to change.

Greetings, Farewells

These are several of the most common greeting, goodwill, farewell etc expressions in Tongan:

Mālō e lelei hello (lit. Congrat. On gift well, the gift in good health is worthy that gratitude)
Fēfē hake? how are you? (fēfē means how, hake is idiomatic with fēfē)
Sai pē just fine
Sai to it is in good, to it is in alright, to it is in well
Mālō e lava mai welcome (lit. Thanks for coming)
‘Io, mālō e tau mo eni response come mālō e lava mai
Ko hai ho hingoá? What’s her name? (ko is an equivalent of the verb come be, hai way which and ho way your. We’ll talk around these later)
Ko _____ au I to be _______
Ko hoku hingoá ko _____ My name is _______
‘Alu ā ē Goodbye (to the human leaving) (lit. Walk on)
Nofo ā ē goodbye (to the human staying) (lit. Remain there)
Mou ō ā ē goodbye (to the people leaving, plural kind of ‘alu ā ē)
Mou nofo ā ē goodbye (to the people staying, plural form of nofo ā ē)
Faka‘au ā ē goodbye (to one person leaving, formal)
Mou faka‘au ā ē goodbye (to plenty of persons leaving, formal)
Kātaki please, pardon me (lit. Have actually patience)
Mālō thank you, congratulations
Mālō ‘aupito thanks a lot
‘Aupito a lot, much
Fakamolemole please, pardon me (lit. Come apologize)
‘Ofa atu best wishes (lit. Love to you. ‘Ofa way love. It’s much used at the end of letters)

Note: The expressions ending in ā ē are read as one word, the stress falls on ā however there is a increasing of the voice ~ above ē. It’s choose the climbing of the interval of words "man" in the English "Go far man!" The ē have the right to be ommited. Those ā and ē are simply interjections with no particular meaning.

When one needs to say "I to be fine, thanks, exactly how are you?", like saying "what about you" he/she has to say fēfē hake koe? Koe is a postponed pron. Which method Thou (you singular) and also we will talk about it later.

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Don’t worry around learning the definition of each single word in the above expressions since we shall find out them in the next lesson.

That is every for the first lesson. It was a little long since we had actually to mention everything around pronunciation. Girlfriend don’t need to memorize all notes about pronunciation; I just want them come be below so that you can look after them anytime you should in the future.