by Albert Schuetz
The revised and expanded edition of Say It in Fijian presents Albert J. Schütz’s popular introduction to the Fijian language for the first time in an interactive, media-rich
Designed for use on most tablets, readers, and smart phones, the e-book includes an extensive selection of audio recordings that make it easy to hear and say simple Fijian words and phrases.
For example, as Schütz explains in the book, “the simplest way to begin using Fijian is with the greetings, and most common is:
Bula means literally ‘health’ or ‘life’. Nī means ‘you plural’, but it is also a respectful way of referring to just one person. The singular form, sā bula, or bula, can be used among close friends, rather in the same way as tu and du are in French and German.”
A masterfully crafted introduction to the Fijian language, the e-book edition of Schütz’s Say It in Fijian allows beginning students and casual visitors alike to quickly acquire a basic familiarity with many common and practical Fijian expressions. In addition, the e-book includes a collection of never before seen historical photographs depicting life and culture of Fiji in the 1960s.
In 1967–68, Ratu Rusiate Komaitai and I developed the language materials for the first Fiji Peace Corps training program and recorded audio tapes to match the lessons. This text morphed into Spoken Fijian(University of Hawai‘i Press, 1971). Although the second edition has been out of print for some years now, I still occasionally get requests for Fijian instructional material, including tapes.
Say it in in Fijian has its own history. When I suggested the project to Pacific Publications Pty. Ltd. one of the managers responded “Well, I don’t have much faith in tourists as book buyers …” As it turned out, this prediction was far off the mark, proving that tourists can be faithful book buyers!
The book, which resulted in a tiny reputation in Fiji for its author, was always an excuse to visit most of the small bookstores on drives around Viti Levu. One occasion in particular sticks in my mind. A friend and I had stopped at Sigatoka for lunch, after which I was prepared to don my bookseller’s persona and check a nearby bookstore to see if it carried Say it in Fijian. Not only was the book prominently displayed, but the owner seemed pleased to meet an actual author. We were promptly invited to his living quarters and served tea and biscuits. This felt better, and was much more satisfying, than any large book-signing ever could have done.
Adding sound and pictures for the first e-book edition of Say it in Fijian has been an exciting and challenging experience. I’m sure that these new dimensions will greatly enhance every user’s experience with the book.