''Te taetae ni Kiribati - The language of Kiribati''.pdf

August 1, 2017 | Author: Thriw | Category: Adjective, Verb, Onomastics, Language Mechanics, Syntactic Relationships
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Te taetae ni Kiribati The language of Kiribati

Objective: The goal of this lesson is to acquaint

you with the greetings in use in Kiribati today, and when it is appropriate to use them. By the end of the lesson you should be able to greet someone in a variety of situations, and give appropriate responses.

dialogue for memorization Te Kamauri



Ko na mauri !




Mauri !




Ko uara?


How are you?


Ko rab'a, I marurung. Ao ngkoe, ko uara?


Thank you, I'm fine. And you, how are you?


I marurungi naba, ko rab'a.


I'm fine also, thank you.

Activities: Memorize both roles of the dialogue.

Practice initiating the sequence and responding to someone else's offered greetings, reversing roles periodically.

Nanon te taeka ko na mauri! uara marurung ko rab'a naba

Meaning of the words greetings, ('you will be well') be how? (interrogative word) good health thank you also

Note Unlike the English greeting "hello," ko na mauri is generally used only for a first meeting, or after some time has passed since the greeters have last met. It is often abbreviated to a simple Mauri! When meeting in passing, as on the road, the i-Kiribati will more often use expressions like: Ko na aera? Where are you going? Ko na nakea? Where are you going? Ko na toki iia? Where will you stop? Ko na boo nakea? Where are you going? Or if the person is known to be going in the direction of his home Ko nako maiia? Where are you coming from? Ko a oki? You're returning? Ko boo maiia? Where are you coming from?

Supplementary Activities: 1. Using the additional vocabulary items listed in the next section, create new dialogues appropriate to different times of day. Vary your role to be initiator and responder. 2. Change these dialogues into ones appropriate for situations where it is not the first meeting of the day.

Suggestions for further use: •

Take a walk through the community, trying out appropriate greetings on the people you meet.

Make note of their responses, and report any new additions to your greeting repertoire.

Supplementary Materials: te b'akantaai aei te tairiki aei

this afternoon

this evening/tonight te ingaabong aei this morning

With the addition of the linking particle n, these phrases can be added to (ko na) mauri or ko uara, providing more time specific greetings. Similarly te bong aei today For example: Ko uara n te bong aei? Modification of responses can include

rangi ni bati ni aki teutana

very much not not bad, a little

For example: I aki rangi ni marurung. Or: A: Ko uara? B: Teutana.

Additional Note Ko is the singular form of the second person pronoun, in the form used before a verb. When more than one person is being addressed, the plural form kam is used: Kam na mauri! Ngkoe is also a pronoun standing for "you", but is used in places other than before a verb, such as for a one word answer to a question.

2 Antai aram? - Reirei Uoua What's your name? - Lesson Two Objectives: This lesson provides a means for discovering people's

names, as well as an introduction to some common grammatical features – possessive pronouns and person demonstratives. After mastering the material in this lesson, you should be able to ask the name of someone you meet, ask someone about others' names, and answer

these questions when addressed to you.

dialogue for memorization Antai aram?

What's your name?

A: Taiaoka Nao, antai aram?

A: Please sir, what's your name?

B: Arau ______, ao ngkoe antai aram? A: Arau ______. Ao antai aran teuaanne / neienne? B: Arana ______.

B: My name is ______, and you, what's your name? A: My name is ______. And what's his / her name, that man / woman? B: His / Her name is ______.

A: Antai aran teuaarei / neierei?

A: What's the name of that man / woman there?

B: I aki ataia, ko konaa n titirakinna.

B: I don't know, you can ask him / her.

Activities: 1. A list of Kiribati names with their English equivalents

follows. Select a name for yourself, and use your new name and those of your fellow students in playing out the dialogue. 2. Memorize the dialogue.

Taian ara ni mm'aane: Arobati Arekantara Anterea Antonio B'arotorome Beniamina Tiaare Kiritoba Tawita Etuati, Etuare, Etuete Eria Baraniko, Barantiti Tioti Eneri, Enere, Erene Tiemti laone, Tiaon, loane loteba luriuti Rui Mareko Mataio Maikare, Mikaere Mote Nikora Bateriki, Baterika Bauro Betero, Bita Biribo Tebano Taomati, Tooma, Tom, Taom Waoreta Wiriam, Uriam

Some names of men: Albert Alexander Andrew Anthony Bartholomew Benjamin Charles Christopher David Edward Elias Francis George Henry James John Joseph Julius Louis Mark Matthew Michael Moses Nicolas Patrick Paul Peter Phillip Stephen Thomas

Taian ara n aiine: Akineti Ameria Anna Beatirike Karorina Torotea Eritabeta Emeri Itabera Tien

Some names of women: Agnes Amelia Ann Beatrix Caroline Dorothy Elizabeth Emily Isabella Jane

Walter William

Taeka riki tabeua: arau, aram, arana, aran arara, aramii, araia uaakai, uaakanne, uaakekei teuaaei, teuaanne, teuaarei

Some additional words: my name, your name, his name, name of our names, your names, their names these men, those men, those men there this man, that man, that man there these people, those people, those people there this woman, that woman, that woman there those people

naakai, naakanne, naakekei neiei, neienne, neierei aomata akekei

additional dialogues Antai aramii?

What are your names? Approaching a group


Taioka naaka, antai aramii?

Excuse me folks, what are your names?


Arau ngai ______.

My name is ______.


Ao ngai ______.

And I'm ______.


Arau ______.

My name is ______.


Ao ngai arau ______.

And me, my name is ______. One introduces the others


Taioka naaka, antai aramii?

Excuse me folks, what are your names?


Arau ngai ______. Aran neiei ______, ao teuaaei ______. Ao aran teuaarei / neierei ______.

My name is ______. The name of this woman is ______, and this man, ______. And the name of that man / woman is ______.

Additional Activities:

Using the additional vocabulary provided, as well as these new model dialogues, create new dialogues for different situations, using the Kiribati names you have chosen. Act them out with various members of your class.

Note Nao (Sir), Neiko, Nei (Miss), and Naaka (You folks) are generally used as terms of address for attracting attention, as when someone isn't looking at you, and are not often used when you already have someone's attention. Neiko seems to have a connotation of familiarity when spoken by a man, especially a stranger. (On Nonouti (S.), Atae is used for Sir or Madam.)

3 Iraua am ririki? - Reirei Teniua How old are you? - Lesson Three

Objectives: This lesson will familiarize you with some ways of

talking about age - asking how old someone is, finding out who is older or younger than you, etc.

dialogue for study

Iraua am ririki?

How old are you?


Nao, ante natina anne?


Sir, whose son (child) is that?


Bon natiu.


It is my son.


Ai iraua ana ririki?


How old is he?


I taku b'a tao ai nimaua ke onoua ana ririki. N na titirakina neiei b'a tao e ataia. Neiko ai iraua ana ririki teuaaei?


I think he is about five or six. I'll ask this woman if she knows. 'Woman', how old is this boy?


I taku b'a e a kani koro onoua n te ririki aei. N na titirakina m'aanena aei. Tebora ai iraua ngkai ana ririki Te Karianako?


I think he is about six this year. I'll ask his sister here. Deborah, how old is Karianako now?


I aki ataia. Au ririki ngai ai ruaiua.

Deborah: I don't know. I'm nine now.

Activities: 1. Study the dialogue carefully, going over each

sentence with your teacher so that you understand what each of the expressions means. Once you have grasped the meaning, assign the roles of the conversation and act them out. 2. Once you have acted out the dialogue, try putting similar questions to the members of your class. At this point you will need some help with the numbers for your responses, which you can get from your teacher and from the grammar sections on numbers. (p. 103 in the Grammar)

Note Before the name Karianako in the dialogue is the article Te. Often when a name is mentioned which has a meaning (karianako = in large quantity) a personal article will be used. See the section in the grammar on articles for more information on the use of this article. (Lesson 14, p. 87)

additional dialogue


A! I a tib'a uringga! Ai itiua ana ririki.

Deborah: Oh! I just remembered it! He is now seven years old.


E ikawai riki Neiei uoua te ririki nakon teuaaei.


This girl is two years older than this boy.


E eng, ana ririki teuaaei ngkai ai itiua.


Yes, he's now seven years old.

4 Kaain iia ngkoe? - Reirei Aua Where are you from? - Lesson Four

Objectives: This lesson is set on a plane, a first meeting. It is

centered around the question of where you come from, and what you are doing. Explaining where you come from will probably come up often, and this lesson should prepare you with some possible ways of responding.


Study the dialogue well. Afterwards you should be able to ask and answer questions pertaining to the content, such as who comes from where, where they are going, what they will do, etc. (in Kiribati) Prepare a set of these questions to direct to the rest of your class.

dialogue for study

Kaain iia ngkoe?

Where are you from?

Te kaaitiboo iaon te waanikiba

Meeting on the plane

Iai uoman mm'ane, temanna te tia reirei ae boni kaaini Kiribati ao temanna te Peace Corps Volunteer. A uaia ni bootaki n tekateka. Ai tib'a te moan tai ae a kaaitiboo iai iaon te waanikiba. E moana te marooroo te Peace Corps Volunteer...

There are two men, one a teacher who is I Kiribati and one a Peace Corps Volunteer. They are sitting together. They have just met on the plane. The PCV begins the conversation ...


Nao ko na mauri. Antai aram?

Peter: Hello sir. What's your name?


Ko na mauri. Arau Baraniko ao ngkoe antai aram?



Arau Bita. Kaain iia ngkoe?

Peter: My name is Peter. Where are you from?


Boni kaain Abemama ngai ma I mm'akuri i Tarawa. Au mm'akuri bon te tia reirei ma N na nako ni motirawa irouia au karo i Abemama.



Ngai N na nako naba Abemama ni mm'akuri.

Peter: I'm going to Abemama too, to work.


Taninga, ao kaain iia ngkoe?



Ngai boni kaain Florida i Amerika ao I roko b'a te Peace Corps Volunteer n aroia VSO mai Buritan.

Peter: I'm from Florida in America, and I've come as a PCV, like the VSO from Britain.


Taiaoka, ao teraa am mm'akuri i Bara: Abemama?


N na mm'akuri n te ununiki ikekei.

Additional Activities:

Hello. My name is Baraniko, what's yours?

I'm from Abemama but I work on Tarawa. I work as a teacher and I'm taking my vacation with my parents on Abemama.

Wait, where are you from?

Excuse me, what's your work on Abemama?

Peter: I'm going to work in agriculture there.

Study this additional dialogue until you understand it. Then rewrite it, using facts from your life for the life for the new content. Present your new dialogue to the class.

additional dialogue


Boni kaain Abemama ngkoe?

Bara: E eng, boni kaain Abemama ngai ma I bungiaki i Tarawa. Bita:

Peter: And you, are you really from Abemama? Bara:

Yes, I'm Abemaman, but I was born on Tarawa.

E ngaa te aba ae ko tangiria riki Peter: Which island do you like better, Abemama ke Tarawa? Abemama or Tarawa?

Bara: I tangira riki Abemama. E rangi ni bati te aomata i Tarawa. I kukurei riki ni maeka i Abemama. Ao ngkoe, boni kaain Florida?



Peter: No, I'm from Nevada, but I work as a carpenter in Florida.

Tiaki, ngai boni kaain Nevada ma I mm'akuri b'a te kaabenta i Florida.

I like Abemama better. There are too many people on Tarawa. I'm happier living on Abemama. And you, are you really from Florida?

Bara: E ngaa te tabo ae ko tangiria riki Florida ke Nevada?



Peter: I like Nevada better because there aren't so many people there either.

I tangira riki Nevada b'a e aki bati naba te aomata iai.

Which place do you like better, Florida or Nevada?

Bara: E raoiroi tao ti na boni manga kaaitiboo iaon Abemama n tabetai.



Peter: Yes, and thanks also.

E eng, ko rab'a naba.

Bara: Ao ngkoe ko rab'a naba. Ti a manga kaaitiboo rimwii.


That's good, maybe we'll meet again sometimes on Abemama.

Thank you too. We'll meet again later.

5 Te Katei n te M'aneaba - Reirei Nimua Maneaba Speech - Lesson Five Objectives: You may have occasion to be invited to a maneaba, the

village meeting house, and it would not be unlikely for you to be asked to give a short talk, explaining who you are and why you are there. This small monologue will

provide you with a basic idea of what you might say.


The monologue is to be memorized. When you have memorized it, present it to your class as if they were the people of the maneaba.

monologue for memorization

Te Katei n te M'aneaba

Maneaba Speech

Kam na mauri ni kabane. Arau bon __________. Ngai bon te Peace Corps Volunteer mai Amerika. Te Peace Corps bon te bootaki n ibuobuoki i Amerika n ai aroia VSO mai Buritan.

Hello everyone. My name is __________. I am a Peace Corps volunteer from America. The Peace Corps is an organization of voluntary service in America, like the VSO from Britain.

I rangi ni kukurei ngkai e konaa n reke au tai n roko iaoni Kiribati ao ni mm'akuri naba ma ngkamii. Au kaantaninga b'a inanon au tai ibuakomii ae uoua te ririki, ao N na kataia ni buokingkamii. N na boni buokaki naba n reirei aron amii katei ao katein abamii ae Kiribati.

I am very happy to have this chance to come to Kiribati and to work with you. I hope that in the two years that I will stay here I will be of some help to you, and that you will help me to know more of your customs and country.

Ti ngaia aanne ao kam rab'a.

That's all I have to say – Thank you very much.

Note It is the custom when visiting a maneaba to bring a gift for the old men, the patriarchs of the village. This is called te mweaka or te moan nei, and is usually tobacco – ten sticks being considered appropriate. It can be presented to one of the old men, usually wrapped in paper, with the explanation that "this is for all of you".

supplementary dialogue

Titiraki mairouia te bootaki

Questions from the Group

mm'aane: Taiaoka, bukin teraa ngkai kam nakomai Peace Corps Volunteers nako Kiribati?

Man: Excuse me, why have you Peace Corps Volunteers come here to Kiribati.


E koaua, a kanakoaki Peace PCV: Truly, Peace Corps Volunteers Corps Volunteers nakon aaba are sent throughout the world. nako n te aonnaaba aei. Iai There are Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers i Aatia, Volunteers in Asia, Africa, Aberika ao aaba aika a bati n and many countries in the te Betebeke. Pacific.

mm'aane: Ao kaanga teraa aia mm'akuri Peace Corps Volunteers? PCV:

Man: And what is their work, the Peace Corps Volunteers?

A bati aia mm'akuri ae a konaa PCV: They can do many jobs. There ni karaoia. Iai aika a mm'akuri are some who work as b'a taan reirei, taani kateitei, teachers, some in construction, taan ununiki, taan akawa ao some in agriculture, some in mm'akuri riki tabeua. fishing and other works.

mm'aane: Ko rab'a n am taeka. Ti rangi ni kukurei ni bootaki ma ngkoe.

Man: Thanks for your talk. We are very happy to meet with you.

6 Maanra? - Reirei Onoua How long? - Lesson Six Objectives: This lesson will teach you something about time -

questions as to how long you've been somewhere, names of the days of the week and months of the year, and similar expressions. You will also get some additional practice with the numbers.


Study the dialogue, paying special attention to the way of asking "how long". Using the calendar, create a new set of questions to direct to your class, along the lines of: 'I arrived here on Tuesday, April 3, and I'll be leaving the 2nd of May. How long is my stay?', etc. (In te taetae ni Kiribati, of course!)

dialogue for study




How long?

Maria: Nao, ko na mauri. I taku b'a aio ara moan tai ni kaaitiboo. Ai maanra ngkoe ikai?

Maria: How do you do sir. I think this is the first time we've met. How long have you been here?

Bauro: E koaua. I roko ikai n te Kanimabong aei. Te bong aei bon te Taabati are nanona b'a ai tib'a tenibong au bong ikai.


It's true. I just arrived here last Friday. Today is Sunday, so I've just been here for three days.

Maria: Ao a na maanra ngkoe n tiku ikai? Maria: And how long are you going to stay here? Bauro: I aki maan. N na tiku ikai ni Paul: karokoa te nam'akaina ae Meei. Tao N na kiitana ikai ni moan wiikin Meei. Tao ai ti teniua riki te wiiki.

Not long. I'll be here until the month of May. Maybe I'll leave in the first week of May. Perhaps about three more weeks.

Note In English, when giving the date, we use the ordinal numbers – the first of March, the third of June, August fifth. In Kiribati, however, the cardinal series is used, March 4 = aua ni Maati (four of March), April 17 = tebwi ma itiua n Eberi (seventeen of April), without the article.

supplementary voacbulary



n te bong aei




ae e na roko

this coming

ae e nako


te bong


te wiiki


te nam'akaina


te ririki


Bongin te wiiki Te Moanibong Te Kauabong Te Katenibong Te Kaabong Te Kanimabong Te Kaonobong Te Taabati Te Nam'akaina Tianuare Beberuare Maati Eberi Meei Tuun Tuurai Aokati Tebetemb'a Okitob'a Nobemb'a Ritemb'a

Note The days of the week and the months should need no translation. Notice the construction of the names of the days. They are the ordinals before the word 'day': the first day, the second day, etc. The word for Sunday is Taabati = Sabbath. (Be careful of Tuesday, the second day – it's Kauabong, not Kauouabong!) The names of the months are taken from the English.

7 Ko maeka iaa? - Reirei Itiua Where do you live? - Lesson Seven

Objectives: This lesson teaches you how to ask someone where

they live, and how to tell someone where you live. This sort of situation should occur frequently in your stay in Kiribati, as it is a common topic of conversation; so try to learn it well!

dialogue for study

Ko maeka iaa?

Where do you live?

Toma: Ko na mauri Eneri! Ko mena iaa n taai aika a nako? Eneri:


Hello Henry! Where have you been?

I a kamani kiitana ikai. Ai bon Henry: I've been away quite a while. tib'a okiu aei. This is my first return visit.

Toma: E koaua! Ao ko maeka iaa?



Henry: I'm living on Tarawa. I work for the Ministry of Education. What about you, do you still live in the same village?

I maeka i Tarawa. I mm'akuri n te Bootaki n Reirei. Ao ngkoe, ko boni maeka naba n am kaawa aarei?

Toma: I a aki ngkai. I a manga maeka Tom: i Teaoraereke. I a tib'a katea au auti iai. E a kani bane rauna n toka. Karekea am tai n nooria. Eneri:

E eng, I rangi ni kan nooria – b'a e mena iaa?

Really! And where are you living?

Not now. I live in Teaoraereke. I'm just building my house there. I've just about finished thatching the roof. You should make time to see it.

Henry: Yes, I'd like to see it. But where is it located?

Toma: E kaan ma te m'aneaba i Teaoraereke.



Henry: Good. I'll make some time to see it.

E raoiroi. N na karekea au tai n nooria.

It's near the Maneaba at Teaoraereke.

Toma: E tau, ti a manga boo.



Henry: Yes, good-bye.

E eng, ti a boo.

Enough then, we'll meet again.

Activities: Study the dialogue well. When you understand it,

answer the questions below. See if you can think of additional questions on the dialogue and ask them of your class.

questions to answer



E maeka iaa Eneri ngkai?

Where does Henry live now?

E maeka ngkoa iaa?

Where did he live before?

Ao are raoraona, e mena iaa ngkai?

And his friend, where does he live now?

E a maan ni maeka ikekei?

Has he lived there long?

Antai ae e maeka i Teaoraereke?

Who lives in Teaoraereke?

Antai ae e maeka i Tarawa?

Who lives on Tarawa?

E a tia ni bane raun te auti?

Is the thatching of the house finished?

E kaan te m'aneaba nakon ana auti Toma? Is Tom's house near the maneaba?

Additional Activities:

Ask the additional questions of your class, and take turns answering them. Make up similar questions about where people live and put them to your class. Try changing the pronouns: "Where do I live" "Where does he live?" Where do we live?" and so on.

additional questions

Taian titiraki riki Ko maeka iaa? N te kaawa ke n te marenaua? E ngaa ae ko tangiria riki? I maeka n te kaawa. I maeka iaa? E maeka n te marenaua. E maeka iaa? Iai ae ko kinaa ae e maeka ikai? A maeka iaa am utuu? Ao im'aain aanne? [click on underlined words to jump to the glossary entry]

Translation of These questions should be becoming easier to understand by now. Only one or two words are additional new. Get in the habit of referring to the glossary questions:

and/or a dictionary if you have one. Keep a notebook to collect a list of your new vocabulary. Vocabulary is the key to the language!

Note Names of places must be preceded by the locative particle i in sentences like "I live in America" - "I maeka i Amerika." When you speak of coming from a place, use mai: I roko mai Teaoraereke. = I come from Teaoraereke.

8 Te Karaaure - Reirei Waniua The Farewell - Lesson Eight

Objectives: The topic of this lesson is 'farewell' - leaving

somewhere to go somewhere else. At the end of this lesson you should have some things to say about someone's leaving, and some things to say to someone leaving as well. Try to pick out and memorize some of the more appropriate expressions.

Activities: Study the dialogue well, then take a partner from your

classmates and rewrite the story as a narrative, changing the names of the characters and islands. (Your teacher can supply you with the names of the islands if you haven't learned them by now.) Read your narrative to the class, and see if they can follow your version. Make corrections where necessary.

dialogue for study

Te Karaaure

The Farewell

E nang kiitana Tarawa Tiaare n nako Nikunau n te bong aio. A tauraoi ana b'ai ni kabane ao e a tataningaa raona irarikin te kawai. E bon aki maan ao e a roko raoraona temanna.

Charles is about to leave Tarawa from Nikunau today. All of his things are ready and he is waiting for his friend by the side of the road. Soon one of his friends comes along.


Ko na mauri Tiaare. Ko na nakea?


Hello Charles. Where are you going?


N nangi nako Nikunau n te bong aei.


I'm going to Nikunau today.


Ko tuai ni maan ikai ao ko nangi nako naba!


You haven't been here long and you're already going!


E koaua ma e na kangaa!


That's true, but there's nothing I can do about it!


E tau ma au kaantaninga b'a ti Louis: na manga kaaitiboo n te bong teuana.

Well, I hope we'll meet again someday.


E eng tao n te bongi teuana.


Yes, maybe someday.


E tau ma ti a manga boo ao e na kab'aia am m'ananga.


Well then, good-bye – Have a good trip.


Ko rab'a Rui. Ti a manga boo naba.


Thanks, Louis. Good-bye again.


Ti a boo.



continuation of dialogue

Imwiina ao e a manga kaaitiboo Rui ma raoraona temanna irarikin naba te kawai...

Later, Louis meets another of his friends, also alongside the road...

Riira: Rui, ko a tia ni kaaitiboo ma Tiaare?



Louis: Yes. I just met with him on the road. He's going to Nikunau again.

E eng, I a bon tib'a boo naba ma ngaia irarikin te kawai. E nangi manga nako Nikunau.

Louis, have you seen Charles?

Riira: Tao ai maanra n nako? I rangi ni kani kaaitiboo ma ngaia im'aain nakona.



Louis: Only about ten minutes ago. I think he's still standing by the side of the road.

Tao ai tib'a tebwina te miniti n nako. I taku b'a are e bon teitei naba irarikin te kawai.

About how long ago? I'd very much like to see him before he goes.

Riira: E raoiroi ma N na nako moa ni kaboo ma ngaia im'aain nakona.



Louis: We'll meet again.

Ti a manga boo.

Riira: E eng, ti a boo.


Good - First I'll go meet with him before he leaves.


9 Te tia kan taetae - Reirei Onoua The Language Learner - Lesson Nine

Objectives: This lesson supplies you with a number of phrases you will find useful in explaining your language learning status, and thus in getting help with your language learning program. After mastering this lesson, you should be able to let someone know your level of competence in Kiribati, as well as to request certain kinds of assistance from them. Activities: Memorize the monologue. To practice the sentences write a dialogue based on these sentences. Choose a partner to help you prepare and play it out for the class.

monologue for memorization

Te tia kan taetae Taiaoka b'a I aki oota.

The Language Learner Excuse me, I don't understand.

I tuai n rabakau raoi n te taetae ni Kiribati b'a I a I'm not yet good at speaking Kiribati, because I'm just learning. tib'a reirei. Bon au kaantaninga b'a N na waetata n rabakau.

I hope to learn quickly.

Please speak slowly, and don't use I a butiiko ma kawiiremweko riki n taetae ao tai kaboonganai taeka aika a kaangaanga b'a I aonga difficult words, so that I can learn more quickly. ni waetata n rabakau.

Ko rab'a.

Thank you.

Supplementary Activities:

Study the supplementary dialogue, which is a possible continuation of your monologue. It presents a not-too-uncommon situation of not being understood and not understanding what someone says. In this case it is a correction of the improper use of a word. Try acting it out.

supplementary dialogue


Ko rabakau n taetae ni Kiribati?


Can you speak Kiribati?


I tuai raoi b'a I a tib'a reirei.


Not really because I'm just learning.


Titeboo ma ae ko bon rabakau.


You seem to be good at it.


I tuai, I ti kinai taeka tabeua.


Not yet, I only recognize some words.


Ko atai taeka tabeua.


You know some words.


E kangaa? Tai kawiitatako.


What's that? Don't speak so fast.


I kaangai ko ti atai taeka tabeua, tiaki A: kinai taeka tabeua.

I said you only know some words, not recognize some words.


I aki oota.


I don't understand.


I a tib'a ataia b'a ko nangi tib'a reirei te taetae ni Kiribati.


I just realized that you really don't speak Kiribati yet.


E kangaa?


What's that again?


E a tau ma ti a boo.


That's enough, good-bye.


Ti a kaboo.



Note Pay attention to the italicized words in the supplementary dialogue. Kinai means 'know, recognize' when used with people, but isn't used with things. Atai means 'know' when used with things. Don't confuse them like the speaker in the dialogue!

10 Teraa n te taetae ni Kiribati? - Reirei Tebwina What's it in Kiribati? - Lesson Ten

Objectives: This lesson provides you with some additional tools for

learning the language from people you meet. You'll learn how to say the letters of the alphabet, ask the names of things and how to spell them, and how to say something you only know the English for. Activities: The dialogue in this lesson is full of blank spaces. Take turns with your teacher filling in the blanks and continuing the dialogue appropriately. Once you have the idea you can try it with your classmates. Use the pictures in this lesson, others around the room, and objects which are handy, to provide the props for your questions.

fill-in dialogue

Teraa n te taetae ni Kiribati?

What's it in Kiribati?


Teraa n te taetae ni Kiribati te taeka ae __________?


What's the word __________ in Kiribati?


Te taeka ae __________ n te taetae ni Kiribati bon __________.


The word __________ in Kiribati is __________.


Aia __________?


It's __________?


E eng, ngaia.


Yes, that's it.


Ko konaa ni kaboonganaa inanon te kibu n taeka?


Can you use it in a sentence?


E eng, ______________________________.


Yes, ______________________________.


Ko rab'a.


Thank you.


Te raoi.


You're welcome.


Ao teraa aran te b'ai arei n te taetae ni A: Kiribati?

And what's the name of that thing in Kiribati?


Te __________.


A __________.


Te __________?


A __________?


Tiaki, te __________.


No, a __________.













The Sounds of the Alphabet The names of the vowel sounds: a = ah, e = eh, i = ee, o = oh, u = oo. The names of the nasal sounds: m = mm, n = nn, ng = ngg. The names of the nasal sounds: b = bee, k = kee, r = ree, t = see, w = wee. A ah

B bee

E eh

I ee

K kee

M mm

N nn

NG ngg

O oh

R ree

T see

U oo

W wee

Note When the alphabet is recited, b' and m' are not included separately. When the language was first written by Rev. Hiram Bingham* in the mid-19th Century he used the alphabetical order: a e i o u m n ng b k r t w. If you find a copy of his dictionary, this is the order in which the words appear. In modern times the order used is like the English. *Hiram Bingham 1831–1908, American Congregationalist missionary, b. Honolulu; son of Hiram Bingham (1789–1869). In 1857 he founded a mission on Abaiang in the Gilbert Islands (now part of Kiribati). Bingham adapted the language of the Gilbert Islands to writing. He translated the Bible and produced, among his numerous works, a Gilbertese Bible dictionary, hymnbook, and commentary on the Gospels, as well as a Gilbertese-English dictionary (1908).

continuation of fill-in dialogue


Ko konaa n tibeeranna? A:

Can you spell it?


E eng, __________.


Yes, __________.






E eng, boni ngaia anne.


Yes, that's it.


Ko bati n rab'a.


Thanks very much.


Te raoi.


You're welcome.

11 Te Marooroo - Reirei Tebwi ma teuana Conversation - Lesson Eleven

Objectives: This lesson will give you practice asking for the

meanings of words, and also give you some idea of the importance of 'talking about talking' in Kiribati culture. By the end of the lesson you should be able to ask for the meaning of a word you don't know, and have learned a number of new words about language. Activities: Study the dialogues and the cultural note. An additional list of words related to speech in Kiribati is provided at the end of the lesson. Practice your new question by asking your teacher for the meanings of some of these words. Keep track of your new vocabulary, along with the regular lesson vocabulary, in your language notebook.

dialogue for study

Te Marooroo



Taiaoka Bauro, teraa nanon te taeka Anna: ae 'marooroo'?

Please Paul, what's the meaning of the word 'conversation'?


E kaboonganaaki te taeka anne ngkana a bootaki uoman aomata ke a m'aiti riki n taetae ni kawai temanna nakon temanna.


That word is used when a group of people sit around talking to each other.


Iai riki taeka tabeua aika titeboo nanoia ma te taeka ae 'marooroo'?


Are there other words similar to 'conversation'?


E eng, iai 'kaboowi', 'karaki', 'kareke-nano'; A bati riki taeka n aron akanne.


Yes, there's 'conferring', 'storytelling' , 'sweet-talking' , and many more words like that.


Ao teraa nanon 'kaboowi'?


And what's the meaning of 'conferring'?


Te taeka anne e kaboonganaaki Paul: ngkana a bootaki tabeman aomata ni baairea taekan tao te mm'akuri ke te karikirake ke b'aai riki tabeua.

That word is used when a group of people gather together to discuss employment, promotion, or similar topics.


Cultural Note

Te marooroo bon te moa ni b'ai ni maiuia kaaini Kiribati. Ngkana ti nooria ao a boni m'aiti taeka ake a konaa ni kab'arab'araa kaanga aron te taetae b'a e kangaa. Ngkana ti taraiia aomata n te m'aneaba ao ti konaa n ataia b'a naake a rangi n atatai n aron te taetae ao naake a atongaki b'a taan rabakau n otooto a konaa n anganaki aia tabo ae kaanga a na rine riki iai ibuakoia aomata.

Conversation is of great importance in the life of Kiribati people. If we look, we can find many words which describe their ways of speaking. When we see the people in the maneaba, we realize that those who are skilled in speaking, and those who are said to be skillful composers, are given positions of honor.

additional dialogue


Anna: And 'story-telling'?

Ao 'karaki'?

Bauro: Anne boni kan titeboo ma marooroo Paul: ma iai te karaki tao man te boki ke te rongorongo ae e taekinna temanna nakon temanna ke temanna nakoia aika a m'aiti. Aana:

E a oota anne, ao 'kareke-nano'?

That one's almost like conversation, except that there's the story, maybe from a book or the news, told from one person to another or to the group.

Anna: That's clear. How about 'sweettalking'?

That's used for a conversation between a man and a woman, especially when the man's in love with her.

Bauro: Te taeka anne e kaboonganaaki ibukin te mm'aane ao te aiine aika a marooroo ngkana iai nanon te mm'aane iroun te aiine.



Anna: Thanks very much. I've just

Ko bati n rab'a. E a bati riki rabakauu n te taetae ni Kiribati. Ko rangi n rabakau ni kab'arab'arai nanon taeka.

Bauro: I aki bati n rabakau – ti teutana.

Additional Activities:

learned a lot about Kiribati. You're very skilled at translating the meanings of words.


I'm really not very skilled – just a little.

Study the additional dialogue. You should now be able to create similar dialogues using the new words you have learned from your teacher and the accompanying list. Write out a new dialogue, using meanings for new words and present it to your class.

Additional Vocabulary: b'anaa taekeeke b'anaa buubura b'anaa bangubangu wiirikiriki wiwitoka wiitata witokatoka wiwitata wiimatoa wiikateke wiirebwerebwe taetae n aakoi maningoongoo b'aab'arantiko kab'araria manikangare

12 I aki oota - Reirei Tebwi ma uoua I don't understand - Lesson Twelve

Objectives: This lesson gives you some practice with situations of

remembering, forgetting, and not understanding, all of which come up fairly frequently in the course of daily events. By the end of this lesson, you should remember how to say these words, and be able to signal to someone your particular problem – be it not remembering or not understanding, etc. Activities: This dialogue is intended to be acted out in class. Once you realize that it is a somewhat humorous and not too impossible situation, you should find it a little easier to act out the roles realistically. Find a partner, and make sure you understand before going ahead!

dialogue for dramatization

I aki oota

I don't understand


I aki oota.


I don't understand.


Ko aki oota n teraa?


What don't you understand?


I aki oota n te b'ai are ko taekinna.


I don't understand what you said.


Ko aki oota n te bai are I taekinna?


You don't understand what I said?


E eng, b'a teraa te b'ai are ko taekinna?


Right, what was it you said?


Ae e ngaa iai?




Are ko titirakinai.


What you asked me.


B'a e kangaa ngkoa au titiraki nakoim?


What was it I asked you?


I a manga m'aninga.


I've forgotten it.


Ko a manga m'aninga?


You forgot it?


E eng, b'a teraa ngkoa? Ko aki uringa A: am titiraki?

Yes, what was it? Don't you remember your question?


Ai ngkam I a aki uringa au titiraki aarei.


I don't know. I don't remember my question.


E tau akea boongana. M'aninga taekana ao ko rab'a.


That's enough, it's no use. Forget it – and thanks!


E koaua. Ti a m'aninga taekana ao te raoi naba.


Okay. We'll forget it - you're welcome.

Additional Activities:

Study the supplementary dialogue. Use it as a frame into which you can put new words and phrases, and act out some of these. The dialogue has two possible endings – one where you know the answer and one where you don't.

additional dialogue


Ko uringa b'a e kangaa te taeka ae __________ n taetae ni Kiribati?


Do you remember how to say __________ in Gilbertese?

I B:

E eng, I uringga.


Yes, I remember.


Ao e kangaa?


So what is it?


Bon(i) __________


It's __________


I aki, I a m'aninga.


No, I forget.


Bon(i) __________ ?


Is it __________?


E eng, boni ngaia!


Yes! I think that's it.

Kiribati Grammar Te taetae ni Kiribati The language of Kiribati

Grammar Handbook

Table of Contents 1. Sounds and Spelling a. The vowels b. The nasals c. The consonants d. Nasals before other consonants

2. Dialects 3. Intransitive Sentence Order a. Position of additional material

4. Transitive Sentence Order 5. Interrogatives - Part 1 a. yes - no questions b. negative questions c. tag questions d. tiaki

6. Interrogatives Part 2 Who, Whose a. antai - who b. antena - whose

7. Interrogatives - Part 3 What, How Many a. teraa - what b. raa - what, which? c. iraua - how many? d. Notes on asking 'what' e. Notes on asking 'the how


8. Interrogatives - Part 4 When, Where, Why a. nningai - when b. iia - where c. maiia - from where d. bukin teraa - why INTERROGATIVE REVIEW EXERCISES

9. Interrogatives - Part 5 Question Verbs a. ngaa - to be where b. aera - to do what c. uara - to be how d. nakea - to go where e. kangaa - to do how f. rikea - to pass by where g. iraanna - to do in what way

10. Imperatives - Part 1 a. basic imperative formation b. negative imperatives c. Imperatives with an(i) d. lengthened vowels

11. Imperatives - Part 2 1. formed with na a. first person plural b. second person c. negatives with na aki 2. with ke 3. taiaoka, butiiko 4. imperative verbs

12. Negatives 1. aki - not 2. tuai, tuai men - not yet,

never 3. negative response to questions a. aki b. tiaki c. akea

13. Nouns - Introductory 1. Nominalization 2. Possession 3. Plurality 4. Gender

14. The Article 1. te 2. taian(i) 3. te naa n 4. Person Articles

15. Pluralization 1. absence of te 2. presence of taian(i) 3. relative pronouns 4. demonstrative pronouns 5. Numbers 6. other quantity words 7. subject pronouns 8. objects 9. taan(i)

16. Numbers - Part 1 Introductory 1. -ua 2. 1-10 3. 10-100 4. 100-1,000 5. 1,000-1,000,000 6. over 1,000,000 7. years 8. how many?

17. Numbers - Part 2 Classifiers 1. -man 2. ira-man 3. position of numerals a. teuana 4. tabe a. tatabe 5. other classifiers a. note on teni and wani

18. Numbers - Part 3 -Ordinals 1. ordinals 2. used verbally 3. distributive 4. fractions 5. approximation 6. mathematics

19. Pronouns Introductory - Summary 1. emphatic 2. subject 3. object 4. possessive 5. poss. suffix 6. relative 7. demonstrative a. relative time b. relative place c. demonstrative time d. demonstrative place

20. Subject Pronouns 21. Emphatic/ Independent Pronouns

22. Object Pronouns a. reflexives

23. Possession - Part 1 Independent pronouns 24. Possession - Part 2 Suffixed pronouns 1. body parts 2. family relationships 3. intimate possessions 4. states of mind and feelings 5. positional relationships 6. nouns formed from verbs

25. Possession - Part 3 Genitive n 26. Demonstrative Pronouns 27. Person Demonstratives a. Neuter demonstratives

28. Relative Pronouns a. adjectives b. apposition c. person demonstratives + relatives

29. Adjectives 30. Adjectives - Part 2 Comparison a. intensification b. comparison c. superlative d. equality

e. summary

31. Verbs - General 1. Tense 2. Agreement 3. Interrogative, Adverbial & Adjectival 4. Repeated Action 5. Passive 6. Transitive Formation 7. 'To be' 8. 'To have'

32. Agent Marking 33. Reduplication 1. Usually 2. Continuity 3. Adjectives

34. Time Expressions Adverbial 1. Demonstrative Time Adverbs 2. Adverbial Expressions 3. Auxiliaries 4. Verbs

35. Locative Expressions 1. Locative Adverbs 2. Prepositions

36. Prepositions 1. i 2. irou 3. mai 4. man 5. n(i) 6. nako/nakon

37. Tense / Auxiliaries 1. present/past indeterminate 2. a - immediate indeterminate 3. tabe n - continued action 4. nang(i) - immediate future 5. na - general future 6. a tib'a - immediate past 7. a tia n - completed past 8. additional auxiliaries

38. Conjunctions 1. joining noun phrases 2. joining sentenial structures a. two verbs or adjectives b. second sentence as object of verb c. two simple sentences

39. Conditional Sentences 1. if 2. since, when 3. additional conjunctions

40. Compounding Appendix 1. Higher Numbers - Old System Appendix 2. Numeral classifiers

Lesson 1


Vowels Nasals Consonants Nasals before other consonants When studying a language, it is often useful to remember that the writing system is a set of symbols which attempts to represent the sounds of the language which are distinctive – those sounds which indicate changes in meaning. In practice it is not always easy to come up with a set of symbols which everyone agrees on, and this has been the case with Kiribati, which was first written in the mid19th century by missionaries translating the Bible. Since that time, various writing systems have been proposed and used, and while a great deal of regularity has emerged, there is still no complete agreement on how certain sounds should be written. The spelling system used in this text does not deviate much from those in general use, but it does attempt to make the differences in pronunciation as explicit as possible. (Specifically, this means that you will find many doubled vowels and nasals in this text, where in most other writing you would find only a single form e.g. marooroo / maroro). On the following pages the sound and spelling system of Kiribati is described in some

detail. You are not expected to master all of the intricacies of pronouncing and spelling Kiribati in his one lesson; please consider this lesson as an introduction only. You will probably find yourself referring back to this lesson as you work through the language program. To examine the sounds of Kiribati, it is convenient to group them into vowels, nasals, and consonants.

1. The Vowels a aa

e ee

i ii

o oo

u uu

Kiribati vowels may appear as both long and short sounds, and meanings of words will often be distinguished by this difference. As this is not a characteristic of English, some difficulty may be expected in this area. It is in the representation of vowel length that many of the spelling systems differ. Often, length is not indicated at all, or only in some words. In this text length will be indicated by a doubled letter; it may be thought of as the sound followed by itself. There is no restriction on vowel combinations; therefore long vowel strings may occur, such as in the word ruoia, a kind of Kiribati national dance. These vowel combinations may also be expected to provide some difficulty. (Note: The following description of Kiribati sounds should be considered as a reminder rather than as a guide. Actual pronunciation should be learned from a native Kiribati speaker.)

a aa This is pronounced like the a in father, or the vowel sound of hot, spot, not. While it keeps this pronunciation after b' and m', after b and m it has a sound more like that in cat, bat, or hat.

man maan

from; animal long time; animals

m'ata mata

caterpillar eye; color

baba board; fool b'ab'a to drown

e ee

This is generally pronounced like the vowel in hate, cane, make. ben coconut been coconuts tebe enga reke uee

to jump, dart, bounce up to be where? gotten flower i


This has the sound of the vowel in heap, meet, speak. ika iika

fish fish (plural)

ingaabong tiku riki aiine

morning to stay to become women

o oo

This is like the vowel of hope, coat, smoke. ota oota

residue of scraped coconut light

koro roki ongo tooro

husking stick curtain to hear slaves

u uu

This usually has the sound of the vowel in moon, soup, boot. When it appears

immediately before another vowel, it is difficult to distinguish from w. taku takuu

to say curved

uee bua ruuruu um'a

flower lost cleaning out a shell house 2.

m mm

m' mm'

The Nasals

n nn

ng ngg

Like the vowels, the nasal sounds may also occur lengthened, which may provide some difficulty for English speakers. This is another area in which spelling systems do not agree, often failing to indicate the additional length. For the most part these sounds are similar to those occurring in English.

m mm Except when lengthened, this is basically as in English. Unlike the other nasals, it may occur directly before any nasal or consonant sound, providing some combinations which are rare or non-existent in English. (A following a has the vowel sound of hat, cat, rat.) mate mmanii mka m'baa mronron mte nama koom

death thin rotten to kiss round small, fine lagoon comb m'


This symbol is only used before a, in which case the vowel sound remains like that in hot, top, or mock. (Some systems write ma for both sounds ma and m'a. In others, m'a is written mwa. It never occurs before o or u.)

um'a mm'aane mm'akuri kanimm'a m'ai

house male work adhere it cooked n


The n sound is basically that of English, except that it too can be lengthened. It can also occur alone however, as in, the word N, (the pronoun "I"). nako kana nnewe ntabena man N nrairai

to go to eat lobster kind of crab from; animal I (before future) exhaustion ng


Although written with two symbols, ng is also a single sound, quite similar to that appearing in the English word singer (though not the sound in finger). ngai ngare kangaa ang eng ngka ngenge uringga



I to laugh how wind yes give me a begging look remember it 3.




The Consonants w

The Kiribati consonants may only appear at the beginning or middle of a word, never finally. They never occur adjacent to each other (although b' is usually spelled bw before i and e). The spelling symbols for the consonants are not always good indicators of pronunciation, as quite a bit of variation occurs before different vowels, so some care must be taken to memorize the correct sound/symbol correspondences.

b This sound is somewhere between the English b and p, and was often spelled with a p

in some earlier systems. It is rather like the p in spit. (The sound of a following a is as in cap, hat, back.) bane beebete koobe buoka biri

finished easy, light coffee to help to run b'


Like m' this symbol only appears before a, where it has the effect of retaining the 'hot, stop, lock' sound of a. (Some writing systems don't use a separate symbol for b', using b for both sounds. It is written bw before i and e. It never occurs before o or u.) b'aka rab'a bwe bwia b'aa mb'aa

to fall thanks oar, paddle floor rock, oil to kiss t

This sound is some where between the English t and d, rather like the t in stick. When it occurs before i it is pronounced as an s (so that ti, 'only, we', is pronounced like see). In the Northern dialect it has this s pronunciation before u as well. (see next chapter on dialects. ) toka tiku matuu tei mata

to get on to stay to sleep to stand eye, color k

This is pronounced somewhere between the English g and k, but rather similar to the k in skill. karea bike kiika tiku korea

to throw beach octopus to stay to cut r

A somewhat difficult sound for English speakers, it is made with a tap of the tongue,

and sometimes sounds like a d or dr. roko rama bure ririki reirei

come, arrive outrigger boom error year school w

This is usually pronounced similarly to w in English, but is often between w and v. Before e it is always pronounced as a v. (It never occurs before o or u.) waa wetea kewe wii rawa

canoe to call to lie tooth passage

Exercises In many cases these exercises illustrate contrasts in pronunciation as well as the simple pronunciation of a symbol. Practice reading the lists both down and across, getting the correct pronunciation from your teacher. After completing the pronunciation drills, practice hearing the contrasts by taking dictation from your teacher with the text closed.

a - aa

man b'ab'a baba maama b'a kana bana bao tan m'ane

maan b'aab'aa baabaa maamaa b'aa kanaa baana baao taan m'aane b

baba baabaa baa bata bai raba baka

b'ab'a b'aab'aa b'aa b'ata b'ai rab'a b'aka m

mata mane rama mai maaka

m'ata mane ram'a m'ai m'aaka

mka mb'aa mronron mnaao mrara taamnei maninga

mwenga mwi m'ai m'aane moko mm'akuri kanimm'a e

ben been beka beeka bebe beebee i

- ii

- b'

- m'

- ee

ika iika tiku tiiku tibu tiibu o

- oo

ota rota bora koro toro

oota roota boora kooro tooro u

taku ruru bubu bua tua

takuu ruuruu buubuu buua tuua t

toka taka tiku tua tei

- uu

katea roota toto matuu matie k

karea ke kiika ko kuuka kunea

roko ngkoe bike baka toki tiku r

rama rere riki roko rao ruura

rawa bure taari baro Beru uraura w

waa wetea wii wati

rawa kewe Rewii wene n

nako nete nii noku nuuka

konaa wene kani bono benu

na n karina kana nete

nna nne karinna kanna nnewe ng

ngare ngea ngio ngongo ngure

kangaa kangeri manging ongo ibengu

ben kan on un in n

- nn

bong kiing ung tang eng ngg

ngai ngkai ngkoe tiringga riingga uringga vowel

- ngk


ae mai bai aera taetae tuae aea bua

ai m'ai b'ai aira taitai tuai aia burae

tou routa ao mao aoraki tao aon aue

too roota au m'au auti tau karau uee

uota uaa aua tua bue

ruoia waa aoa tuae bwe

uia meang keu ia tai tia bia

wii aea ruoia ie tia tie matie

tei nei

ririu ngkoe

Section 2 - Nasals before other consonants Some nasals before other nasals or consonants require the insertion of i. Some

variation exists as to whether the inserted i is written, but in this text it will always be shown.

m m' This is the only nasal which does not require the insertion of i before other nasals or consonants. (m' is not distinguished from m before nasals or consonants.)

ng Ng requires the insertion of i when it appears before another nasal (m, m', n), or before any consonant except k. This is the case both internally or at the end of the word before a word starting with m, m', n, b, b', r, t, w. nang about to N nang kiitana Betio. I'm about to leave Betio. N nangi nako. I'm about to go. kang kangkang

eat delicious

tang tangitang

cry complaints, crying


N requires the insertion of i before the other nasals, and before all the consonants except t and r. (Nor before itself: taian nati.) Because of the frequency of occurrence of n as a linking particle or genitive marker, it is often necessary to decide between n and ni, and so the environments for the change should be carefully studied. rang + n + bati + n + raoiroi very+ n + much+ n + good rangi ni bati n raoiroi = very very good rang + n + bati + n + kukurei very+ n + much+ n + happy rangi ni bati ni kukurei = very very happy

rua ni mate nati n uea nuuka ni bong baba n takataka

grave (pit of death) prince (child of king) midnight (middle of the night) copra board (board of copra)

kaain Onotoa kaaini Kiribati kaain Taiti kaaini Buritan kaain Ruutia kaaini Wereti kaain Nauru kaaini Maiana

person of Onotoa person of Kiribati person of Tahiti person of Britain person of Russia person of Wales person of Nauru person of Maiana

I konaa n tiku I can stay i konaa ni karaoia I can do it I kan tiku I kani karaoia

I want to stay I want to do it

Exercises Insert the i into the following phrases where appropriate:

um'a n kuuka tang n ataei bong n kukurei burae n moa oti n tai kaain Amerika boki n te reirei mane n kirabu kaibuke n kamb'ana tang n kitaa bong n te namakaina Aro n Katorika tabo n mm'akuri kona n tiku kan mm'akuri taan reirei taan mm'akuri taian titooa taian kiika taian boom


(Note to teachers: This lesson is optional. See manual.) Although little difficulty is encountered in understanding the speakers from all areas, there are two main dialects, the Northern and Southern. The Northern dialect extends from Butaritari/Makin south to Nonouti, and includes Tarawa, the capital island. The southern dialect encompasses the remainder of the group, extending from Tabiteuea south to Arorae. The principal difference in pronunciation is in the sound of the t when it occurs before u. In the North, t is pronounced as an s before u, just as it is before i in both areas. In the South, t is pronounced as a t before u, just as it is before all the vowels except i. Some differences may also be encountered in the pronunciation of some common words or phrases, such as


















my skin

There are also some dialect distinctions between the language as spoken in the Butaritari/Makin area and the rest of the group:









you people



come here





kuria waem

hurry up






this thing



these people



those people




enga (e nga)

anga (a nga)

where is?







te atama

te nono



kabakabaka (kabakaa) throw

te moimoto

te ni

drinking coconut

moi moimoto


drink moimoto




wirebwerebwe wi n tokoro







to sit

Another characteristic difference between the speech of Butaritari/Makin and the rest of the group is in the pronunciation of the article te. In Butaritari/Makin it is pronounced ta before nouns beginning with ka and nga:


Butaritari/Makin gloss

te kai

ta kai

the stick

te nga

ta nga

(the) fathom

te ngabingabi ta ngabingabi

kind of mat

te katam'a

the cat

ta katam'a

Exercises Practice pronouncing the words in the following list, first with a Northern pronunciation, then with a Southern: matua to sleep tuai not yet itiua seven Tuun June tua law Turai July katuka leave behind katua kind of game butubutu to crowd rotu dull tituaraoi generous tu needle tuka lower (as a sail) In addition, if you will be spending time in Butaritari/Makin, it will be useful to study the list of expressions shown in the lesson as special to that area.

Lesson 3


In most, if not all, of the world's languages, word order is one of the basic means for expressing the relationship between the parts of a sentence. Intransitive sentences are those in which there is no direct object of the verb. For example, this English sentence: That man walks. 1 2 In this sentence, the subject phrase 'that man' comes first, followed by a form of the verb 'to walk'. A Kiribati sentence expressing the same idea is: E nakonako teuaarei. 1' 2 1 In Kiribati, the subject phrase teuaarei 'that man' comes at the end of the sentence, after the verb nakonako 'to walk', but the verb is preceded by a subject pronoun e 'he, she, it' which "agrees" with the subject. In this case it is the third person singular form. Therefore, if you were to translate this sentence word for word into English, using the same order, it would come out: He walks that man. 1' 2 1 English shows "agreement" between the verb and most third person singular subjects by adding an s to the end of the verb. (Many languages add small forms to verbs to show agreement with subject person and number, but English only does so for the third person singular.) Kiribati does a similar job by putting a subject pronoun in front of the verb. A different pronoun is used for each person and number. (see lesson on subject pronouns.)

I nakonako ngai. I walk (me) Ko nakonako ngkoe. you walk (you) In connected discourse, once the subject has been mentioned it is no longer necessary to repeat it in following sentences: E nakonako teuaarei. E turatura. This is the same as in English, where the pronoun replaces the noun subject which has already been mentioned: That man is walking. He is limping. You may notice that while the English uses a form of the verb "to be" (is), in Kiribati there is no verb "to be". E she

kangare neierei. (be) funny that woman That woman is funny. Position of additional material

When a sentence contains additional material, such as a phrase following a preposition (to, at, by, with...), the usual position for the subject phrase is still at the end of the sentence: E he

nakonako nakon te titooa teuaarei. walk to the store that man That man is walking to the store. While there is some variation in the position of these prepositional phrases in the speech of many i-Kiribati, you will not go wrong in keeping the subject in this position. However, when the additional material is a form of time adverb, (today, now, sometimes, this morning...), it generally comes at the end of the sentence, after the subject: E he

E he

na will

nakonako nakon te titooa teuaarei ningaabong. walk to the store that man tomorrow That man will walk to the store tomorrow.

turatura teuaarei n te bong aei. limp that man today That man is limping today. As in the case of the prepositional phrases, you will encounter some variation in the position of time adverbs in the normal

speech of most i-Kiribati. You will find however, that keeping the time adverb in final position will virtually always be acceptable and understood.

Exercises A. Rearrange the following groups of words into good Gilbertese sentences 1. Baie Baie 2. I I 3. ataei children 4. nako go 5. matuu sleep 6. aiine women 7. neierei that woman 8. a they 9. roko come 10. te unimm'aane the old man 11. aoraki sick 12. ngai me 13. ataei children 14. a they 15. te karau rain 16. neierei woman 17. roko come 18. Tiaon John 19. ngaira us 20. natiu my child

matuu sleep ngai me a they n te titooa to the store ti we wareware read uaua swim tebotebo wash aomata people motirawa rest e she mm'akuri work reirei study am'arake eat e it e she a they e he koroboki write e he

e he nakonako walk takaakaro play I I ngaira us a they e she naakekei those men a they e he tinau my mother I I a they unimm'aane old men b'aka fall tangitang cry mm'aane men am'arake eat ti we mooi drink B. Reform the above

sentences without the subject nouns, as if they had already been


object phrase When the verb of a Kiribati sentence is transitive, that is, when there is a word (object) which receives the action of the verb, the object phrase immediately follows the verb: E korea te reta teuaarei. he write a letter that man That man wrote a letter. A na kabooi taiani kariki aomata. they will buy some bread (the) people The people will buy some bread. prepositional phrase As in intransitive sentences, when a prepositional phrase is included in a transitive sentence, it may come after the object, directly before the subject phrase. Although this position is somewhat optional, and you may hear the prepositional phrase at the end of the sentence, you will always be safe in using it in the position above:

E korea te reta nakoni buuna teuaarei. he write a letter to his wife that man That man wrote a letter to his wife. A na kabooi taiani kariki man te titooa aomata. they will buy some bread from the store people The people will buy some bread from the store. time adverb When a time adverb is included in transitive sentences, its position is also flexible, but it may always be placed at the end of the sentence as in the intransitive cases: E korea te reta teuaarei n te bong aei. he write a letter that man today That man is writing a letter today. A na kabooi taiani kariki aomata ningaabong. they will buy some bread people tomorrow The people will buy some bread tomorrow. combined phrases These positions will hold when there are both prepositional phrases and time adverbs in the same sentence, as well as when the object phrase is replaced by a suffixed object pronoun. (see lesson 22 on object pronouns) E koreia teuaarei n te bong aei. he write it that man today That man wrote it today. A na kabooi man te titooa aomata. they will buy some from the store the people The people will buy some from the store. E koreia nakon buuna teuaarei n te bong aei. he write it to his wife that man today That man is writing it to his wife today. Once again, in actual speech, the position of these phrases is more flexible, and a great deal of variation may be encountered. At this point however it will be useful to master a single correct position, expanding the possibilities as you gain more experience.

Exercises A. Put the following groups of words into correct Gilbertese sentences 1. korea teuaarei e te reta write that man he a letter 2. kabooa kariki aomata a na buy bread people they will 3. wareka te boki te aiine arei e read the book the woman that she 4. e kana te mm'aane te ika he eat the man the fish 5. nima te unimm'aane te biia e drink the old man the beer he 6. te kaabenta e katea au auti the carpenter he build my house 7. katanga te kitaa e neierei play the guitar she that woman 8. te mataroa e kauka tamau the door he open my father 9. noora te taamnei I see the picture I 10. kana ataeinimm'aane te ben a eat boys the coconut they 11. na te ika ngaira kuukana ti will the fish us cook we 12. orea ngkoe na te booro ko hit you will the ball you 13. nuutibeeba wareka ngai na N te newspaper read me will I the 14. korea arau e neierei write my name she that woman 15. anenea te teeinnaiine e anene te sing the girl she song the 16. kabooa aomata a te tioka buy people they the sugar 17. teuaarei kunea te boom e man find the bomb he 18. tutikeeti e kauka neierei te suitcase she open that woman the 19. te ukurere katanga e teuaarei the ukulele play he that man 20. noora I te taamnei n te titooa ngai see I the picture in the store me B. Reform the above sentences,

omitting the explicit subject. C. Add the prepositional phrases following each sentence in their proper


There are two basic types of questions in Kiribati, as in English. One, referred to as the 'yes-no' type, simply asks for the listener's perception, understanding or opinion of a given situation, and can basically be answered by 'yes' or 'no', although often other answers are equally appropriate, such as 'maybe', 'I don't know', 'absolutely', 'heck no!', etc. The other type, called 'WH-questions' after the most common English question words, requests the hearer to supply missing information – the who, what, why, when or where of a given situation.

a. Yes-No Questions In Kiribati, yes-no questions are formed by merely changing the sentence intonation from that of a statement, which ends generally in a falling pattern, to that of a question, which ends on a rising note. Although English changes word order for yes-no question formation, it employs a similar technique as well, so that a statement such as: John's going to the store.

could be converted into a question by a simple

change of intonation: John's going to the store? E nakon te titooa Tiaon. he go to the store John John's going to the store.

Similarly in Kiribati:

becomes a question:

E nakon te titooa Tiaon? Is John going to the store? b. Negative Questions In response to a question phrased negatively, the English response is based on whether the answer to the question would be positive or negative: Isn't he going to the store? (He isn't going to the store?) No, he isn't. Yes, he is. In Kiribati however, the response to a negative question is more of a comment on the truth of the question: E aki nakon te titooa? he not go to the store? E eng. (E aki nako.) it yes (he's not going to the store) = no To respond positively to a negative question, it would be restated as a positive declaration: E aki nakon te titooa? E aki. E nakon te titooa. it not. he go to the store. = yes Thus the Kiribati responses to negative questions are often in effect the opposite of those expected by an English speaker. (Note: You will run into variation in the use of these responses. Be careful.)

c. Tag Questions English also employs a construction referred to as a 'tag question', a statement followed by a little 'tag', asking for verification: He's going to the store, isn't he Kiribati sometimes employs a similar strategy by adding ke, 'or', to the end of a statement:

E nakon te titooa ke? he go to the store or? d. tiaki – no, not Tiaki ('no, not') at the front of a sentence has about the same effect as ke at the end, meaning in effect, 'isn't it?', 'isn't it so?': Tiaki te kaabenta ngkoe? not a carpenter you Aren't you a carpenter? You're a carpenter, aren't you? Tiaki e bon roko te kaibuke? not it truly come the ship The ship arrived, didn't it?

Exercises A. Form yes-no questions from the following statements: 1. E tikiraoi te aiine aarei. she pretty the woman that 2. Ko ataa te kawai. you know the way 3. E rangi ni boobuaka te kunnikai. it very expensive the clothes 4. A na nako Betio n te bong aei. they will go to Betio today 5. Iai te waanikiba n te Moanibong. there is a plane on Monday 6. Iai aia kai n tekateka. there is their chair 7. E raroa mai ikai. it far from here 8. Ti matuu n te auti. we sleep in the house 9. E a tia n roko te tia mm'akuri. he already come the worker 10. E tangira te koobe. he wants coffee 11. N na tuangga. I will tell him 12. A uota te boki nakoina. they bring the book to him B. Answer the following questions

negatively: 1. E aki nakon te auti? he not go to the house 2. A aki tiku ikai? they not stay here 3. Ti na aki toka n te b'ati? we will not take the bus 4. Ko aki roko mai Betio? you not come from Betio 5. Kam aki karaoia? you already not do it 6. E aki kabooa te raiti? he not buy the rice 7. Ko na aki nako Bairiki? you will not go to Bairiki C. Now give positive responses to the above


Lesson 6 INTERROGATIVES Part 2 - Who, Whose

WH-Questions Like English, Kiribati uses a set of question words to get information about a missing element in a sentence. Functionally, some of these act as pronouns, being replaceable by a noun which answers the question. Some function as adjectives, asking for descriptive information about a specific noun in a sentence. Others are like adverbs, requesting information about the verb of the sentence, or an entire clause. Still another group acts as complete interrogative verbs, needing only a subject pronoun to form a complete question.

a. antai? who? Antai, 'who', is used directly before nouns and person demonstratives when asking

for identification: Antai teuaaei? who this person (masc. sing.)

Who is this man? Antai te tia mm'akuri aanne? who the worker that

Who is that workman? directly:

It is used similarly when asking someone's name

Antai aram? who your name

What's your name? Antai aran tamam? who his name your father?

What's your father's name? When asking who did some action, when there is a verb involved, antai must be followed by an appropriate relative pronoun, such as ae. (see the lesson on relative pronouns.): Antai ae e na nako Tarawa? who that will go-to Tarawa?

Who (is it [sg.] that) will go to Tarawa? Antai aika a tia ni karaoia? who that already do-it

Who (is it [pl.] that) did it? in place of Antai.

Dialect Note: In Butaritari/Makin, Nanta is used

b. antena? whose? Antena, 'whose', can be seen as a contraction of: antai ana = antena. Antai ana b'ai? = Antena b'ai? who his thing = whose thing

Whose thing (is this)? Before nouns which must take the possessive suffixes, ante is used. (see lesson on possessive suffixes). Compare: Ante waa-na? Whose canoe (is this)?

Antena matau? Whose fishhook (is this)? Notes: 1) Before certain sounds, anto may be heard in place of ante: anto um'ana? = ante um'ana? whose house? 2) Antai will sometimes be heard before non-animate nouns (this is rather colloquial): Antai te auti aanne? who the house that

Whose house is that?

Exercises A. Form questions from the following sentences, assuming the underlined word to be missing information. example: Teuaarei boni Bauro. that manboni


Antai teuaarei?

(Note that bon(i) 'truly', is omitted when forming the question.)

1. Neierei boni Maria. that woman

2. Bon Iaone te tia reirei aarei. Bon Iaone te teacher 3. Te unimm'aane aei bon tamau. Te old manaei bon tamamy father 4. Bon tinau te aiine aarei. Bon my mother 5. Kaain au auti bon tamau ao tinau. people of

6. Aran au kaawa bon Teaoraereke. Aran au village 7. Au tia reirei Titi. 8. Bon Roniti te minita aarei. Bon Roniti te minister 9. Te tama aarei bon Ioteba. Tefather 10. Aran te teei aarei boni Karianako. Aran te child B. Use Antai ae (singular) or Antai

aika (plural), to form questions from the following statements, assuming the underlined word to be missing information, as above: example: E na nako Tiaon. Antai ae e na nako? 1. E na nakon te titooa Kaitara. 2. A katea au auti taani mm'akuri. A buildkatea au auti workmen 3. A taua te bure bureitiman aikai. A holdte criminal policemen these 4. E na roko ningaabong Tiaon. 5. E na kawarai tamau ningaabong. E na visit me

Lesson 7 INTERROGATIVES Part 3 - What, How Many

a. teraa? what? Teraa, 'what', may be used directly before inanimate nouns – that is, nouns which are things, but not people: Teraa te b'ai aanne? what the thing that?

What is that thing? Teraa te rongorongo? what the news

What's the news? a relative pronoun:

When questioning an action, before a verb, teraa is used with

Teraa ae e karaoia nakoim? what that he do-it to-you

What did he do to you?

(This is preferable to a similar construction without the

relative pronoun: *E karaoa teraa nakoim? he do what to-you)

b. raa? what, which?

Raa, 'what, which', is always used following a noun (unless followed by a possessive suffix, below), and can be used with people as well as with things: Ko tangira to boki raa? you want the book which

Which book do you want? Te aomata raa? the person which

Which person? When used with the possessive suffixes, raa questions 'what relationship' (The hyphen is used here only for illustration.): Raa-m teuaanne? your-what that-man

What relation is that man to you? Raa-n te auti? its-what the house

What (which) part of the house?

It can also be translated by 'how':

maan long (time), duration

Maanra? How long?

When questioning 'what kind of things', baikara is used:

Baikara aika ko tangiri? what-things that you want

What sort of things do you want?

(In the singular, this would be te b'ai teraa or te b'ai raa.)

c. iraua? how many? This will be dealt with in more detail in the section on numeral classifiers, for ira-ua takes different numeral classifiers according to the things questioned. The most common use is with the general classifier, -ua:

Iraua am ririki? how-many your years

How old are you? Ira-man tarim? how-many your-same sex siblings

How many brothers (sisters) have you? d. Notes on asking 'What?' Like English and many languages, Kiribati has a number of expressions to use when something wasn't heard, all translating roughly as 'What?': Teraa? Teraa ae ko taku? Teraana? Teraa am taeka?

(what?) (what which you said?) (its what?) (what your words?)

(it how?) E kangaa? (it done-how?) E aera? You may hear variations on these as well. They are all more or less interchangeable.

e. Notes on asking 'the how many-th?' While iraua asks the question 'how many?', sometimes it is necessary to ask for 'the how many-th?'. English uses a variety of ways to achieve this. After a race we might ask a runner 'what number did you come in?'. For days of the week, we ask 'what day is today?'. For selecting from a row of objects we might merely ask 'which one?'. Kiribati uses one construction for all of these cases, the question word ira- plus its appropriate classifier, and the ordinal prefix, ka-, meaning roughly '-th'. (Hyphens are for clarification only, not used in normal writing.): Te ka-ira-man ngkoe? the how-many-th you

What number are you? Te ka-ira-bong aei? the how-many-th-day this?

What day is today? Te ka-ira-ua to bai aanne? the how-many-th that thing

Which one (of the series) is that? (see the lessons on ordinals and classifiers for further information)

Exercises A. Form questions from the following sentences using teraa, assuming the underlined words to be the missing information: 1. N na teboka te aroka. N na water

the plant

2. Aran to bai aei bon te buriki. Aran to bai aei bon te brick 3. Te kaibuke aarei bon Teraaka. Te ship 4. Te man aei bon te kirii. Boanimal aei bon te dog 5. Bon te been te b'ai aarei. Bon tepen 6. Te b'ai are iaon te kaa bon te kie. Te b'ai are iaon te carbon te kie mat 7. N na kam'aa te am'arake. N na kcookte amarfood 8. A na kabooi taiani kariki man te titooa. A na kbuytainisome bread 9. Bon te am'arake ae e kam'aia tinau. Bon te am'arake ae e kcook it my mother 10. Bon waan tamau te waa aarei. Bonmy father's canoe B. Form questions from the

following sentences in a similar fashion using raa: 1. I noora te taamnei are n te m'aneaba. I noora te tapicture 2. A na toka n te ranti aarei. A natake (ride)telaunch 3. E tangira te kanre ae e uraura. E wantte kanrecandy 4. Ti maeka n te auti ae e buubura. Ti mliven te auti ae e buburabig 5. E kabooi kariki ake a kangkang. E a buykarbreadake a kangdelicious 6. N na toka ni waanikiban Nauru. N na toka ni Nairplane of 7. Ti reirei n te reirei are teuana. Ti study school the one 8. Kam na kaea te meeri are te aoa itiua. Kam na chase ferryare te aoaseven o'clock 9. E iein ma te aiine ae e unuun. E marryma te aiine ae e unquarrelsome 10. I kaboonganaa te biti ae e kakang.

C. Use raa plus the possessive

Lesson 8 INTERROGATIVES Part 4 - When, Where, Why

a. nningai? when? Nningai, 'when' is variable as to its position in the question: E na roko nningai? he will come when

When will he come? Nningai am tai n nako? when your time of going?

When are you going?

It is sometimes found as nningai raa.

b. iia? where? Sometimes found as iaa or iaa raa, its use is fairly straight-forward:

E maeka iia Meeri? she live where Mary

Where does Mary live?

c. maiia? from where? whence? This can he seen as a contraction of mai + iia, from + where: A roko maiia? they come from-where?

Where do they come from?

d. bukin teraa? why, what for? This is usually followed by ngke for the past, and ngkai for the non-past (ngke = when, past; ngkai = now): Bukin teraa ngkai ko na nako Tarawa? for what now you will go-to Tarawa

Why are you going to Tarawa? Sometimes the form is 'inverted'

Other forms are found for 'why' as well.

Teraa bukin nakom nako Tarawa? what for your-going to Tarawa

What are you going to Tarawa for? As a one-word interjection, Ao? (and) is often used for 'why?', and also ao teraa?, 'so, what?', 'well?', 'what more?'

Exercises (click for glossary)

A. Form 'when' questions from the following sentences using nningai: 1. A na roko ningaabong au ataei. 2. E roko ngkoananoa te kaibuke. 3. N na nako Maiana n te wiiki ae e na roko. 4. I korea au reta ngke e tairiki. 5. E na kiba n te ingaabong te waanikiba. 6. Ti katea te auti aei n te ririki ae e nako. 7. E a tib'a tia te kootiueei aei. 8. E mate tibuu ngkoananoa. 9. I wareka te boki aei ngke I uareereke. 10. Ti nako Bikenibeu ngke e ingaabong.

B. Use iia is to form 'where' questions from the following sentences: 1. E akawa Tiaon n te nama. 2. A tebotebo ataei inanon te rawa. 3. I katuka au kawaerake iaan te baoki. 4. Ti maeka ma au karo n au auti. 5. E mm'akuri Beia n te kaibuke n akawa. 6. E bungiaki natina are Karianako n te oonaoraki. 7. Ti kabooi taiani kariki n ana titooa Baong. 8. E kunea te boom Tatin inanon te nono. 9. Ti tiku i Bikenibeu.

C. Form 'from where'

INTERROGATIVES Review Exercise titiraki ma kaekaana questions and answers

Replace the blank with the appropriate question word for each pair of questions and answers: (click for glossary)

1. __________ aran tinam? Aran tinau bon Nei Teretia. 2. __________ aran am kamea? Aran au kamea bon Tatin. 3. __________ nanon te taeka ni Kiribati ae kariki? Nanon te taeka ni Kiribati ae kariki boni 'bread'. 4. __________ ngkoe ni maeka i Maiana? Uoua au ririki ni maeka i Maiana. 5. Ko na nako Betio __________ ? N na nako Betio ningaabong. 6. __________ Baraniko te aine aarei? M'aanen Baraniko te aiine aarei. 7. E roko __________ te mm'aane aarei? E roko te mm'aane aarei mai Beru. 8. E kabooaki __________ te bentira? E kabooaki n ana titooa Bauro. 9. E reke __________ am boki? E reke au boki mai Tarawa. 10. Te boki __________ ae ko kakaaea? I kakaaea te boki ae e uraura. 11. __________ kabooa am b'aatika? E kabooa au b'aatika tamau. 12. __________ kunea te boom? E kunea te boom Tatin. 13. Ko kabooi kariki __________ ? I kabooi kariki aika a buubura. 14. __________ am ririki? Tenibwi au ririki. 15. __________ ngkoe n reirei i Biti? Nimaua au ririki n reirei i Biti. 16. Ko na kabooa __________ am b'aatika? N ra kabooa au b'aatika n te nam'akaina ae e na roko. 17. __________ e nakon te titooa? E nakon te titooa bukina b'a e na kabooa te kariki. 18. E oti taai __________ ? E oti taai mai mainiku. 19. E na roko __________ te kaibuke? E na roko n te Kaabong te kaibuke. 20. __________ aiine akekei Ten Tiaon? Boni m'aaneia Ten Tiaon aiine akekei. 21. __________ booti aei? Bon au booti aei. 22. __________ auti te auti aarei? Bon ana auti Baie. 23. __________ te teei aarei? Bon natiu te teei aarei.

Lesson 9 INTERROGATIVES Part 5 - Question Verbs

Gilbertese uses seven verbs which have interrogative force. Otherwise they act just as any other verbs, being preceded by a subject pronoun to form a complete sentence:

a. Ngaa - to be where E ngaa to kai-ni-b'ati? it be-where the bus stop

Where is the bus stop? Ngaa is generally used only with the third person pronouns. In other cases, a construction with iia is preferred. (see preceding lesson.): Ko meake iia? you live where?

It can also be used in the sense of 'when', 'where in time':

E ngaa to bong ae ko aki tabe iai? it where the day that you not busy there

What day aren't you busy? When used with this meaning, iai, meaning 'there, at that time' must be incorporated into both the question and answer: Te-Moanibong te bong ae I aki tabe iai. Monday the day that I not busy then

I'm not busy on Monday.

b. Aera - to do what Kam na aera? you (pl) will do-what?

What are you going to do? Aera is also commonly used equivalent to "what did you say", when the last remark was misheard: E aera? What? How's that again? are you going"':

It is often used as a greeting as well, in the sense "where

Ko na aera? Where are you going? What are you up to? Sometimes it also means 'why', in which case it is used with ngkai, ngke, and ngkana, like bukin teraa. (See preceding lesson.) With ngke in the past, and ngkai in the non-past. Ngkana has the implication of the questioner's disapproval, disbelief, or challenge: E aera ngkai ko nako Betio? why now you go-to Betio

Why are you going to Betio? E aera ngkana ko nako Betio? What are you going to Betio for? (negative intonation)

c. Uara - to be how Kouara? you be-how

How are you?

E uara am mm'akuri? it be-how your work

How's your job?

d. Nakea - go where Ko na nakea? you will go where

Where are you going? a greeting.

Like ko (na) aera, ko (na) nakea is often used in passing as

e. Kangaa - to do how, in what way Ko kangaa ni karaoia? you in what way of do it

How did you do it? In some cases, like e aera, it can have the sense of 'what', as when asking someone what someone else said: E kangaa ana taeka? it be how his words

What did he say?

f. Rikea - to pass by where Ko na rikea? you will pass by where

Which route will you take?

g. Iraanna - to do in what way Ko iraanna ni kateia you in what way of build it

How did you build it? Iraanna is more commonly used in the passive form Iraanaki, 'done in what way'. (See lesson on passives): E iraanaki te am'arake? it done in what way the food

How was that food made?

NOTE There is a word similar in sound to iraanna: iraana. It means roughly 'where' and is a composition of i, the locative prefix, plus raa, 'what' (lesson 7), plus the possessive suffix na, 'its', which gives raa the meaning of 'what relationship?'. Altogether it has the sense 'at what relationship to it; where?'. Similarly, iraab'ai, 'on which side of the thing?', can be seen as a contraction of i + raa + (n + te) b'ai.

Exercises (click for glossary)

A. Use ngaa to form questions to which the following sentences are answers: 1. Aarei te um'a ni kuuka. 2. E mena i Betio tinau. 3. Are i Bonriki te marae ni waanikiba. 4. Are irarikin te auti te kaa. 5. Aarei aobitin te reirei. 6. Te Katenibong te bong ae I aki tabe iai. 7. Te Kanimabong ae e na roko ae N na nako iai nako Betio. 8. Boni Maati te nam'akaina ae N na oki iai. 9. Are i Maiana tamau. 10. Bon Ritemba te nam'akaina ae e bati iai te kukurei.

B. Use aera to form questions to which the following sentences could be answers. Use the variety of forms you have studied: 1. Ti nangi mm'akuri ngkai. 2. N na toka n te b'ati. 3. I tabe n reirei. 4. E a mate te unimm'aane. 5. E na roko ningaabong te kaibuke. 6. I a tia n karaoia. 7. I nako Betio b'a N na noora tamau. 8. Bukina b'a I tabetabe.

C. Use uara to form questions to

Kiribati Glossary Kiribati - English Glossary for the

Communication and Culture Handbook (1523 entries)

Note on the alphabetization: Double letters (aa, nn, etc.), the apostrophe (in m', b'), and spaces, have been ignored to simplify look-up. For example, ab'aab'aki is alphabetized as if it were spelled ababaki.


A a (aux) indicating immediate past. a (pron) they. aaba (n) lands. aba (n) land. ab'aab'aki (adj) big, large.

abaia (n) their land; land of. Abaiang (pn) island in the Gilberts between Tarawa and Marakei. ab'akin (n) size of. abam (n) your land; your country. abam'akoro (n) island. abam'akoron (n) islands of. abamii (n) your (pl.) islands; your (pl.) countries. abau (n) my island, my country. abea (n) bait. abeana (n) its/his/her bait. abeana (v) to use as bait.

Abemama (pn) island in the Gilberts, east of Kuria and Aranuka. Aberika (pn) Africa. abong (n) four days. ae (rel pron) which (near). aei (rel pron) this (and: aio). aeka (n) sort; kind. aekan (n) sort of, kind of. aekia (v) take from (as food from fire). ae e nako (adv) last (year, week, month...). ae e na roko (adv) next (week, month, year...). aera (v) what ... doing? ai (excl) truly! ai (n) fire. ai (pron) such, like (n ai aron). aia (n) firewood. aia (pron) their. aika (pron) who; which. aikai (pron) these. ai m'aneu (n) my cousin, opposite sex. ai natiu (n) my nephew or niece. aiine (n) female, woman. aio (pron) this (and: aei). ai tariu (n) my cousin, same sex. akanne (pron) those. akawa (n) fishing. akawa (v) to fish. akawam (n) your fishing. ake (pron) which were; that are. akea (neg) none. akekei (pron) those (far). aki (neg) not. akuun (prep) behind, at the back of. am (pron) your. aama (n) hammer. am'arake (n) a food. am'arake (v) to eat. am'arake n te tairiki (n) dinner. Amerika (pn) America. amii (pron) your (pl.). amori (n) kind of fish. aan (prep) under. anaa (n) fish. ana (pron) his/her/its. anaa (v) take. ana Ekaretia te Atua (pn) Church of

God. aane (pron) that. aneang (n) mast. anene (n) a singing or song. anene (v) to sing. anenei (v) to sing them. ang (n) the wind. anga (n) a shoulder. anga (v) to give. anganaki (v pass) be given. angaatai (n) right hand. angaataiu (n) my right hand side. ao (conj) and. aobiti (n) office. Aokati (n) August. aono (n) group (especially for islands), district. aono ni Kiribati (n) Gilbert Group. aontano (n) earth, ground. aontari (n) surface of sea. aonga (adv) in order that, so that. aoraki (n) sick, sick person, illness. aoranti (n) orange. Aotiteeria (pn) Australia. ara (n) name. ara (pron) our. araia (n) their names. aram (n) your (sing.) name. aramii (n) your (pl.) names. aran (n) name of. arana (n) his/her/its name. aranaki (v) named, called. araniia (v) name or call them. Aranuka (pn) island in the Gilberts between Kuria and Abemama. arara (n) our names. arau (n) my name. are (pron) who, which; that (yonder). aarei (pron) that yonder. ari (n) spathe (coconut). ari (n) eyebrow. Aaro (n) religions. aro (n) way, manner. Aro (n) religion. aroia (n) their way, their manner. aroka (n) plant. aroka (v) to smell. aron (n) way/manner of; like (n ai aron). aroni (n) way/manner of.

Aro ni Momon (n) Mormon Church. Arorae (pn) the last island in the south of Kiribati. aroro (n) four generations. arou (n) my way/manner of. ata (adj) wide or broad. ata (n) rope tied from mast to outrigger (canoe). ataa (v) know. ataei (n) children. ataein (n) children of. ataeinimm'aane (n) boy. atai (v pl) know. ataia (v) know him/her/it. atama (n) gravel (small stones). atatai (v,a) skilled. Aatia (pn) Asia. atiibu (n) stone. atim'akoro (n) islet. atongaki (a) famous, renowned. atuu (n) head. Atua (pn) God. Atuaia (n) their God. atuun (n) head of. atuun te tautaeka (n) Government Headquarters. au (pron) my. au (v) caulk. aua (num) four. auee (excl) exclamation of intensive feeling. auti (n) house. auti n iruwa (n) house for guest; guest-house, hotel.


B be bi bo bu b'a (conj) because, for, that, as. baa (n) midrib of coconut leaf; leaf of plants. b'ab'ai (n) taro-like food plant. b'aab'aiaa (n) pawpaw; papaya.

babooboo (adj) yellow. b'aene (n) basket. b'aai (n) things. bai (n) hand. b'ai (n) thing. baiia (n) their hands. Baibara (n) Bible. b'aibi (n) pipe. baika (n) these things. baikara (interrog) what things? baim (n) your hand. b'aim (n) your dress (clothing). b'ain (n) thing of; clothing. b'aina (v) to wear (sing. form). b'ainaki (v pass) worn, used. b'ai n am'arake (n) eating utensils. b'ai n aoraki (n) thing for sickness, medicine. b'aini (n) nose. b'aini (v pl form) to wear. b'ai ni kao'ara tikuru (n) thing for unscrewing, screwdriver. b'ai ni katena (n) thing for holding tight, pliers. b'aai ni mm'akuri (n) things for working, tools. b'aai n taetae (n) things for talking, telephone, speaker. b'ai n tangira (n) thing for love, gift, present. baaire (n) measurement; arrangement. baairea (v) to measure; to make arrangement. Bairiki (n) Capital town on Tarawa where Government Headquarters are. b'aiu (n) my dress. baiu (n) my hand. b'aka (v) fall. b'akantaai (n) afternoon. bakatibu (n) ancestor. baakee (n) tobacco. baakeena (n) its tobacco. baan (n) leaf of (see: baa). baana (n) its leaf (see: baa). Banaba (n) name of an island (Ocean Island). b'anaaia (n) their voice. b'aanaki (v pass) filled with (oil, kerosene, benzine, etc. ).

b'anaam (n) your voice. b'anaan (n) voice of. b'anaanaa (n) banana. bane (adj) finished. baannii (n) coconut leaf. baanikaina (n) pandanus leaf. b'anga (n) mosquito net. b'anga (v) to hide in a hole. b'ange (n) chin. bangke (n) bank. baoki (n) box. b'aoua (v) bend. b'ara (n) hat. b'ara (v) undone. b'arakarabe (n) paragraph. b'aranako (adj) dispersed (see: b'ara). baareka (adj) dirty. b'ata (adj) black, blue. b'ata (n) pot. bati (adj) many. b'ati (n) bus. b'aatika (n) bicycle. b'aukin (n) pumpkin. beeba (n) paper. Beberuare (n) February. beebete (adj) easy, light. beeki (n) pig. bekobeko (n) cough. bekobeko (v) cough. beem (n) your lavalava. been (n) lavalava of. been (n) coconuts. been (n) pen. been (n) paint. ben (n) coconut. beeniaki (v pass) painted. bentira (n) pencil. beretitenti (n) president. beero (n) bell. Beru (n) island west of Nikunau. Betebeke (n) Pacific. beetin (n) basin. Betio (n) port town on Tarawa. bia (excl) denoting a wish. bia (n) fish ovaries. biia (n) beer. biibi (n) throat. bike (n) beach. Bikenibeu (n) town on Tarawa where

Central Hospital is located. bikoukou (adj) pregnant. bina (n) last born child. bina (v) come last. bino (n) sitting dancing. bino (v) to do sitting dance. bira (v) plait. biri (v) run. biriari (n) full stop (period). birim'aaka (v) run fast. biri mwere (v) run slowly. biroto (n) stomach. birotou (n) my stomach. bitaki (v pass) changed. biti (n) knife. Biti (n) Fiji. biiua (n) fever. biwa (n) fever. boo (n) hit, cost. boo (v) strike, meet (especially for time). boob'ai (n) shopping. boob'ai (v) do shopping. boobete (adj) cheap. bobootaki (v) use to gather together. Bobooti (n) Cooperative. booia (v) strike it; ring it (the bell). boitin (n) poison. boki (n) book. booki (n) books. boki n anene (n) song book, hymn book. boki n tataro (n) prayer book. boom (n) bomb. bon (affirmative) truly. boona (n) price, cost of. boni (excl) truly. bonota (v) close, shut. bonotaki (v pass) closed, shut. bong (n) day; night. boongana (adj) useful. boonganan (n) use of. boonganana (n) his/her/ its use. bongin (n) day of. boora (n) bowl. borau (v) sail. booro (n) ball. bootaki (n) assembly. bootaki (v) meet, assemble. boti (n) marked places in the

m'aneaba, etc. booti (n) boat. botu (n) weariness, fatigue. botura (n) our weariness. boou (adj) new. boou (n) my salary. bouan (n) post of. buu (n) wife or husband. bua (adj) lost. buaka (adj) rough, not calm. buaakaka (adj) bad. Buariki (n) a name of a village on Tarawa. bubu (n) smoke (as from fire, etc.). bubu (v) smoke (as a fire, etc.). bubuaka (adj) bad. bubuaka (v) use to battle. bubua ni bai (n) elbow. bubua ni wae (n) knee. bubuia (v) to rub it. buubura (adj) big, large. buki (n) back. bukin (n) back of. bukin (prep) for. bukina (prep) because. bun (n) shell fish. buun (n) wife of or husband of. bung (v) set (sun). bungiaki (v pass) born. bungintaai (n) sunset. buoka (v) help. buokai (v) help me. buokaki (v pass) helped. buoki (v pl form) help. buokiko (v) help you. burae (n) hair; feather. burae ni man (n) feather. burakibooti (n) blackboard. Buranti (n) France. burati (n) brush. burati (v) brush. buraaun (adj) brown. buraawa (n) flour. bure (n) wrong; a mistake; a sin. bureitiman (n) policeman. bureen (n) plane (tool). buriki (n) brick. Buritan (n) Britain. buroo (n) hearts. buro (v) boiling.

buroburo (n) bubble. buuta (v) to call out (as to fight); to withdraw. Butaritari (n) second island in north of Gilberts. buteeta (n) potato. buti (v) run, as for vehicles and boats. butibooro (n) football. butibooro (v) play football. butiiko (v) request you. butim'aai (v) welcome. butu (n) foot (measurement). butu (v) to push. bwee (n) a paddle; a rudder. bwee (v) to paddle, steer. bweenaki (v pass) driven by means of paddle or rudder. bweennarina (n) a paddle. bweennarina (v) to paddle. bwenauaaki (v pass) divided, cut into. bwereeti (n) press. bwereeti (v) press (print). bweeuru (n) steering paddle.


E e (pron) he, she, it. eea (n) air. Eberi (n) April. Eita (p n) village on Tarawa. Ekaretia (n) Church. ekueetoa (n) equator. embaea (n) empire. eng (excl) yes. engaa (interrog) where? Engiran (p n) England. Ereti (p n) Ellice (Tuvalu). eta (prep) up. eti (adj) right, correct, straight. ewanin (n) coconut husk.


I I (pron) I. iaa (interrog) where? ia (n) blood vessel. ia (n) tide. ia (n) hair. iabuti (n) high tide. iai (affirmative) thereby, there is, there are. iaan (adv) below, under. ianimaama (adj) moonlit. iangoa (v) think of. iaon (prep) on/over. iaona (prep) on/over it. iaati (n) yard. ibu (n) shell of coconut. ibuakoia (prep) among them. ibukiia (prep) for them. ibukin (prep) for. ibukina (prep) for him/her/it, because; at the back of him/her/it. ibun (n) shell of. ibuna (n) its shell. ibuobuoki (adj) helpful. ibuobuoki (n) helping. ie (n) sail. iein (n) marriage. iein (v) marry. ieka (n) flood. ieka (v) to flood. iena (n) its sail. ika (n) fish. iika (n pl) fish. ikai (adv) here. ikan (n) fish of. ikanne (adv) right there. ikaraaba (n) hide and seek. ikaraaba (v) hide and seek. ikarii (n) bony fish. ikawai (n) grown-up. ikawaina (n) his/her/its age; growing up.

ikekei (adv) over there. I Kiribati (n) Gilbertese. ikoaki (n) wounded person. ikoaki (v pass) injured. ikotaki (n) gathering. ikotaki (v) add to; included. im'aaim (prep) before you. im'aain (prep) before. im'aaiu (prep) before me. imanaki (v pass) scaled. I Matang (n) white people; Europeans. imwiim (prep) after you. imwiin (prep) after. imwiina (prep) after him/her/it. in (adj) closed, shut. inaai (n) mat (coconut leaf). inanon (prep) in. inaaomata (n) independence. inti (n) inch. ingaabong (n) morning. irakea (v) to hoist. iraman (interrog) how many? (for animals). iran (n) strands of. iranna (v) how to do (a thing). iraanaki (v pass) how (something) is done. iraorao (adj) friendly. irarikin (prep) beside. iraua (interrog) how many? irewii (n) tooth brushing. irewii (v) to brush teeth. iri (v) go with, follow, attend. iriko (n) meat. iriko (v) go with you;. irikona (n) its flesh. irouia (prep) by them. iroum (prep) by you. iroun (prep) by, of. irouna (prep) by him/her. iroura (prep) by us. irua/iriwa (n) guest, stranger. iruwa (n) stranger, foreigner. itauu (n) boxing. itera (n) half. iteran (n) half of. iterana (n) half of it. iteran to kawai (n) side of the road. iti (n) lightning.

itiia (v) scoop it up. itibong (n) half moon. itibwi (num) seventy. itiua (num) seven. itoi (n) star.


K ke ki ko ku kaa (n pl) car. kaab'a (n) corrugated iron, copper. kabae (n) knot; bandage. kabaeaki (v pass) tied, bandaged. kabaeanatu (n) hair scarf. kabaei (v pl) tie (pl of kabaea). kab'aia (adj) lucky, fortunate. kab'akaa (v) to drop. kab'akaaki (v pass) fallen. kabane (adj) all, altogether. kabanea (v) to finish. kabanei (v) to finish them all. kab'angab'angaa (v) to make a hole; to bore a hole. kab'araa (v) undo, untie. kab'arab'ara (v) to preach. kab'arab'araa (vt) to describe. kab'arab'arai (v) to describe. kabaraaki (v pass) undone, untied. kab'aroa (v) pour out (water). kab'aroi (v pl form) pour out. kaabentaa (n) carpenter. kabeta (v) put on water to float. kabetan (n) floater of. kabi (n) keel. kaboo (n) farewell. kaboo (v) to complete. kabooa (v) buy. kabooaki (v pass) bought. kabooaki (v pass) to get to meet at the ends, points. kabooanako (v) sell. kabooi (v pl form) buy. Kaabong (n) Thursday.

kaboonganaa (vt) to use it. kaboonganai (v pl form) use. kaboonganaaki (v pass) used. kaboonganaan (n) use of. kaboowi (n) a conference. kaboowi (v) to have a conference;. kabuanib'ai (n) accident. kabubu (adj) blunt. kabubu (n) a powdered food made from pandanus fruit. kabuubuta (v) to run a thing several times. kabuebue (adj) hot. kaburoa (vt) boil. kaburoaki (v pass) boiled. kabururu (v) wash one's face. kabuta (v) to drive; to cause to move something. kabutikai (n) a kind of game played with playing cards. kaea (v) go for; to chase. kaei (v pl form) chase; go for. kaeta (v) straighten; correct. kaetai (v) correct me; straighten me. kaetia (v) correct him/her/it; straighten him/her/it. kaetiko (v) correct you; put you right. kai (n) stick. kaai (n pl) timber; woods; sticks; trees. kaaiia (n) their people. kaiia (n) their sticks; stick for them. kaiia (n) points lost in game. kaaibibiti (v) to exchange. kaibuke (n) ship. kaika (v) pail water out of. kaikan (n) pail of or for. kaimatoa (n) stiff action, kind of Kiribati dancing movement. kaimoa (n) crews of the ship. kaain (n) person of, people of; owner of; occupier of. kain (n) stick of; wood of. kaaina (n) its people; owner; occupier. kaina (n) its stick, its wood;. kaina (n) pandanus tree. kaainabana (n) his wife/her husband.

kaainabau (n) wife or husband. kainnakotinaniku (n) latrine. kainikawaawaa (n) gutter. kainiwene (n) bed. kaintekateka (n) chair. kairabong (interrog) what day? kairai (v) lead me, guide me, direct me. kairiko (v) lead you; guide you; direct you. kaairua (n) mistake. kaaitara (prep) face to face. kaaitarai (v) give opposites. kaaitaraan (n) opposite of. kaitiakan (n) cleaning of. kaitiaki (v pass) cleaned. kaitiakia (v) clean it. kaaitiboo (v) meet. Kaitibong (n) Seventh day. kakaaea (v) look for; find out. kakaaei (v pl form) look for; find out. kakaaki botu (n) pass time. kaakanaki (v pass) edible. kakanoa (adj) having something inside. kaakang (adj) keen to eat. kakang (adj) sharp. kakangia (v) sharpen. kaaki (v) take away, to put. kakibaa (v) to cause to fly, jump, leap. kakooa (v) to fasten tightly. kakoauaa (v) believe; to say something or someone is true ; to prove. kakua (adj) tiresome. kakukurei (adj) pleasant, pleasing. kam (pron pl) you. kam'aa (v) cook. kam'aim'ai (n) molasses (cooked toddy). kam'aitoro (adj) cold. kamaiu (adj) pleasant. kamaiu (n) supper. kamaiu (v) life giving. kamaiuaki (v pass) saved, rescued, healed. kamaamana (n) its window. kamaanaki (v pass) kept longer. kam'anea (v) to trick; betray.

kamani (adv) previously, before. kam'anuui (v pl form) to fold. kamariri (adj) chilly. kamatea (v) kill. kamateb'ai (v) study. kamatoai (v) make them strong. Kamatuu (n) Protestant Church. kamea (n) dog. kam rab'a (v) thank you (pl.). kaan (prep) almost, close to. kan (v) want, wish. kana (v) eat. kanaia (n) their food. kanaia (v) put more fire-wood on the fire. kanaki (v pass) eaten. kanakoaki (v pass) sent away. kanakoi (v pl form) take away; send away. kanana (n) his/her/its food. kani (v) want; wish. kaaniia (v) to go closer. kanikina (n) the mark or sign;. kanikinaea (v) to mark or sign. Kanimabong (n) Friday. kaniiman (num) fifth; come fifth. kanoaia (v) fill it. kanoaaki (v pass) filled. kanoan (n) content of. kanoana (n) its content. kaantaninga (n) hope; expectation. kaantaninga (v) to hope for; expect. kantoka (n) the fare or freight. kang (v pl form) eat. kangaa (interrog) how? kaanga (v) seem. kaangai (adv) thus. kaangai (v) say thus, say as follows. kaangaanga (adj) difficult hard. kangkang (adj) delicious. kangkangin (n) deliciousness of. kaoaki (n) orders. kaoaki (v pass) invited. kaoi (pl v) order (things). kaokoro (n) different or difference. kaona (v) fill up. Kaonobong (n) Saturday. kaongoraeai (v) inform me. kaotii (v) show them (things). karab'arab'a (v) to say thankful

words. karaki (v) to tell a story; to talk. karaanga (n) river. karanga (n) Kiribati stick dancing. karaanga (v) to flatter. karaoa (v) do, make. karaoaki (v pass) made. karaoan (n) the doing or making of. karaoi (v) do; make them (things). karaoia (v) do it or make it. karatiin (n) kerosene. karau (n) rain. karaun (n) fishing net. karaaure (n) farewell. karau tanginako (n) shower of rain. karawa (n) sky, heaven. kare (v) blow; throw. karekea (v) get; catch. karekeaki (v pass) caught. karekean (n) catching of. kareke nano (n) sweet talking. karewe (n) a toddy; sweet. kariki (n) bread. kariki (n) descendant. kariki (v) to become pregnant. karikirake (n) business; promotion. karimoa (n) first born child. karimwiina (n) second child to him/her. karin (v) put them on; divide; put them in. karina (v) put it on; divide; put it in. karinaki (v pass) put on; divided; put in. karinrin (n) admitting. karo (n) father, parent. karokoa (v) to wait until the coming of; the time of. karongoaa (n) noise. karongoaa (v) to make noise. karuoa (v) to put down; to get something/somebody down. katabea (v) to make someone busy. katabetabe (v) to be bothering. kataeki (v pass) built, established. kataia (v) try it. katairiki (n) meal taken in the evening. katake (n) kind of Kiribati song mostly sung in a talking manner; chant.

kataaki (v pass) tried; tempted. katam'a (n) cat. katangitang (n) instrument. katangitang (v) play music on any musical instrument;. katararakea (v) to put someone or something face up. katarinaki (v pass) being extracted from coconut (kernel). katati (n) knife for cutting toddy. kataua (v) to try on as dress, etc.; permit. katauraoi (n) preparation. katautau (n) an approximate calculation. katawanou (n) meal taken at noon. katea (v) to build; to establish. katebe (v) spear fishing. katei (n) custom. kateitei (n) construction. kateitei (v) construct. katenaa (v) make it crowded; tied; joined. Katenibong (n) Wednesday. katerea (v) to show. kaati (n) playing card. katoaa (v) to make a pair. katoobibia (v) surround. katoobibiaki (v pass) surrounded. katoka (v) to stop, halt; cure. katokaa (v) put something on something or somebody. katoki (v pl) stop; cure. Katorika (n) Catholic Church. katorobubua (v) to kneel. katuka (v) put, leave behind. kauu (n) pair of shoes. Kauabong (n) Tuesday. kauaaki (n) trawl fishing;. kauaaki (v) to trawl a fishing line. kauarinan (adj) secondary. kauarinan (n) second line/class. kaunai (v) make me angry. kauniko (v) make you angry. kauniwae (n) shoe. kaunrab'ata (n) wrestling. kaunrab'ata (v) wrestle. kautuaa (v) to grate (as coconut). kaawa (n) village. kaawa (n) poor, sad condition.

kawaekoa (n) haste. kawaekoa (v) to hurry. kawaerake (n) pants. kawai (n) path, lane, road, street. kawakiniia (v) keep them, look after them. kawanaai (v) make me feel light, comfortable after eating too much. kawara (v) to visit. kawiiremweko (v) to eat/drink; talk slowly. kawiitatako (v) to eat/drink; talk fast. ke (v) dig. kena (v) dig. kewe (n) lie. kewe (v) tell a lie. kiaro (n) outrigger of a canoe. kiba (v) jump, fly. kibee (n) torch fishing. kibee (v) torch fishing. kibu (n) verse of a song or poetry. kibuntaeka (n) sentence. kie (n) mat made of pandanus leaves. kiie (n) mats made of pandanus leaves. kiika (n) octopus. kimoa (n) a rat. kimoa (v) to steal. kimototo (adj) short; not long. kinaa (v) recognize. kinai (v pl) recognize them. kinaka (n) sore. kiriaria (adv) later on. Kiribati (n) Gilberts. kirikiti (n) cricket (game). kirikiti (v) play cricket. kiriin (adj) green. kiromiita (n) kilometer. kiitani (v pl) to leave; to abandon; to go from. koo (adj) tight. ko (pron) you. koaua (adj) true, real. koaua (n) truth. koobe (n) coffee. koikoi (n) kind of shellfish. koikoi (v) to grate using shell. kokookoo (v) to be jealous. konaa (v) can, to be able to.

konana (n) his/her/its catch. kora (n) string, cord. ko rab'a (v) thank you (sing.). koraki (n) class (in school). koraki (n) relative. korakora (adj) strong; big. koran (n) string of. koran (n) colon (grammar). korea (v) cut, write. koreaki (v pass) been cut. koreia (v) cut it. koro (n) husking stick. koro (v) cut. koroboki (v) write. koroi (v pl) cut them; write them (see: korea). koroia (v) cut it. korokarewe (n) cutting toddy. korokarewe (v) cut toddy. korone (n) colony. koronen (n) colony of. kooti (n) coat (animal or clothing). kootiueei (n) causeway. koumara (n) small shell fish. koowana (n) governor. kua (adj) tired. kua (n) a whale. kuata (n) quarter. kuuka (n) a cook; a cooker. kukurei (adj) happy glad. kun (n) skin. kunan (n) song of. kunea (vt) find. kuneaki (v pass) found. kunnikai (n) cloth. kunnikaim (n) your cloth. kunnikaiu (n) my cloth. kuo(ta) (v) to skin. kuotaki (v pass) skinned. kuoti (v pl) skin them. kuri (adv) almost;. kuri (v) to get something hastily or greedily. Kuria (n) island in the central Gilberts.


M me mi mo mu ma (conj) and, with. maa (n) fish trap. m'ae (n) necklace. maeao (n) west. maeaoia (adv) west of them. maeaon (adv) west of. maeka (n) the home. maeka (v) live, stay. maekia (v) to cut it tenderly. m'aenroroa (n) necklace. maii (adj) pale white. mai (n) breadfruit. mai (prep) from. maiaki (n) south. maiakin (adv) south of. maiakina (adv) south of it. Maiana (p n) island south of Tarawa. maibiibi (adj) broken into tiny pieces. maibiibi (n) tiny pieces. m'aiee (n) Gilbertese dancing. m'aim'ai (adj) wet. m'aain (prep) before. mainaina (prep) white. mainiku (n) east. mainikun (adv) east of. maingim (n) your left-hand side. maire (n) mile. mairoun (prep) from. m'aiti (adj) many. m'aitiia (n) their number. m'aitoro (adj) cold. maiu (n) life; alive. maiuia (n) their life. maium (n) your life. m'aaka (adj) fast; powerful. m'aaka (n) power. maaka (n) scar; decay; sore. m'akeiia (n) their thorns (on a pandanus leaf). Makin (n) the very last island in the north of the Gilberts. m'akoron (n) part of.

m'akorona (n) its part. mm'akuri (n) work. mm'akuri (v) work. m'am'ananga (n) the traveling. m'am'ananga (v) traveling, used to traveling. mamaraki (v) keep aching, used to aching. mamàara (adj) weak, feeble. maan (adj) long. maan (n) animals. man (n) animal. man (prep) from. m'anai (n) land crab. mm'anako (v) fall away, fall out. m'ananga (v) travel. m'ane (n) money. mm'aane (n) man; old. m'aane (n pl) money. m'aneaba (n) assembly building, public meeting house. m'aneka (n) footstep. m'aanem (n) your sister/brother (opp. sex sibling). manena (adj) useful. manena (n) use of it, its use. m'aaneu (n) my sister/brother (opp. sex sibling). mmanii (adj) thin. mani (prep) from. m'anib'a (n) well. mannikiba (n) bird. manin (n) animal/birds of. maninnara (n) mosquito. m'aninga (v) forget. maanra (interrog) how long? manga (adv) again. m'aangan (n) branch of. manging (adj) sour; drunk. manging (n) intoxicating drink. m'angko (n) mug, cup. mao (adj) bitter; healed. mao (n) a bush. m'aoto (n) break, fracture. m'aoto (v) break (as stick, pencil, etc.), fracture. mara (adj) soft (after soaking); wet. mara (adj) bald. marae (n) field. marai (n) the kernel of a green

coconut. m'arairai (adj) long (esp. when something is hanging down). Marakei (n) island between Abaiang and Butaritari. maraki (n) pain, ache. maraki n atuu (n) headache. maraki ni biroto (n) stomachache. maraki ni wil (n) toothache. marau (adj) somewhat soft. maraurau (adj) quite soft. marawa (n) ocean. mare (n) marriage. mare (v) to wed, to marry. marenaia (prep) between them. marenan (prep) between. marenaua (n) countryside. marooroo (n) conversation. marooroo (v) engage in conversation. marurung (adj) healthy. mata (n) eye. mataia (n) their eyes. matan (n) the eyes of. matana (n) his/her/its eyes. mataniwi (n) border, edge. mataniwi (n) boss, director, chief. mataniwi (v) be boss, director, chief. mataniwiina (n) its border. matau (n) my eyes. matauninga (n) not courtesy, offense. mate (n) die. matenten (adj) thick. Maati (n) March. maatiati (n) matches. maatimtim (v) dripping. matoa (adj) stiff; hard, strong. matuu (n) sleep. matuu (v) sleep. m'auu (adj) dry. m'au, m'auu (adj) dry. maungatabu (n) general assembly. maungatabu (v) hold a general assembly. mauri (n) good health. mawaawa (adj) blue. meang (n) north. meangin (adv) north of. Meei (n) May.

mena (v) stay, to be at a certain place. meeri (n) mail; ferry. minita (n) minister. miniti (n) minutes. mino (n) file (tool). mino (v) go round, spin. miriki (n) milk. miita (n) meter. mitinare (n) missionary, pastor. moa (adj) first. moa (n) front. moa (n) chicken. moaa (v) call at. moan (adj) very. moan (adj) first. moan (n) front part of. moana (v) call at; start. moanaki (v pass) called at; started; hit by. moani (adj) first. Moanibong (n) Monday. moaningaabong (n) early morning. moanrinan (n) first class/line/row; primary. moantaai (adj) early. moantaai (n) early. moantairiki (n) evening. mooi (v) drink. moimoto (n) green coconut. moko (n) smoke (of a pipe, cigar, etc.). moko (v) smoke (pipe, cigar, etc.). mokon (n) smoke of. moko to rauara (n) smoke made of chipped tobacco and pandanus leaf. Moomon (n) Mormon religion, church. moone (n) hell (no article). morikoi (n) name of a fish. motirawa (n) a holiday. motirawa (v) to leave, rest. mtakoro (n) part. mumuta (n) vomit. mumuta (v) vomit. mweengau (n) my home. mweere (adj) slow, late. mwiin (prep) after, result of.


N ne ni no nu n (prep) of (and: ni). N (pron) I (before na, nang(i)). na (aux) will (future). naa (n) group of stones on the reef. naa (n) collection of. naba (adv) too, also; again. naaibi (n) knife. naaka (excl) word for calling the attention of more than one person. naakai (pron) these people. naakanne (pron) those people. naake (pron) those people. nakea (interrog) where to? naakekei (pron) those people there. nako (v) to go to. nakoiia (prep) to them. nakoim (prep) to you. nakoina (prep) to him/her/it. nakomai (v) come here. nakon (prep) to. nakona (n) his/her/its departure. nakonako (v) walk. Nam (excl) person. article for males; names starting with B or M. nama (n) lagoon. nam'akaina (n) moon (no article); month. Nan (excl) person. article for males (N. Gilb.). naano (adv) down. nano (n) heart or mind. nano (v) keep. nanoia (n) their minds/heart/thought. nanokaawaki (adj) sad, unhappy. nanon (n) mind of; depth of; meaning of. nanona (n) his/her mind; its meaning. nanonna (v) to mean something. nanou (n) my mind. nang (aux) will, about to (future).

Nang (excl) person. article for males. nango (n) fly. naango (n pl) flies (insect). Nao (excl) word to call a man's or boy's attention. nao (n) wave. naao (n pl) waves. naon (n) waves of. nati (n) a child. natiia (n) their child. natina (n) his/her child. natira (n) our child. natiu (n) my child. Nauru (n) name of a nearby Micronesian country (island). Nei (excl) person article for females. neie (pron) this woman/girl (usually followed by name). neiei (pron) this woman/girl. neienne (pron) that woman/girl. neierei (pron) that woman/girl there. Neiko (excl) word used to call a female's attention. neinei (adj) having water inside; swampy. neera (n) nail. neeti (n) nurse. newe (adj) lodged up in a tree, etc. newe (n) lodged up in a tree, etc. nii (adj) bitter. nii (n) coconut tree. ni (prep) of (and: n). nikira (n) remainder. nikira (v) deliver. Nikunau (n) third island from the south. nim (adj) stuck. nim (v pl) to drink. nimaia (n) their drink. nimaki (v pass) drunk. niiman (num) five persons/animals/ small fish, etc. niman (num) five (animate). nimaua (num) five (general). ningaabong (n) tomorrow. nningai (interrog) when? niiraki (v pass) rolled up. niirakina (n) its rolling. niirana (n) its rolling cord (coconut spathe rolling string).

niiri (v pl) to roll them up. niiria (v) to roll it up. Nobemba (n) November. nono (n) bunker, battlement. Nonouti (n) island in the Gilberts between Tabiteuea and Abemama. noora (v) see. nooraki (v pass) seen. noori (v pl) see. nooria (v) see him/her/it. nooriko (v) see you. nuuka (n) middle; center; back. nuukaia (n) middle of them. nuukan (n) back/center/middle of. nuukanibong (n) midnight. nutibeeba (n) newspaper.


NG ngaa (interrog) where? ngaa (num) thousand. ngae (adj) enough, satisfied. ngai (pron) me, I. ngaia (pron) him/her/it; he, she, it. ngaina (n) daylight. ngkai (adv) now. ngkam (excl) I don't know. ngkamii (pron) you (pl.). ngkana (conj) when, if. ngkanne (conj) then. ngke (conj) when. ngke e ingaabong (adv) this morning. ngke e tairiki (adv) last night. ngkoa (adv) long ago. ngkoananoa (adv) yesterday. ngkoe (pron) you (sing). ngongo (v) itching.


O oo (n) wall, enclosure, pen. oi (n) torch light made by rolling dry coconut leaves. oi ni kibee (n) torch for torch-fishing (on reef). oi n tatae (n) torch for torch-fishing (for flying fish). oki (n) return. oki (v) come back. okira (v) return to; come back to. Okitoba (n) October. okiu (n) my return. okoro (adj) different. okoro (n) difference; aside; apart. okoro (v) aside; apart. on (adj) full up. on (n) turtle. oon (n) wall of. oonaoraki (n) hospital. onauti (n) flying fish. onean (n) replacement of. onobwi (num) sixty. onoman (num) six (animate). Onotoa (p n) island in the Gilberts between Tabiteuea and Tamana. onoua (num) six (general). ongo (v) hear. ongoraa (v) listen to. ora (n) low tide. oreaki (v pass) hit. orean (n) beat of. oreano (n) ball bat (kind of game where one group bats the ball and the other group tries to catch). oota (adj) bright, clear. oota (n) light. oota (v) see clearly, understand. otabaniniaki (v pass) surrounded. oti (v) rise; show; appear. otintaai (n) sunrise. otooto (n) composing, composition.


R re ri ro ru rab'a (n) thanks. rab'a (n) car or motor bike tire. raababa (adj) wide, broad. rabakau (adj) clever, skillful. rabakauu (n) my skill, my knowledge. rab'ata (n) body. rab'ata (v) to hold to one's body. rab'atau (n) my body. rabono (n) eel. raeuaia (v) tear it; break it (as a glass). rai (adj) withered. rai (n) layers of canoe planks. rairaki (v) turn. rairan (n) translation of. raiti (n) rice. rake (adj) lucky. rake (adv) up, upward. raama (n) outrigger side of a canoe. rama (n) canoe float (outrigger). ram'a (n) forehead. ram'a (n) gable of house. raami (n) playing card game. ran (n) water. ranna (n) its water. ranniben (n) coconut milk. rannimoimoto (n) green coconut water. raanti (n) launch. ranga (v) capsize, overturn. rangi (adv) very. raoi (adj) calm (as calm sea); fine, peaceful. raoi (adv) exactly, properly. raoi (n) peace. raoiroi (adj) good, nice. raonna (v) be friends with. raonna (v) to accompany. raoraona (v) be friends with. raou (n) my friend.

raraa (adj) rusty. raraa (n) bleeding; blood;. raranga (n) weaving. raranga (v) weave. rarangaaki (v pass) woven. rarangaan (n) the weaving of. rarikin (adv) beside, near. rarikin (n) side of. rarikin (n) pauper. raroa (adv) far, distant. raroaia (n) their distances. raroara (interrog) how far? rauara (n) cigarette paper made from pandanus leaf. rauarana (n) its cigarette paper (rauara). rauia (n) their thatch (house). rauna (n) its thatch. raurau (n) plate; record (for record player). raurau ni wae (n) top part of the foot. raure (v) separate. raure nako (adj) separate, apart. rawa (n) channel, passage to a lagoon. rawa (v) refuse. rawa (v) dislike. rawaawata (adj) heavy. rawaawata (adj) sad. rebwerebwe (n) motorbike. rebwerebwe (n) successive crashing around sounding like thunder. reirei (n) school. reirei (v) study. reirei ibukini mm'akuri (n) technical institute. reirei n neeti (n) school of nursing. reirei ni kaimoa (n) marine training school. reirei n tia reirei (n) teachers' college. reireiti (v) join together (as short pieces of string). reke (v pp) gotten. rereaki (v pass) mixed (drink/food). reerio (n) radio. reta (n) letter. ri (v) pass. ria (v) appear.

riai (adj) proper, better;. riai (aux) must. ribana (v) cultivate. riki (adv) else; more. riki (v) happen, become;. riki (v) start to grow. rikitemanna (n) only child. rimoa (adj) past. rimoa (v) go before or go ahead of. rimwi (adj) late. rimwi (v) come late, come after. rin (v) get in, enter. rinan (n) row. rine (v) excel, be superior. rineaki (v pass) chosen, elected. rinerine (n) election. riniia (n) their entrance, their admittance. ririki (n) year. Ritemba (n) December. roo (n) anchor. roo (n) rope. roo (n) dark, darkness. roaroa (n) rodfishing. roobu (n) rope. roka (n) a lock. roka (n) a game played with playing cards. roki (n) blind (as window blind), curtain. rooki (n) curtains. roko (v) come, arrive, be present. rokoia (n) their arrival, their presence. rokona (n) his/her presence or arrival. rongorongo (n) news. rongorongoni (n) news of. roroo (adj) black. rooro (n) ages. roro (n) age, generation. rooroo (v) be at anchor. roroa (n) neck. rooroko (v) visit at regular times. rootongitong (adj) very dark. ruu (n) room. ruabwi (num) ninety. ruaiua (num) nine. ruoia (n) Kiribati dancing. rurungaa (n) rumbling.


T te ti to tu taaba (n) a long and broad knife. taba (n) cheek. Taabati (n) Sunday. tabe (adj) busy. tabeai (adj) some (sticks, etc.). tabeka (v) lift. tabekia (v) lift it. tabeman (n) somebody. taberan (n) top of (tree, plants and mast). tabetabe (adj) busy. tabetai (adv) sometimes. tabeua (n) some (things). taabia (n) earring. Tabiteuea (n) the biggest island in the Gilberts. taabo (n) places. tabo (n) place; point or end. taboia (n) their ends or points. tabon (n) end of; point of. tabona (n) its end, point. tabonibai (n) finger. tabu (adj) holy; forbidden; sacred. taeka (n) word. taekan (n) word of; news of. taekana (n) words or news about him//her/it. taekin (v) speak about (pl. of taekina). taekinna (v) speak about it. taetae (n) language. taetae (v) speak. taetae ni kawai (n) old language; conversation. taetae ni kawai (v) to speak, have a conversation. taai (n) times. taai (n) sun (no article).

tai (n) time; clock or watch. tai (neg) don't. taian (pron) those (things, people, etc.). taiani (pron) those (things, people, etc.). taiaoka (aux) please. taibora (n) table. tain (n) time of; season. taai nako (adv) all the time, everytime. tairiki (n) evening. tairikin (n) evening of. taka (v) thirsty. takaakaro (n) a game. takaakaro (v) to play. takaakaroia (n) their play. takataka (n) copra. taakinaki (v pass) spread out as mat. taku (v) say. tama (n) father. tam'akan (n) climbing of. Tamana (n) the second island from the south of the Gilberts. tam'arakea (v) climb up, ascend. tamau (n) my father. taamnei (n) picture. taamnein (n) picture of. taan (n) -ers, those who do. tanai (n) axe (small). taan akawa (n) fishermen. taani (n) those who, -ers (pl. of tia). taani kateitei (n) construction workers. tanimaeaontaai (n) afternoon. tanimainiku (n) eastern side;. taninga (n) ear. taninga (v) wait. taningaia (n) their ears. taningaia (v) wait for him/her/it. tanoni (n) soil of; sand of; earth of. tanrake (n) ocean side or eastern side or shore. tanraken (n) ocean side of, eastern side of. taan reirei (n) teachers. tanrion (n) lagoon side of; western side of. taan ununiki (n) agricultural workers, farmers.

taanga (n) couples. taanga (n) army. tangi (v) cry. tangim (n) your cry. tanginako (n) shower of rain. tanginako (v) move away (as sound). tanginako (v) ignored, embarrassed. tangira (v) want; like; love. tangirai (v) want me; like me; love me. tangiria (v) like him/her/it; love him/her/it. tangiriko (v) like you; love you. tao (aux) about; perhaps. taoo (n) saw (tool). taoo (v) saw (wood, etc.). taobongiia (adv) every other day, leaving off days. taokita (n) doctor. taonna (v) press down; stand or sit on. taonna (v) postpone. taorooro (n) taro. taotaona (v) pressing down. taotaona (v) to be patient. taara (n) towel. taaraa (n) dollar. taraia (vt) look at it. taraiia (vt) look at them. taraan (n) the look of something/ someone. Tarawa (n) capital island of the Gilberts. taari (n) sea; seawater. taariaki (adj) salted. tarim (n) your sibling of same sex. taarin (n) salt of. taarin (n) sea of. tarin (n) his/her/its sibling of same sex. tariu (n) my sibling of same sex. taromauri (v) pray, worship. tatae (n) torch fishing for flying fish. tataneiai (v) used to, accustom. tataninga (vi) wait; keep waiting. tataningaa (vt) wait for (someone). taatang (v) cry at regular time; that can cry; make sound or rings. taatangira (v) fond of. tataro (v) to pray or a prayer.

tau (adj) enough; fit. tauu (v) hold, plural verb form of taua. taua (v) hold. tauaki (v pass) held. tauakin (n) hold of. tau manin taninga (n) singing with hand covering the ear. tauni mate (n) funnel. tau on (n) turtle chase. taura (n) lamp; something that gives out light at night. tauraoi (adj) ready. tautaeka (n) government. tautaeka (v) rule, govern. tawanou (n) noon. te (art) the, a. teaina (n) one stick. Teaoraereke (n) village on Tarawa. Tebetemba (n) September. te boo (n) same. tebotebo (n) bath. tebotebo (v) bathe. tebubua (num) one hundred. tebwi (num) ten followed by unit. tebwi ma itiua (num) seventeen. tebwi ma nimaua (num) fifteen. tebwi ma aua (num) fourteen. tebwina (num) ten. teei (n) baby, child, kid. teei (v) keep standing. tei (v) stand. teinnaiine (n) girl. teirake (v) to stand up. teitei (v) standing. tekateka (v) sit. teke (v) pricked; beaten, (as in a competition). tekena (v) to beat (as in a competition). temanna (num) one (person/animal/small fish/insect). tena (v) bite. tenaiko (v) bite you. tenamoko (n) smoke, e.g. from tobacco. tenibwi ma nimaua (num) thirty five. teniman (num) three (persons/animals, etc.).

teniua (num) three (things). tengaun (num) ten (people, animals, etc.). teraa (interrog) what? teuaae (pron) this man who (followed by name or description). teuaaei (pron) this man. teuana (num) one (article). teuaane (pron) that man. teuaare (pron) that man who (followed by name or description). teuaarei (pron) that man there. teutana (adj) some. tewaana (num) one (canoe/ship/boat). ti (adv) only. ti (pron) we. tii (v) shoot out, gush out. tia (aux) have/has/had; finished. ti a boo (interj) good-bye. tiaabora (n) shovel. tiaki (neg) not. tianaki (n) something like food, etc. prepared for a journey. tianti (n) cent (money). Tianuare (n) January. tiaoka (n) chalk (blackboard pencil). tia reirei (n) teacher. tib'a (aux) just. tib'aake (n) lighter (= spark). tiib'aati (n) teapot. tibeeranna (v) spell it. tibu (n) grandpa or grandma. tibuu (n) my grandparent. tibu (v) swell. tiibuta (n) mini dress for women, like blouse. tibu to mm'aane (n) grandfather. tientemiita (n) centimeter. tikareti (n) cigarette. tikiraoi (adj) beautiful, pretty, nice looking. tiku (v) stay, stay away. tikuni (v) stay away of. tikuru (n) screw. tina (n) mother. tinaia (n) their mother. tinan (n) mother of. tinaniku (n) outside. tinanikun (n) outside of.

tinau (n) my mother. tiireeree (n) Gilbertese kind of dancing using short skirts. tiriwae (n) panty. titaokin (n) stockings. titeboo (n) same (tiiteboo). titiraki (n) a question. titiraki (v) to ask, to question. titirakinna (v) to ask him/her, to question him/her. titirakinai (v) to ask me, to question me. titooa (n) a store. toa (adj) even. toa (n) a giant. toa (n) church feast. toabuaka (adj) odd, not even. toabuaka (v) disabled. toaraoi (adj) equal in number. toobu (n) soap. toobu ni irewi (n) toothpaste. toka (v) ride. tokatoka (v) riding on as in surfing. toki (v) stop, halt, pause. tomai (v) join. tonotonon to bai (n) soft part of palm of hand. Toromon (n) Solomon. totooa (adj) very big in size. toua (v) hit with a foot; step on. tuae (n) pandanus dried pulp. tuai (adv) not yet. tuangai (v) tell me. Tuun (n) June. Tuurai (n) July. tuta ni kawai (n) junction. Tutia (n) Mass. Tuvalu (n) group of islands formerly named Ellice Islands.


U uu (n) eel trap. uaa (n) fruit.

uaa (v) bearing fruit. uabaa (num) two (leaves). uabwi (num) twenty. uaia (adj) both. uaaia (n) their fruits. uaia (n) racing. uaakai (pron) these men. uaakanne (pron) those men. uaakekei (pron) those men there. uaana (n) its fruit. uaanikai (n) fruit. uangaun (num) twenty. uara (interrog) how is it? uareereke (adj) small, tiny. uatai (num) two times; twice. uaati (v) wash. ukeuke (n) examination. ukeuke (v) to examine, to test. uki ni bai (n) fingernail. uki ni baim (n) your fingernail. um'a (n) house. um'an reirei (n) house of schooling, classroom. um'an tabu (n) house of holiness; church. um'an tebotebo (n) house of bath; bathroom. umunaki (adj) baked. unika (n) plant. unika (v) plant. unikaki (v pass) planted. uniki (v) plant (pl. form of unika). unimm'aane (n) old man. unuuniki (n) agriculture. unuuniki (v) to plant. uoman (num) two (people/animals or birds). uotaki (v pass) brought. uoti (v) to carry (plural of uota). uoua (num) two (general). uraura (adj) red. uringa (v) remember. uringga (v) remember it. uruakaki (v pass) broken. uruaki (v pass) broken. uto (n) young coconut tree. utuu (n) family, relative.


W waa (n) canoe. wae (n) leg, foot. waebua (n) thumb. waekoa (adj) fast. waekoa (v) walk fast. waeremwe (adj) slow. waeremwe (v) walk slowly. waetata (adj) fast. waaia (n) their canoe. waaki (v) go on; progress. waan (n) canoe of. waanibanga (n) Kiribati dance (for men).

wanibwi (num) eighty. waanikiba (n) airplane. waniman (num) eight (men, women, etc.) (animate). waniua (num) eight (stone, books, etc.) (inanimate). wareka (v) read; count. warekia (v) read it; count it. warem'ane (n) counting money. warem'ane (v) count money. wareware (n) reading. wareware (v) read. wene (v) lie down. wetea (v) call. wii (n) tooth; mouth. wiib'ara (n) wheel barrow. wiiki (n) week. wiikin (n) week of. wiin (n) mouth of; peak of; blade (razor, knife, axe, etc.).

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