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Te taetae ni Kiribati

The language of Kiribati


Ko maeka iaa? - Reirei Itiua

Where do you live? - Lesson Seven


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?Tom:  Hello Henry! Where have you been?
Eneri:  I a kamani kiitana ikai. Ai bon tib'a okiu aei.Henry:  I've been away quite a while. This is my first return visit.
Toma:  E koaua! Ao ko maeka iaa?Tom:  Really! And where are you living?
Eneri:  I maeka i Tarawa. I mm'akuri n te Bootaki n Reirei. Ao ngkoe, ko boni maeka naba n am kaawa aarei?Henry:  I'm living on Tarawa. I work for the Ministry of Education. What about you, do you still live in the same village?
Toma:  I a aki ngkai. I a manga maeka i Teaoraereke. I a tib'a katea au auti iai. E a kani bane rauna n toka. Karekea am tai n nooria.Tom:  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.
Eneri:  E eng, I rangi ni kan nooria – b'a e mena iaa?Henry:  Yes, I'd like to see it. But where is it located?
Toma:  E kaan ma te m'aneaba i Teaoraereke.Tom:  It's near the Maneaba at Teaoraereke.
Eneri:  E raoiroi. N na karekea au tai n nooria.Henry:  Good. I'll make some time to see it.
Toma:  E tau, ti a manga boo.Tom:  Enough then, we'll meet again.
Eneri:  E eng, ti a boo.Henry:  Yes, good-bye.


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 additional questions:    

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



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.

Outside Activities:

You should try to put into practice your new conversational skills with people you meet. Ask them about others. Find out where people you know in common are from. How long have they lived there? And before that?

Kiribati page

© 1979, 2003 Stephen Trussel, ACTION / Peace Corps, The Experiment in International Living. The Experiment in International Living, Inc., prepared this handbook for the U. S. Government under ACTION Contract number 78-043-1037. The reproduction of any part of this handbook other than for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research, or other "fair use" is subject to the prior written permission of ACTION.