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Te taetae ni Kiribati

The language of Kiribati


Te tia kan taetae - Reirei Onoua

The Language Learner - Lesson Nine


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.


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

The Language Learner

Taiaoka b'a I aki oota. Excuse me, I don't understand.
I tuai n rabakau raoi n te taetae ni Kiribati b'a I a tib'a reirei. I'm not yet good at speaking Kiribati, because I'm just learning.
Bon au kaantaninga b'a N na waetata n rabakau. I hope to learn quickly.
I a butiiko ma kawiiremweko riki n taetae ao tai kaboonganai taeka aika a kaangaanga b'a I aonga ni waetata n rabakau. Please speak slowly, and don't use difficult words, so that I can learn more quickly.
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

A:  Ko rabakau n taetae ni Kiribati?A:  Can you speak Kiribati?
B:  I tuai raoi b'a I a tib'a reirei.B:  Not really because I'm just learning.
A:  Titeboo ma ae ko bon rabakau.A:  You seem to be good at it.
B:  I tuai, I ti kinai taeka tabeua.B:  Not yet, I only recognize some words.
A:  Ko atai taeka tabeua.A:  You know some words.
B:  E kangaa? Tai kawiitatako.B:  What's that? Don't speak so fast.
A:  I kaangai ko ti atai taeka tabeua, tiaki kinai taeka tabeua.A:  I said you only know some words, not recognize some words.
B:  I aki oota.B:  I don't understand.
A:  I a tib'a ataia b'a ko nangi tib'a reirei te taetae ni Kiribati.A:  I just realized that you really don't speak Kiribati yet.
B:  E kangaa?B:  What's that again?
A:  E a tau ma ti a boo.A:  That's enough, good-bye.
B:  Ti a kaboo.B:  Good-bye.



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!

Outside Activities:

Get into a conversation with some children. Ask them to speak more slowly. Try the same thing on older people. See if you can notice a difference in their responses.

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.