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Old 27-08-2014, 17:39   #1
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Sources for learning Polynesian language

I'm hoping to be visiting the Marquesas in 2016, and in preparation I am studying French (using Rosetta Stone). I am curious, though, about picking up some understanding of the native languages of Polynesia. I know there are similarities, and that there must be some resources to learn to speak elementary Polynesian, but where?

I seem to have a knack for learning languages, and I love the feeling of being able to overhear locals talking and to get a picture of what is going on. I am fluent in Spanish, and I can speak enough Swedish to make my way across the country by sailboat, but French has always been a draw for me. Picking up some language skills in Marquesan and the the other dialects used in French Polynesia would be very cool.

Does anyone have suggestions for expanding my communication skills? Besides getting a local lover?
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Old 27-08-2014, 18:40   #2
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

The Marquesans speak a dialect of Tahitian. Don't know if there is any on line or other source to learn Tahitian. If you pick up their language you will be treated way better than the typical French or English speaking cruiser/tourist. The father of an American family that was cruising when we were there had cruised to Tahiti with his dad when he was around 10 years old. They'd put him in school in Tahiti or Moorea for a year and he picked up better Tahitian than French. Only took him a few weeks after they got to the Marquesas before he was once again talking with the locals like a native. His son, who was also about 10, made friends readily with local kids and picked up a decent understanding of the language, as well. They were accepted, even sought out for social gatherings, dinners, etc. everywhere they went as soon as they started talking with the locals in their language.

We loved the Marquesas. If you are anticipating a slow cruise and think you'll spend quite a bit of time there, try and get a years visa before you leave. That way you won't have the hassle of renewing the visa periodically and possibly having to sail to Papeete to do it. We had a six month visa and used every bit of it and still didn't see all the Islands. We'd also liked to have spent more time in the Tuamotu's but had to get to Tahiti to renew our visa. It's windward sailing to get back so most cruiser's don't make the effort once they've gone west.

FWIW, no one would have ever accused of rushing through Islands.
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Old 27-08-2014, 19:00   #3
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

Marquesan: A Grammar of Space (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs [TILSM] 169): Gabriele H. Cablitz: 9783110189490: Amazon.com: Books

Were you looking for Northern Marquesan or Southern Marquesan?

At any rate, there are literally dozens of better options to learning French than Rosetta Stone (overpriced and over-hyped), and yes, I am a polyglot.

Try French in Action on PBS online, which is a free video series.
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Old 28-08-2014, 05:39   #4
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

Try contacting the Imiloa Centre in Hawaii. When we visited they were doing all sorts of things to keep the Polynesian language and culture alive. All the exhibits were explained in Polynesian, English and Japanese.

Best of luck - Sue
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Old 28-08-2014, 09:21   #5
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

Thanks, folks! I have started the Rosetta Stone series and am finding it a lot of fun, so that part of the investment is going well. The French in Action series is a real find (Resource: French in Action). I understand it has become a cult classic in language courses. It's easy to see why. Between these two, and finding someone who speaks French in my community, I think I will develop a better ear and facility with this new language.

As for the Marquesan and other Polynesian dialects or varieties, I will follow up with the Imiloa Center. I also found out that my local San Diego State University has a large Pacific Islander student body, so perhaps I can trade some sailing lessons for language lessons. I love Cruisers Forum. Such a varied and useful resource.
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Old 28-08-2014, 09:25   #6
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

Wow!!: Imiloa, Hilo Attractions | Hawai'i's Language Today
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Old 28-08-2014, 09:34   #7
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Re: Sources for learning Polynesian language

Sorry, don't see Polynesian languages, but I like playing https://www.duolingo.com/ on computer or iPhone... and friend just told me about BBC - Languages - Spanish - Mi Vida Loca for Spanish.
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