Fiji's Family Network
In my research on Fijian, one of the topics that comes up is the language type that characterizes the language. Traditionally, linguists classify the world's languages into four types. A) Analytic: languages with very short words, no prefixes or suffixes (example: Chinese) B) Synthetic: languages with longer words, but in which prefixes and suffixes express many meanings (example: Russian) C) Agglutinative: languages with even longer words, in which each affix has a distinct meaning (example: Japanese) D) Polysynthetic languages, in which a word can include all the elements normally found in a sentence as separate words (example: Eskimo).
So, what type is FIjian? On the one hand, we find many little 'particles' before and after the verb, as in the sentence 'au baci raica tale mada'. On the other hand, there are very long and complex words like 'vakavinavinakataki' (in fact, I thought about strating to write this post after I heard this word from someone who is helping me with the language!). So what is it? I am still trying to figure it out!
In the meantime, does anyone know what the longest word is in Fijian? And also can you keep adding affixes to words like 'vakavinavinakataki'? For instance, how would you say 'Mere and Laisa thanked each other'? I expect you can form very long words in Fijian if you really try!