I'm taking a class at my school in Tahitian, it is the beginning level. However, I am having trouble with understanding and memorizing the words. I am a native English speaker and know Mandarin to a certain degree.

The class is taught by immersion and that has confused me more than helped me. We are taught phrases and sentences, instead of words and then sentences like I am used to with Chinese language learning.

I'm okay with noticing the vowel differences and the eta is starting to make sense, but I have found that when I try to respond to a question in Tahitian, I can't do it. I have found that more often than not I start responding in Mandarin and then catch myself and lose the words.

I took this class as I needed to fill a spot and I thought it would be fun. It is fun, but I want to succeed in it. I don't want to be floundering in it like I am now :(

Does anyone have tips or tricks that make learning Tahitian (or other Polynesian languages) easier to comprehend?

1 Answer 1


Language learning is always hard at the start. If you are having problems understanding how the language works, ask your teacher for some materials that explain grammar and so on. You can also try discussing the materials with them.

You probably switch back to Mandarin because it's something you know and feels like a safe choice under pressure. There isn't much you can do about it now apart from maybe practice, like rehearse Tahitian needed for class at home. This way you will have a few responses that you know well that you can fall back on in class.

I would also recommend this tip that I was told once: When you say a sentence in English, afterwards try to figure out what it is in Tahitian. Don't worry about getting it wrong. This will help improve your knowledge and fluency of the language.

Listening to Tahitian - one thing you could do is find some Tahitian songs and try to write down the lyrics by ear, and then reference it with the actual lyrics. You could also find other things like Tahitian radio shows, tv programs etc that will get you used to listening to it.

  • +1 I couldn't agree more. I believe he wants to go to another language because he finds one concept hard. He just needs to keep practicing! <3 Good luck to him' and I hope he can do it. Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 21:37

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