Samoa Language and Languages
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There are 165,000 people in Western Samoa. All are Polynesian and speak Samoan. American Samoans also have a rich language that remains the main language of the people.
English is the second language and all islanders can speak English as well. There are several levels of spoken language. The high talking chiefs have a high oratory of rhetoric that only the indoctrinated can understand. They are the politicians and negotiators. There are regular chiefs that speak the everyday language of the people and get things done. Many have noticed how similar this is to mainland American society.
Palagis (Caucasians) who try to learn are a great source of entertainment to native speakers. Learn to laugh along with them and be grateful their English is better than your Samoan!
Samoan is from the Austronesian family of languages. It is closely related to other Polynesian languages, especially Tongan. Here is a very cursory overview of the language and some vocabulary.
Consonants: p,t,m,n,g,f,v,s, and a glottal stop, '
A glottal stop is when you start a vowel with your throat closed, as usually is done in English. If you didn't, the word 'apple' would sound like 'happle.'
More letters k,h and r were added to the Samoan alphabet for foreign or borrowed words. To complicate things for the beginner, in the common vernacular some consonants are transposed when spoken: l for r and k for t. Thus the name Maria can become Malia and telefoni can become kelefoni.
The "g" is pronounced with "ng" sound, so Pago Pago is pronounced Pahngo Pahngo. You can have fun correcting your educated friends with this one.
Vowels: a,e, i, o, u pronounced generally as in romantic languages such as Spanish and Italian.
HERE IS A SMALL VOCABULARY
|a||of, particle used in many ways|
|ali'i||man of rank, chief|
|asu||smoke from a fire|
|aumai||get or bring|
|fa'a||In the way of, fa'a Samoa, the Samoan way|
|fale||house, falea'oga- school house|
|i||in, particle denoting position|
|Kerisimasi||Christmas. The Samoan word for Christ is Keriso and Kerisian for Christian.|
|lava||commonly used like saying "enough" in English|
|lavalava||clothes, particularly a wrap-around cloth|
|le||the, definite article, plural e|
|leai||no, none, gone|
|manuia||happy, lucky, Manuia le aso|
|manuia le kerisimasi||merry christmas|
|matai||title of extended family chief|
|oka||okaoka, exclamation of surprise|
|papalagi||also palagi, anglos|
|palolo||segmented sea creature that comes out of the coral to breed (and be eagerly eaten)|
|taupou||title for position of village maiden|
|toga||fine mat, very valuable|
|tusi||write, tusitala, person who writes stories|
|'ukulele||small stringed instrument, you know it!|
|'ula||garland of flowers, 'ulalei, garland of ivory|
|va'alele||airplane, 'flying canoe'|
LEARNING TO COUNT
11. sefulutasi, 12. sefululua, 13. sefulutolu, 14. sefulufa, etc.
20. luasefulu, 30. tolusefulu, 40. fasefulu, 50. limasefulu, etc.
21. luasefulutasi, 22. luasefululua, 23. luasefulutolu, etc.
100. tasi selau, 200. lua selau, etc.
A FEW WORDS BORROWED FROM ENGLISH
|viole, mumu pa'auli||