Le Gagana Samoa = The Samoan Language
We refer to the Samoan way of life as ‘Fa’asamoa’, but we also use this word to talk about our Samoan language knowledge, as in… “My fa’asamoa has improved a lot since we moved to Samoa” or, “Her fa’asamoa is really good, even though she grew up in New Zealand.”
How’s your fa’asamoa?
This beginner-level quiz is part of the first Samoan language quiz to feature in our Notebook Samoana emails, except this one has answers!
[If you invest in this Samoan Language coursebook by Galumalemana Afeleti Hunkin, a small percentage of your purchase will also help support One Samoana].
Happy Samoan Language Week!
To celebrate, I’m posting here something I shared a recent Notebook Samoana newsletter. I love that the number one request I get from our readers is, “Please help me learn our language!”
We’re working on it :).
In the meantime, other amazing Samoans have developed some great online tools for keeping the Samoan language alive. Check them out here.
So Google Translate speaks Samoan now.
How amazing is that?
We make up such a small percentage of the world’s population, and so many of us are raised outside of Samoan-speaking communities, that we’re at risk of losing our basic language skills.
And then Google blesses us with this gift.
Today’s Samoa is founded on Christianity, so it’s very common for us to give our children Bible names. Because of our Samoan pronunciation, though, it’s not always clear to the western ear which Biblical characters our names refer to. And some of these names are so widely used in our culture that they’re just Samoan … Continue reading 45 Biblical names – for boys and girls – in the Samoan language
In the western world, complimenting someone on their appearance or accessories is a great way to strike up a conversation. It doesn’t always work like that for Samoans. I remember one time, I mentioned to a relative that her bag was pretty, and then when she tried to give it to me, I was like, … Continue reading Be careful when you praise Samoans
Another one of my most favourite Samoan jams is Afai Ua e Musu (I love the version by the Five Stars). It’s basically a guy telling a girl, “If you don’t want me, just tell me. I’m cool. I can hack it. Let’s just get this over with.” And then he quotes Samoan proverbs including … Continue reading Samoan Proverb about a Humble Snake
As the heart of the Pacific ocean, it makes sense that so many of Samoa’s alagaupu & muagagana (proverbs & idioms) use the imagery of fishing. Like this one: O le upega e fili i le po, ‘ae tatala i le ao Its literal translation: The fishing net is knotted (or braided) at night, but … Continue reading Samoan Proverb – Sorted like a fishing net in the morning
My grandfather was a diligent note-keeper. He was a faiava, which means he lived with my grandmother in her village (rather than his own), and he kept several notebooks worth of hand-written records on her family’s history and titles. This grandfather was also a gifted orator. He died when I was very young, but I … Continue reading Alagaupu ma Muagagana – Samoan Proverbs and Expressions
Uso is the Samoan word for either brother or sister, depending on your gender. You’ll see/hear this word thrown around a lot amongst Samoans – “Eh, uso!” or “Ua ‘li’i, uso?” and sometimes more ‘urban’ Samoans will make this short word even shorter: “Hey, uce!” Not my favorite variation of the word, but I’ll let … Continue reading How to use the Samoan word, Uso
A couple years ago, an expectant mother asked the natives in the the ville to suggest Samoan names for her new baby girl. The discussion received a handful of genuine attempts to be helpful, but the other 5 pages of replies were full of so much stupidity I swear… The suggestions ranged from ‘Sasa’e‘ meaning … Continue reading 10 pretty-sounding Samoan names for girls…that have nice meanings too