Samoan Proverb – Sorted like a fishing net in the morning

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…

Alagaupu ma Muagagana – Samoan Proverbs and Expressions

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…

How to use the Samoan word, Uso

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…

10 pretty-sounding Samoan names for girls…that have nice meanings too

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…

Samoan Song Translation: Afai e te Alofa

This song is so pretty. It’s one of my top 5 all-time favourite island jams, particularly the version by legendary Samoan band Five Stars. The message is simple: if you love me, come back to me. Here’s how I would translate it line by line: Afai e te alofa / If you love (as in,…

Tweak your Samoan language skills

Most of us in the ville are at least a little bit familiar with the Samoan language… some of us (especially the Au Kalepe) are such experts they can happily take creative license… but all of us I’m sure could use a few reminders about proper Samoan grammar.

A little while ago, Liz M posted up what I think are a couple of the most enlightening blog posts in the ville – I definitely learned myself a few new things…

1. Gagana: 5 Common Errors

The following points are, in my opinion only, five of the most common grammatical and spelling errors I continue to observe in social gatherings including online sites such as Facebook, Twitter, as well as some independent Islander sites. I assume this may be from a lack of comprehension of the Samoan language so I have included a few notes as guidance. You may either take it or leave it, but I would appreciate if we can share our thoughts in order to increase awareness for those who wish to learn the gagana Samoa (Samoan language)… READ MORE

2. Gagana: Yours and Mine

My previous post about common errors in the Samoan language generated some requests for more tips on Samoan grammar. One of the requests is about understanding how to correctly use the pronouns lo’u/la’u (my) and lou/lau (your)… READ MORE

Samoana, Ala Mai: Translating Lota Nu’u

You know how at the end of a long Samoan (usually family) function, someone says the closing prayer then everybody gets up to sing a song together? I love that. Not just because it means we can go home soon and eat the food we’ve already loaded in the car (who does that?) ’cause of…