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 […]
[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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Uso is the Samoan word for either brother or sister, depending on your gender. In the Samoan language, if you are female, your uso is your sister. If you are male, your uso is your brother. You’ll see/hear the word uso thrown around a lot – “Eh, uso!” or “Ua ‘li’i, uso?” and sometimes more […]
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 […]
Spawnbreezie recorded the most recent version of this song, but it’s a true Samoan classic. Thank you to JJW for his beautiful translation. (I tried lol). I’m not sure who wrote the original – Tiama’a? Five Stars? – but he or she was a lyrical poet indeed:
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, […]