The Creation Story in Samoan (with audio)

Bible Stories in Samoan

The Creation Story in Samoan (with audio)

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The best way to learn a language is to just dive in and learn it, right?

As part of my goal to speak Samoan like a matai, I’ve been trying to stay immersed in the Samoan language – as much as I can in New Zealand. I’ve been hanging out with my matai uncles, listening to my favourite Samoan songs and reading my scriptures in Samoan.

Can I tell you what an amazing tool the Holy Bible is for learning Samoan? I mean, we know how crucial it is for every Christian to cherish the truths in this sacred text, but for someone trying to pick up our more formal Samoan language, the Bible is an invaluable source of vocabulary and sentence structure learning.

So, I figured we should study it together, here :).

I’ve summarized several Bible stories for us to work with, beginning with The Creation Story below. I tried to make the language a little bit easier than what you’ll find in the actual Bible, and then I got my Samoan translator mother to check the words for us.

The idea is that we read each story in Samoan, compare it to its English translation (if necessary) and then get to know a small selection of this story’s vocabulary a little better.

I’m working on posting an audio clip of each story (this one is on the One Samoana Soundcloud now! Also embedded below.) – read by real Samoans who don’t speak Samoan with an English-speaker accent like I do lol – so we can follow along.

And… stay tuned for when I get these audio clips on YouTube, too :).

In the meantime, let’s give this first story a go, shall we?

The Creation of the World

I le amataga, na faia e le Atua le lagi ma le lalolagi. Na pogisā le lalolagi ma ua gaogao, peitai, na fetalai mai le Atua, “Ia malamalama.” Ona malamalama ai lea.
Translate to English
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was dark and empty, but then God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
Ua silasila atu le Atua i le malamalama, ua lelei. Ona tu’u eseese ai lea e le Atua le malamalama ma le pouliuli, ua fa’aigoa e ia le malamalama, o le Ao; a ua fa’aigoa e ia le pouliuli, O le Po. O le afiafi ma le taeao o le ulua’i aso lea.
Translate to English
And God saw the light and that it was good. Then God divided the light from the darkness, and he called the light, ‘Day’ and the darkness he called Night. That evening and morning were the first day.
O le aso lona lua, na faia e le Atua le va nimonimo – o le lagi. Ua va a’i vai i lalo o le va nimonimo, ma vai i luga o le va nimonimo. Ua fa’aigoa e ia le va nimonimo, O le lagi.
Translate to English
On the second day, God created a firmament – the sky. It separated the waters below the sky from the waters above the sky. He called this sky, Heaven.
Ua fetalai mai foi le Atua, ia potopoto fa’atasi o vai i lalo o le lagi i le mea e tasi. Ua ia fa’aigoa lea, O le Sami, Ua fetalai mai foi le Atua, Ia iloa foi le eleele matutū. Ona fa’apea lea. Na ia fa’aigoa le eleele matutū, O le Eleele. Ona fetalai mai lea o le Atua, Ia tupu le vao mu’a mai le eleele, ma le la’au afu e tupu ma ona fua, e fua mai e taitasi ma lona uiga, o ia te ia lava o ona fatu i luga o le ele’ele, i le ua faapea lava. O le afiafi ma le taeao o le aso tolu lea.
Translate to English
Then, God gathered together the waters under the heaven into one place. He called this the sea. And God said, “Let there be dry land.” And it was so. He called this dry land, earth. And from the earth, God brought forth grass, herbs, fruit trees – all with seeds so they could reproduce. That evening and morning were the third day.
O le aso lona fā, na fetalai mai le Atua, Ia i ai i le va nimonimo o le lagi o mea e malamalama a’i, e iloga ai le ao ma le po; e fa’amalamalama a’i le lalolagi; i le ua faapea lava. Ona faia lea e le Atua o malamalama tetele e lua; o le malamalama tele – o le la – e pule i le ao, a o le malamalama itiiti – o le masina – e pule i le po. Ua silasila atu i ai le Atua, ua lelei.
Translate to English
On the fourth day, God said, Let there be lights in the heavens, to divide the day from night and to give light to the earth. And he made two great lights – the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. And God saw that all the things he made were good.
O le aso lona lima, ua faia foi e le Atua o tanimo tetele ma mea ola uma e fetolofi – ma mea e tutupu i le sami, ma manu felelei i luga o le eleele ma le va nimonimo. Ona faamanuia atu i ai lea e le Atua, ua faapea atu, Ia uluola ma ia tupu tele, ma ia tumu ai le sami. Ia tupu tele foi manu felelei i le laueleele. Ona fetalai mai lea o le Atua, Ia tutupu mea ola mai le laueleele, taitasi ma lona uiga, o manu vaefa fanua, ma mea fetolofi, manu vaefa o le vao, e taitasi ma lona uiga, i le ua faapea lava.
Translate to English
On the fifth day, God created great whales and every living creature that moves – in the waters and in the sky. And God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the sea and fill the sky. And then God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures, too – cattle, creeping things and other beasts of the earth, and it was so.
Ona faia lea e le Atua, o le tagata i lona faatusa, ua faia o i laua o le tane ma le fafine. Na ia tuuina i ai ia pule foi i laua i i’a i le sami ma manu felelei, ma manu vaefa ma le laueleele uma, atoa ma mea fetolofi uma e fetolofi i le eleele. Ua faamanuia foi e le Atua ia te i la’ua ma ua fetalai atu ia fanafanau ia ma ia uluola ma ia tumu ai le lalolagi. Ua silasila atu le Atua i mea uma ua na faia, faauta foi, ua matua lelei lava, O le afiafi ma le taeao o le aso ono lea.
Translate to English
Finally, God created a man in his own image, and a woman as well. And he gave them dominion over the fishes of the sea, the fowl of the air and every living thing on earth. And he blessed this man and woman and told them to be fruitful, to multiply and replenish the earth. And God saw that everything he had made was very good. And that evening and morning were the sixth day.
Ona malolo ai lea o le Atua i le aso lona fitu.
Translate to English
On the seventh day, God rested.

10 Words to Know

If the Samoan language above was a bit advanced for you, start by learning a few simple words to help you find your way through our Creation Story.

6Heaven / SkyLagi / Va nimonimo
9ManTane / Tamaloa

Conversation Practice

Using these ten new words, see if you can follow along in the conversation below.

Grandma: O ai na faia le va nimonimo?
Who made the sky?
Child:O le Atua.
God did.
Grandma: O ai na faia le la ma le masina?
Who made the sun and the moon?
Child: O le Atua.
God did.
Grandma: Ae ā le laueleele ma le sami?
What about the earth and the ocean?
Child: Le Atua.
Grandma: Ae o ai le ulua’i tane?
And who was the first man?
Child: O Atamu.
It was Adam.
Grandma: Ae o ai le ulua’i fafine?
And who was the first woman?
Child: O Eva.
It was Eve.
Grandma: Lelei tele. Ma o le taimi nei, ua fai si leva o le aso. Ua o’o i le taimi e fai ai la tatou lotu.
Very good. Now it’s getting late in the day. It’s time to say our prayers.
Child: Aisea tatou te tatalo ai i aso uma?
Why do we have to pray every day?
Grandma: Auā fo’i e manaomia le tu’uina atu o le faafetai i le Atua mo mea uma ua tatou maua.
Because we need to thank God for everything we have.
Child: E pei o le la? Ma le sami?
Like the sun? And the ocean?
Grandma: Ioe. Ma vao mu’a ma la’au. Ma tatou te tatalo atu i le Atua e puipui mai i tatou.
Yes. And the grass and the trees. And we have to ask God to protect us.
Child: E pei o i le po? Pe ā o tatou momoe?
Like at night? When we are sleeping?
Grandma: Ioe. Ma le taeao pe ā tou o i le a’oga. Ma tatou te tatalo foi i le Atua e faamanuia i tatou ma o tatou aiga.
Yes. And in the morning when you go to school. And we have to ask God to bless us and our families too.
Child: Ia ua lelei. E mafai ona ou faia le tatalo?
Okay. Can I say the prayer?
Grandma: Ioe. Sau loa. Fai e oe le tatalo mo tatou.
Yes. Come now. You say the prayer for us.
Known IRL as Lillian (Lils, Lei'a) Arp, I'm just a Hamo Geek Girl, sitting behind a screen... learning, deep-thinking and typing up Samoan things.
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