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.
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.
, so Pago Pago is prounounced Pahngo Pahngo. You can have fun correcting your educated friends with this one.
pronounced generally as in romantic lanuguages such as Spanish and Italian, Aah, ay, ee ,oh, ooh.
Samoa vocabulary list
a'oga- school, faia'oga- teacher
a- of, particle used in may ways
a'u- I, me
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
fa'afetai- thank you
fale- house, falea'oga- school house
i- in, particle denoting position
ie togafine mat
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
sa- sacred, forbidden
papalagi- also palagi, anglos
palolo- segmented sea creature that comes out of the coral to breed (and be eagerly eaten)
tusi- write, tusitala, person who writes stories
oka- okaoka, exclamation of surprise
taupou- title for position of village maiden
toga- fine mat, very valuable
'ukulele- small stringed instrument, you know it!
'ula- garland of flowers, 'ulalei, garland of ivory
va'alele- airplane, 'flying canoe'
Learning to count
14. sefulufa, etc.
50. limasefulu, etc.
23. luasefulutolu, etc.
100. tasi selau
200. lua selau, etc.
Some words borrowed from English
moa- lawn mower
purple- viole, mumu pa'auli
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