preview

Samoan Language

Satisfactory Essays
Samoan is a rich language that remains the principal language of the people of Samoa. The Samoan language is exquisite and quite easy to learn and is similar to other languages in the pacific region. “Samoan is a branch of the Austronesian Language, formerly called Malayo-Polynesian language, one of the word’s largest language families, both in terms of numbers of languages-more than 700-and geographic spread-covering islands and some mainland areas from Madagascar in the west to Easter Island and Hawaii in the east” (Amerika Samoa). “The Austronesian language is divided into two branches: Formosan, the languages spoken by about 200,000 people in Taiwan; and Malayo-Polynesian, comprising the rest of the language in the Austronesian family” (Encarta Online). As a student finishing up his 2nd year of the Hawaiian Language, I was amazed to find several words in Pouliuli having the same meaning in Hawaiian. Therefore, this report will focus on the Samoan language; it’s rules, pronunciation, and the similarities and differences between the Samoan language and the Hawaiian language.

The Samoan language cannot be considered as strong language, and few letters of the alphabet are put to use. “D and B are never used; H, R, and K are of rare occurrence, which are found in words that have been introduced. All words have a vowel termination, and their etymological forms are constructed by the employment of particles attached to the roots, thereby forming agglutinative or polysynthetic words. The Samoan language is comprised of only fourteen letters-five vowels, A, E, I, O, U, and nine consonants, F, G, L, M, N, P, S, T, V, --H, K, and R only occurring in words of foreign origin” (Neffgen 3). The Samoan language now contains many introduced words, which have been distorted by added vowels or substituted consonants, in order for native speakers to articulate them.

Samoan vowels have long and short versions. The language is generally pronounced as in romantic languages such as Spanish and Italian. In print the long vowel sound is represented by the presence of a dash or macron over the vowel. Here is a chart on how to pronounce each vowel.

Vowel Long Short
A Bath But
E Eh Bet
I Feet Bit
O Raw Gone
U Pool Pew
Source: Samoan Sensation

“Samoan consonants are pronounced the same as in English, with the exception of G, which sounds like the NG as in song” (Samoan Sensation).

The Hawaiian language and Samoan language are quite similar because they both come from the same language family.
Get Access