Soʻo le fau i le fau
Literal Translation: Join the hibiscus fibre to hibiscus fibre
Proverbial Meaning: Unity is strength.
Version: January 22, 2014
is a compilation of information for helping those interested in
learning Sāmoan. There are other resources available. This list
constitutes information that I have found to be most useful. If
you know of better ones, feel free to let me know.
Dictionary by G. B. Milner. This book is easy to buy from
in New Zealand. They will ship to the U.S.
Sāmoa by Papaāli`i Dr Semisi Ma`ia`i. This book is a
relatively new book and is primarily printed by Little Island Press.
Wheelers carries them but in low stock, so recommend ordering
from Little Island Press direct. This is definitely a must-have.
Useful Video Lessons
very few audio resources available. Neither Pimsleur nor Rosetta
provide language training for Samoan. These are pretty much the
only two well compiled sets:
There is also
Language 101 course on saolelei.com. The audio samples seem pretty good
but I have no idea what you get for the $99 per year fee.
A good way to
gain more exposure is by listening to native speakers. They will
speak way too fast, but gradually you'll start to pick up the
words as you learn more of the language. It will also help you get
a handle on how to pronounce words.
also help you wrap your tongue around pronuncation of words and
keep you motivated. Also the songs are usually sung slower than
how words are spoken on the radio giving you an opportunity to
slowly translate. Lyrics are also typically available online to
give you another opportunity to practice translating.
Unfortunately few songs are translated into English.
to learn more vocabulary is to eat Samoan food.
Here are a few restaurants in California and O`ahu:
- Samoana Market and
Bakery - 6082
Ave., Long Beach, CA 90805
- Oloa Samoa - 1906
Blvd, Oceanside, CA 92054
Grill and Bakery - 1329 East Carson Street Carson, CA
Market - 2161B N School St, Honolulu, HI 96819
Polynesian Market - 94-839 Farrington Hwy, Ste 101,
Waipahu, HI 96797
- Samoan Educator Disks - Dated and difficult to use software.
(web link no longer exists).
Some Tips As
- Start by learning how to pronounce the letters. Be patient
with this and get it right or else everything else afterwards
will get screwed up. Even if you are just pronouncing words
without knowing their meaning- just practice having them roll
off your tongue correctly.
- Since there are only 14 letters in the alphabet (5 vowels, 9
consonants) you will often find words with lots of vowels,
which adds a bit more of a challenge when learning vocabulary.
- You will learn faster if you feed your brain simultaneously in
3 ways: reading the text, saying the words out loud, and writing
it down. Do not substitute hand writing for typing on a
computer. It is not equivalent- which is one of the main
failings of the Samoan Educator Disks listed above in the Avoid
- Also as you become more experienced you will often find it's
easier to translate from samoan text to english text rather than
english to samoan. So really proof of whether you really know
the language is to be able to easily do english to samoan
- Samoan is a context
language. That means where
a word is used can affect its meaning. Therefore
dictionary entries will often have several seemingly unrelated
meanings for any given word.
- Often on the Internet native speakers will leave off symbols
when writing words, like macrons (the dash above a vowel such as
the one above the a in Sāmoa) or the reverse quote symbol
(called a glottal stop in the word faʻamolemole). Leaving the
symbols out can change the meaning of the word and can also be a
source of confusion for beginning learners. For example: tama
means boy, but tamā
means father. loʻu means
my, lou means your.
- Learn some basic pronouns relatively early (e.g. I, you,
he/she, we, they) since so many conversations you typically hear
(especially on radio or in songs revolve around people). However
samoan pronouns are a more of a challenge to learn because they
have the notion of inclusive vs exclusive forms, as well as
singular and plural forms. You will learn those in detail from
the Gagana Samoa book mentioned above.