I was in Landstuhl, Germany when a Caucasian man approached me. He smiled and said: Hi Ufa! I was a little insulted but figured he might’ve fallen for a translation prank with a Samoan sometime in his life.
I told him, “Do you know what you’re saying? You gotta’ be careful my friend. You will not only lose your teeth, but you’ll learn the hard way also that what you had just said is a cuss word in Samoan.”
This particular encounter had me wondering about the pervasive yearn of our very own to teach the language, hence the profanity. Let alone, teaching the Samoan language to anyone they meet became a positive perspective to look at.
Any Samoan can apply the exact approach by enabling people to speak words of wisdom like: Fa’afetai lava, Ua a mai oe, Fa’amolemole, Manuia lou aso, Alofa tele atu. Words like that are our true identity. Our beautiful identity.
I’m always fond of my Samoan identity, especially the fact that I was brought up in the Fa’asamoa. We communicate at home in Samoan. We communicate respectively in special functions and events also using our respective Samoan language.
What I fathom more is the advantage of speaking two different languages and valuing my very first and its unique difference from other languages in the world.
- Ou te alofa i la’u gagana Samoa. I love my Samoan language.
- Ou te mitamita i la’u gagana Samoa. I am proud of my Samoan language.
- O isi punaoa ma measina a Samoa o lana gagana. Some of Samoa’s renowned possessions and resources is its language.
While exploring job engines and software in the United States, I learned that other languages are acknowledged for translations and in optional portals. An incumbent can easily choose the option of their language in a drop down menu. Samoan language is sometimes muddled with languages like Hawaiian, Pidgin Hawaiian or Somalian. For other websites, there’s none in the drop down menu. It is not documented or incorporated into some software and tools.
These are the negated terms our generations need to fill for our ancestors. We can journey pass that void by encouraging organizations and technological companies to recognize the “Samoan” language. Better yet, introduce it as the language of the Samoan people when building software for global companies so it may be known among other world languages.
Hawaii’s language is a fluent Hawaiian language and Pidgin. Jamaica speaks a Jamaican Creole language called Patois. Native Americans have their set of languages among its tribes – Navajo language to be the most spoken language. People from Germany speaks German. Spanish, a language more spoken besides English in the US, is the language of Hispanic communities. What I like about this, especially the Hispanic communities, is the fact that even though children are born away from their roots and countries, they still speak and communicate fluently using their language. All these language are easily located on a drop down menu on any website. Not the Samoan language.
The Samoan language has its phonological variations formally and informally. The formal spoken language is always used among elders or official functions and events. Officially, for example: “Talofa i lau Susuga i le Ao Fa’alupega.” (Translation: Hello or Greetings to a Reverend-a matriarch beyond any chief or respected title.) Informal, as spoken by youths and on a daily basis, we’d say Malo!
While reading about other languages in the world, I gathered facts about the uniqueness of my Samoan language. Here are some of those facts:
- My language defines me whichever way I choose to speak, formal or informal.
- My language only uses the purdy letters AEIOUFGLMNPSTVHKR.
- It unites my people wherever we are in the world. We see each other; we say “Malo” meaning “Hello.” Frankly, even though we do not know each other, we carry on a conversation in Samoan as if we do.
- Hearing my daughter speak Samoan is the most beautiful thing. Although the neighbor’s kids knew not a lick of Samoan, it was kind uh’ awkward hearing her say at three years old, “E fashi’ (fasi) oe?” And to hear them render a prayer by singing, “Malie pule le Tama,” before a meal is just priceless.
- T and K are referred to the same thing. For example Tavita and Kavika is still the same person.
- Dejavue at Home: Samoan language is the mother tongue spoken at home. Whether a child is born in the US, NZ or AUS, they’ll still understand what their parents are saying.
- Shows respect and honor. Samoan language is spoken formally in functions and events to address everyone.
- Several words in the Samoan language have different usages or reused for other terms. Like the word “Malo” itself means many things: Hello, government, hard and win. The only difference is their pronunciations and how the word is used in a sentence.
- The Samoan language is so unique that it has to be studied in order for anyone to actually understand and learn. You have to be around the crowd to listen and hear how words are used to comprehend the quality of the Samoan language.
- Google’s very first erected application to launch a virtual Samoan translation app slightly confused the majority on the translation of Samoan words.”Malo le soifua maua” were translated on Google as, “Government Health Care available.” (Google Translation)
- Like Native Americans, the Samoan language was used as a code talking language during World War 2 also. The language was used via transmitted radio messages to safeguard missions.
- You can enjoy learning this language anytime! Our G’s are pronounced like ng. (angle, bongo, ang) (Say “Pago Pago!” )
- The Samoan language is my identity of who I am and where I am from.
- Every Samoan should be proud of his or her Samoan language. Even when they choose to speak curvy as if they were born off the island (livaliva aso); yet, deep down in their hearts, they know they’re Samoan and can speak the Samoan language.
- My very first novella, Lovefolds of Our Upbringing was written with nearly as must Samoan words that no other book in the United States itself had for a dual language. The book was chosen for its own audience, yet in the latter, reviews appeared that there were too many Samoan words. And these were Samoan people writing these reviews. Sooooo, THERE!
Be proud of your culture and language. Mitamita i lau aganu’u ma lau gagana.