Language of the Week: Samoan

To celebrate Samoan Language Week which runs from 24th May to 1st June this year, here are ten facts about this beautiful language and nation, which many of us know very little about.

If you fancy giving it a try, you can now start learning Samoan for free with uTalk. And for this week only, we’ve reduced the price of the Essentials and Premium upgrades to £2.99 and £6.99 (usually £7.99 and £11.99).


10 Facts about Samoan

  1. Samoan is a member of the Polynesian language family, one of the oldest branches still in existence today.
  2. It’s the official language of Samoa, where it has approximately 200,000 native speakers.
  3. It’s also spoken in New Zealand, where it’s the third most-spoken language, after English and Māori.
  4. The Samoan language is written using a Latin-based alphabet.
  5. Samoan’s alphabet has just 14 letters: 5 vowels and 9 consonants. 3 more consonants – H, K and R – are used in loan words from other languages.
  6. The Samoan flag’s upper left quarter is blue and has five white, five-rayed stars representing the Southern Cross. The rest of the flag is red.
  7. Samoa consists of seven islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are Savai’i and Upolu.
  8. It takes 20 hours to fly to Samoa from London.
  9. Lu’au is a traditional Samoan dish, consisting of coconut cream, onions and taro, wrapped in taro leaves and then cooked.
  10. Samoans are known throughout Polynesia as ‘happy people’.

5 Samoan proverbs

The Samoan language is full of proverbs and idioms; here are five of our favourites:

E pala le maʻa, a e le pala le upu

Translation: Even stones decay, but words endure.

A reminder of the damage that hurtful words can do.

E pala le maʻa, a e le pala le upu (Samoan proverb)

Ia malu le vai i lou finagalo

Translation: May your mind be like cool water.

This phrase is used to ask someone for forgiveness if you’ve offended them.

Ia Malu Le Vai I Lou Finagalo (Samoan proverb)

Se’i fono le pa’a ma ona vae

Translation: Let the crab take counsel with its legs.

This proverb advises us to think things through before we take action.

Se'i fono le pa'a ma ona vae (Samoan proverb)

Amuia le masina, e alu ma toe sau

Translation: Fortunate is the moon, to go and then return.TranslationHumans only get one life, unlike the moon; so we should make the most of it.

Humans only get one life, unlike the moon; so we should make the most of it.

Amuia le masina, e alu ma toe sau. (Samoan proverb)

Ua ‘afa le aso

Translation: A day for plaiting ‘afa.

A rainy day. ‘Afa is a plaited rope made from dried coconut fibres, and used in architecture and boat building.


Ua 'afa le aso (Samoan proverb)

We’ll be sharing more fun facts about Samoan as the week goes on…

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