It’s a Samoan language challenge!

How well can you translate the following English sentences into Samoan?

  1. How are you on this beautiful day?
  2. I like your pants; where did you get them (it) from?
  3. Take your garbage and throw it in the rubbish.
  4. Be careful…you might fall!
  5. What’s your name? Where are you from?
  6. How much is your povi masima?
  7. Do you have five dollars for me?

…and then as a bonus challenge:

  • Can you recite the Samoan alphabet?

Marlena got the idea to quiz a bunch of our relatives, just to see how easily they can switch between English and Samoan.. and the results are a crack up video for our Upega Samoana YouTube channel!

Take the Challenge

Okay but how about YOU take the challenge, too? Can you translate these sentences into Samoan off the top of your head?

Let’s do it like this:

I’ll list each English sentence below for you to think about… decide how you would say it in Samoan. After you’ve given it some thought, go ahead and click on the sentence to see how we would translate it into Samoan.

I’ll include some alternative translations as well as explanations and audio to help with pronuncation.

Sound good? Here we go:

How are you on this beautiful day?

O ā mai oe i lenei aso matagofie/mānaia?

Both matagofie and manaia refer to something being nice or beautiful.

I like your pants; where did you get it from?

Mānaia lou ofu vae; o fea na aumai ai?

Ou te fiafia i lou ofuvae; o fea na aumai ai?

Manaia means ‘nice’ as in…something is nice. So the first sentence is literally saying that your pants are nice. In the  second sentence, ou te fiafia means that I like something. So the second sentence matches the English version more correctly, but the first sentence is more commonly said. 

Take your garbage and throw it in the rubbish.

Ave au otaota ma tia’i i le ‘apa lapisi.

Ave au lapisi ma togi i le lapisi.

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The proper Samoan word for garbage or rubbish is otaota, but we often refer to it by its Samoan-fied English word, lapisi. Tia’i means to throw something away, and togi just means to throw. 

Be careful, you might fall.

Ia fa’aete’ete, ne’i te’i ua e pa’ū.

What's your name? Where are you from?

O ai lou igoa? O fea e te sau ai?

O ai lou suafa? O fea e te sau ai?

We use the word suafa instead of igoa to show respect when we’re speaking with an elder or someone of higher status. 

How much is your povi masima?

E fia le tau o lau povi masima?

E fia le tau o le povi masima?

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The first sentence is asking how much is YOUR povi masima. In the second sentence, we’re asking how much is THE povi masima. 

Please, do you have 5 dollars for me?

Fa’amolemole, e i ai sau lima tālā mo a’u?

BONUS: Recite the Samoan alphabet

A E I O U F G L M N P S T V H K R