Talking About Your Child in Samoan

Samoan Language Lessons | 0 comments

In the Samoan language, the words you use to refer to your children depend on their gender… as well as yours. If you are a father talking about your son, you call him your atali’i. If you’re a father talking about your daughter, you call her your afafine. On the other hand, if you’re a mother talking about your daughter, you call her your tamateine…and if you’re a mother talking about your son, you call  him your tamatane. Check out these examples:

For Fathers

If you’re a dad, your son is your atali’i and your daughter is your afafine.
For example:

E vave le tamo’e a lo’u atali’i. | My son runs fast.

O lo’u afafine e poto. | My daughter is smart.


A mother’s daughter is her tamateine, and son is her tamatane.


O la’u tamateine e umī. | My daughter is tall.

O la’u tamatane e ta’alo lakapī | My son plays rugby.

Mothers, however, will often use the short form of these words and refer to her child as just tama – regardless of whether it’s a boy or a girl.

For example:

Fai i la’u tama e sau. | Tell my (son/daughter) to come

More than one child

Gender doesn’t matter so much if you’re talking about more than one child. Both fathers and mothers can refer to their children as fānau. For example:

Ou te alofa i la’u fānau. | I love my children


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