The official language of Samoa is Samoan and it is spoken across the majority of Samoa's islands. Samoan is the oldest and most spoken Polynesian language with an estimated 510,000 speakers worldwide. The Samoan language is most recognised for its phonological differences between formal and informal discussion as well as ceremonial speech used in Samoan oratory. The language is closely associated to other Polynesian languages with many sharing the same cognate words such as tapu, 'ava, atau, as well as numerals.
The Samoan language consists of a 14 letter latin-based alphabet. The consonants include F, G, L, M, N, P, S, T and V. The vowels include A, E, I, O and U. All vowels are sounded out, even if several of them appear next to each other within a word. For example, the village of Nu'uuli is pronounced as New-u-u-lee.
English is widely spoken in Samoa and is predominately used for business communications. Many Samoan's are fully bilingual in both languages, so you shouldn't have any trouble communicating on your tropical holiday. However, to show some enthusiasm and win a smile from the locals, it doesn't hurt to try out some of the following phrases.
|That's all right||'Ua lelei||Oo-a-lelay|
|big / small||tele / la'ititi||teh-leh / lah ee-tee-tee|
|quick / slow||tope / gese||toh-peh/ nge-seh|
|early / late||vave / tuai||vahveh / two eye|
|near / far||latalata /mamao||lah-tah-tah-tah / mah-maow|
1 = tasi
2 = lua
3 = tolu
4 = fa
5 = lima
6 = ono
7 = fitu
8 = valu
9 = iva
10 = sefulu
20 = lua sefulu
50 = lima sefulu
100 = selau
1000 = afe