Samoan Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Samoan grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Samoan and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Samoan and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Samoan.

Prepositions
Samoan
and
ma
above
luga ifo
under
lalo ifo
before
luma/ae le'i o'o iai
after
pe'a uma
in front of
i luma ifo
behind
o tua
far from
mamao ese mai
near
latalata
in
totonu
inside
totonu
outside
fafo atu
with
ma
without
about
ta'amilo
between
o le va
but
peita'i
for
mo (ia/oe/a'u etc
from
mai le
to
i le

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Samoan
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
ou te ai e aunoa ma se naifi
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
e nofo latalata ile falesa
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
e umi atu le tama nai lo le teine
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
na omai ma lana tamai maile
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
e mafai ona e sau tate o

Negation in Samoan

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Samoan
I understand you
[affirmative form]
ou te malamalama ia te oe
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
ou te le malamalama ia te oe
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
e le ole upu sa'o lena
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
aua ete tu'ua a'u
no problem
[negation + noun]
leai se fa'afitauli

Negative Sentences
Samoan
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
ou te leiloa fa'afarani
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
e lei asiasi o ia i siamani
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
e le mafai ona ia iloa mai tatou
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
e le iloa e le teine mu
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
matou te le tuai mai

Questions in Samoan

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Samoan
how?
faafefea?
what?
ole a?
who?
o ai?
why?
aisea?
where?
o fea?

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Samoan
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
o fea ete nofo ai?
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
e mafai ona tautala fa'asaina?
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
e fia le tau o le mea lea?
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
e mafai ona ou fesoasoani atu ia te oe?
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
o ai lou igoa?

Adverbs in Samoan

It's time to learn the adverbs in Samoan. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Samoan
now
taimi nei
yesterday
ananafi
today
o le aso nei
tonight
nanei
tomorrow
taeao
soon
toeititi
quickly
vave
slowly
lemu
together
fa'atasi
very
matua
almost
toeititi
always
taimi 'uma
usually
masani lava
sometimes
nisi o taimi
rarely
seasea
never
le taitai

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Samoan
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
ua mafai ona e malamalama mai ia te au
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
ua ou manaomia ile taimi nei lava se fesoasoani
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
e matua atamai tele le teine
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
ou te alofa pea mo oe
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
e mafai ona a'o fa'atasi le ta gagana fa'asiamani

Pronouns in Samoan

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Samoan. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Samoan
I
ou/'ou te
you
o 'oe
he
o ia/tama
she
o ia/teine
we
tatou
they
latou

Object Pronouns
Samoan
me
o a'u
you
o 'oe
him
o ia/tama
her
o ia/teine
us
tatou
them
latou

Possessive Pronouns
Samoan
my
o la'u
your
o lau
his
o ia/tama
her
o ia/teine
our
tatou
their
latou

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Samoan
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
o a'u o lau uo
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
e vave tele lau tautala
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
e tolu ana maile
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
e mafai ona tautala ile gagana siamani
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
matou te le tuai mai
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
na latou aumaia susu ma falaoa

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Samoan
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
e mafai ona e tauina mai lou igoa?
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
ou te a ou avatua le tupe ia te oe
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
sa ia tusia se tusi mo ia
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
na latou asiasi atu ile teine/ia te ia ananafi
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
e mafai ona ia feasoasoani mai iai tatou?
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
sa ia tuuina atu iai latou meaai

Possessive Pronouns
Samoan
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
o lo'u igoa o maya
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
e nofo iinei lou tuagane
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
sa kuka lona tina mo i matou
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
o le mea e fiafia iai o le faitau tusi
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
o la matou miti o le asiasi lea i pale
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
e le mamao le latou fale

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Samoan
this is my house
o lo'u fale lea
that restaurant is far
e mamao le faleaiga lena
these apples are delicious
e ese le manaia o apu ia
those stars are shiny
o fetu la e fepulafi

I hope you learned a lot about the Samoan grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Samoan Phrases   Samoan Phrases

Samoan Vocabulary   Samoan Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus