Samoan is one of the Polynesia languages and a member of the oceanic or Eastern subgroup of the Austronesian language family. Although the number of people who speak this language is small, the influence which it has had is immense. Some native speakers have relocated to many other parts of the world, moving with their culture and language to the new places where they now live.
Where is Samoan spoken?
The Samoan language is commonly spoken by the inhabitants of the Islands of Samoa, which are located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. At the moment, the number of people who speak Samoan is believed to be about 470,000, and this population is spread in almost all corners of the globe. Most people who speak the Samoan language live in Australia, part of the United States and New Zealand.
The evolution of the Samoan language
There is not a lot of available information, and it is believed that this language has been spoken before the arrival of the Christian missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, it’s believed that the inhabitants of the Samoan island originated from South Asia more than 2,000 years ago. However, there is a second group of immigrants that consists of Europeans. This group arrived during the colonial period, which is believed to be around the 18th century.
The unique features of the Samoan language
The Samoan language has 14 letters of the Roman alphabet. Also included are 5 vowel sounds, which area, e, I, o, u. These vowels may have short and long sounds depending on how it’s used. Also, some small words are referred to as particles which when placed before or after nouns alter their meanings completely.
The Samoan language dialects
The Samoan dialect applies to other similar languages across the board. However, there is a huge difference in the language that is used to address persons that have a higher stature in society and the language that is used by people who converse normally.
The sound system of the Samoan language
The Samoan language has a stock of phonemes, which are a group of sounds that make a difference in the meaning of words. Just like most other Austronesian languages, the Samoan language has a lot of vowels, a few consonants, and a pretty simple syllabic structure that is made up of either a consonant plus vowel or a vowel only.
The status of the Samoan Language
Together with English, Samoan is the official language of Samoa and American Samoa. It’s used every day in education, communication, and also in the media. There are several higher learning institutions in both western and American Samoa. The Samoan language is put in a similar classification to languages such as Tahitian, Mahori, and Hawaiian.