Having a Samoan ali’i (high chief) for a husband pushes me to research on so many things about Samoa. As a faletua (the chief’s wife), I aim to hone my daughter to be the best for the kinship. While I know good manners and right conduct should be flawlessly developed, one of the many things I would like my daughter to know at a young age of 4 is the Samoan language.
Samoan language had been kept strongly as their own from the beginning. The people of Samoa preserved their rich culture through it. And through the Samoan language, their norms stayed solid and distinct apart from other Polynesian countries. With a half-Samoan pre-schooler under my radar, staying in Hong Kong is a challenge. Thank God for the aiga (“family” in Samoan language) that surrounds my daughter, she gets to see them dance and hear them speak in fa’asamoa. The question is, how could she keep up with it?
PLAY, THE KIDS’ UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE
Getting exposed to any form of language ignites sensibility and understanding. Human beings are social in nature. Specifically, kids’ ability to communicate should not be undermined. At all costs, it should be followed through.
In order for my daughter’s mind to be sufficed with an understanding of the Samoan language, I let her play with his uncles. With an understanding that ‘play’ is the universal language of kids, they will always find a way to communicate to a prospective or existing playmate no matter what language it speaks.
I have proven this true when I was watching my daughter play every after school at an open area. She doesn’t know how to speak in Cantonese but she tries her best to interact to Chinese kids. Considering factors like availability (perhaps because those are the classmates familiar to her because it’s her own schoolmates), it makes her do everything that needs to be done just to be able to play.
A HELPFUL TOOL
Going back to honing my kid into adapting Samoan language as part of her learning, I play this youtube video that you may find helpful for your own little Samoan too. I encourage you to learn the alphabet with us.
Below is a video of Laki and Lani by Islandize. Introducing the alphabet, they infuse the English language in the teaching process to encourage interest amongst afakasi kids to give time in learning it. To the parents of Samoan kids that may be staying overseas this goes to you as well. May I suggest you just play it in the background for your little ones who have a mind like a sponge. It absorbs input greatly.
MUSIC IN THE KIDS’ EARS
Music harmony also encourages any kid to follow. Another one that I find truly helpful is this video that gives a rhythm to the Samoan alphabet with examples similar to the first video. I love the beats and the collaboration of both the female and male voices. Most importantly, the rhythm is quite catchy.
The only challenge here though is that it is full-on shared using the Samoan language. This might require a guardian who speaks Samoan fluently to guide the child in understanding some terms. Thanks to Pacific Kids’ Learning for this effort. Keep it up!
If you have any more sources for kids to understand Samoan language effectively, please share away.