Posted by: monsonmadness | May 11, 2012

Tongue twisters

Remember when I was laughed at by the locals when I tried speaking Samoan?

I’ve been trying to do better but all the words sounds like tongue twisters to me. I have finally memorized the America Samoan national anthem and I am quite proud of myself. I know several other languages, and let me tell you, Samoan is HARD! The locals all say it’s easy, you just have to pronounce every vowel. Easier said than done. For example, this is the name of a boy in my class: Si’itupe Kupu. It is pronounced “See-ee-too-pay Koo-poo”

Think you could do better? Some of the words are just plain silly. Like the names of these villages, Nu’uuli is pronounced,  “Noo-oo-oo-li” and Pava’ia’i where our church is is pronounced, “Pah-vah-ee-ah-ee” The kids think it’s hilarious to extend it endlessly, and giggle as they say “Pav-vah-ee-ah-ee-ah-ee-ah-ee-ah-ee (you get the picture)

Add onto that the strange “ng” sound for the letter g and you get “Pahngho, Pahngho” for the capital Pago Pago, and “Vai-tongi” for our village Vaitogi.

Ok, now that you’re experts, please put yourself in my shoes, or in Michael’s shoes as we’re conducting in church and have to be able to say these names, and at the same time know whether we are addressing males or females.

Kamakahukilani Tuitoelau

Ayrton Mulinuu Posala Tuiolosega

Sefo Ulamoleka

Kakala Ulamoleka Esikia

Ranikalei Toelupe Salave’a

Shonnah-lei Tuamoheloa Tilo

Faipule Tagovailoa

Kolinio Niumataiwalu

Taituliatuamuiatupo Ho Ching

Yu-Jin Kim Atimalala Tagovailoa

Yeah…now you’re quiet huh?


  1. Oh my goodness!! I would not want to have to pronounce those names!!!

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