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Samoan Language Week -

Global Kids Oz & Recycled Mats in conjunction with Samoan Language Week are offering a prize pack of $320 to one lucky person who lets us know what your doing to celebrate Samoan Language Week, for full info please go to our competitions page - Comp now closed

Instituted by the Association of Samoan Teachers, the Human Rights Commission and UNESCO four years ago the Samoan Language Week is a unique initiative that was first promoted by Radio Niu FM as part of a series of Pacific language weeks leading up to Māori Language Week. It is believed that in Australia, there are more than 28,500 Samoan language speakers. This year the Language Week will run from Sunday, 29 May, to Saturday, 4 June, to overlap with the Samoan Independence Day that falls on 1 June.

The Theme

The theme for 2011 has been announced as Samoa Ola – Samoa Active. This year the focus will be on language, sport and healthy living, and linking Manu Samoa’s visit to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.

Why Language Week is Important

Multiple languages are now the norm in many countries. A potpourri of cultures exists resulting in a wide range of languages being spoken. However, in countries where indigenous groups continue living, the language is at risk of losing out to globalization and development.

Of the 6000 and more languages in the world, one is said to disappear every fortnight. In lingusitics, language death (also termed as language extinction or linguistic extinction) is a process by which the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language decrease. This can eventually result in no native or fluent idioms and dialects remaining.

A few years ago, on the remote Timor Sea coast of north Australia only three speakers of Mati Ke remained. In a few more years, it is probable that there will be no native speakers of Mati Ke. The situation is not only sad but also desperate. The end of a language signals the end of a way of living, a culture and the traditions that make up that culture. In the context of the Samoan Lanaguage Week, it is all the more important that more such initiatives are started to preserve a precious wealth of words.

Saving A Language

Saving a language only needs a dedicated community and passionate individuals. In classrooms, teachers can set aside an hour a day to teach Samoan and/or other indigenous languages. At home and at learning centers, parents and care providers can use a variety of aids such as flashcards, storybooks and CDs to help them. Some are listed below:

  1. Talia Book: Perfect for ages 3+, this heart warming story follows the experience of a girl named Talia, who is looking forward to going to Samoa. But when she arrives she doesn't understand what anyone is saying and feels overwhelmed and confused.
  2. Little Kiddy Samoan Book: A must-have book, Little Kiddy is a beautiful bi-lingual book that’s great for beginner kids as well as adults. The sections covered are Greetings, Colours & Numbers, Family, Days of the week etc.
  3. The Samoan Picture Dictionary: An excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan, the dictionary contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension.
  4. Sina in the Moon, A Samoan Legend: Introduce young and older readers to Samoan legends to help them understand the culture better. Sina in the Moon, A Samoan Legend, is a bi-lingual book that introduces readers to a legend of how we see faces in the moon.
  5. Samoan Alphabet: This book is part of the Island Alphabet Books series that features languages and children’s artwork from the U.S. -affiliated Pacific. The best thing about the book is the many examples that come with each letter and a word list with English translations.

 We are never too old to learn something new or too young to understand the wonders of an ancient language. Learn a new language this Language Week. Here are some Samoan phrases to get you started.

Talofa lava - Greeting

Alu ese - go away

Fa'afetai - Thankyou

Manuia lava - Fine thanks

Manuia le aso - Have a good day

Oute alofa ia oe - I love you

Manuia le po - Good night

Se toe fai mai lava - I beg your pardon

O lou igoa - My name is ......

 

Article written on behalf of Global Kids Oz by Annie Besant

Multicultural resources, Indigenous, Maori, Cultural Diversity in childcare, multiculturalism, cultural learning resources