Samoan language

Samoan language

Infobox language
nativename=gagana Sāmoa
states=Samoa, American Samoa
region=Spoken as first language on Samoan Islands Samoa and American Samoa, with substantial communities of speakers in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.
speakers=870,337 total speakers according to Ethnologue (1999)
fam2=Malayo-Polynesian (MP)
fam3=Nuclear MP
fam4=Central-Eastern MP
fam5=Eastern MP
fam8=Central Pacific
fam9=East Fijian-Polynesian
nation=Samoa (203,377 speakers) and American Samoa (66,700 speakers)
The Sāmoan [cite web|url=|title=Samoa: Languages|last=Unattributed|work=Samoa|publisher=Polynesian Cultural Center|language=en-US|accessdate=2008-08-21 This page from the Polynesian Cultural Center in Honolulu describes native pronuniciation of "Sāmoa."] or Samoan language is the traditional language of Samoa and American Samoa and is an official language — alongside English — in both jurisdictions. It is a member of the Austronesian family, and more specifically the Samoic branch of the Polynesian subphylum.

There are approximately 800,000 Samoan-speakers worldwide, 35% of who live in the Samoan Islands. Thereafter, the greatest concentration is in New Zealand, where people of Samoan ethnicity comprise the fifth largest group after New Zealand European, Māori, New Zealander and Chinese: the 2006 New Zealand census recorded 95,428 speakers of the Samoan language, and 141,103 people of Samoan ethnicity. Among ethnic Samoans in New Zealand, 70.5 percent of the Samoan speakers (87,109 people) could speak Samoan. Samoan is the 4th most commonly spoken language in New Zealand after English, Maori and Chinese. The majority of Samoans in New Zealand (66.4 per cent) reside in the commercial capital, Auckland. Of those who speak Samoan, 67.4 percent live in Auckland and 70.4 percent of people who are both of Samoan ethnicity and Samoan speakers live in that city.

According to the 2006 census, there were 38,525 speakers of Samoan in Australia, and 39,992 people of Samoan ancestry.

Writing systems

The Samoan alphabet consists of 15 letters, plus three ("H", "K", "R") that are only used in loanwords:


* Milner, G.B. 1993, 1966. "Samoan Dictionary." Polynesian Press. ISBN 0 908597 12 6
* Payne, Thomas E. 1997. "Describing morphosyntax: a guide for field linguists." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58224-5.

External links

* [ Samoan grammar]

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