The theme for Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa - Samoa Language Week 2023 is ‘Mitamita i lau gagana, maua’a lou fa’asinomaga’ which means ‘Be proud of your language and grounded in your identity’.
This year's theme focuses on the importance of the Samoan language and identity. It impresses on us the need not only to understand the Samoan language, but to also use it as much as possible. When you are proud of your language and can speak it, you will also be more grounded in your identity as a Samoan.
Mitamita i lau gagana, maua’a lou fa’asinomaga encourages Samoan language pride in four key areas:
Be proud of your ancestral language
Our ancestral language included symbols, signs, environmental landmarks, events, gestures and other intangible language, serving as a reminder of life from past generations and carrying with it our histories and creation from the minds and mouths of Samoans. Be proud of your language that was created and grown by our ancestors.
Be proud of your spiritual language
The Samoan language is a pillar in our churches and is nurtured in church programmes and activities such as Sunday School, Youth groups, choirs and church services. The church plays an important role in ensuring the Samoan language thrives, and that Samoan people are proud of their language.
Be proud of your language in your families
Pride in the Samoan language begins in the home. The family is the first classroom for Samoans. We are first taught in our homes how to speak and show respect to elders and others. You learn how to invite people to eat, as well as know how to acknowledge gifts of food that people bring with them.
When someone is grounded in their languages, it becomes easier to learn other languages, and it contributes positively to wellbeing. If you are strong in your Samoan language, you never have to question who you are as a Samoan, because you understand what it means to be Samoan.
Be proud of your written language
We are now seeing that our Samoan language is needing to adapt and change. Our written language is now becoming more valued in schools, workplaces, places of worship, and many other areas of our lives. Therefore, we must be able to read, understand, speak and write Samoan. Be proud of your written language especially with the positive changes we are seeing with the Samoan language.
More about the Samoan language
The Samoan language has many components. There is simple Samoan, and there is more complex Samoan. There is everyday language and then there is respectful language. There is language specific to young people, and then language that pertains to chiefs and orators. The Samoan language has depth.
This year’s theme for Samoa Language Week is encouraging all use of the Samoan language, from the language most fitting for young people, to the Samoan language used with adults and older Samoans. Whatever stage you are at on your language journey, and how well you can speak and understand Samoan, it is important to continue to use it daily so that the Samoan language thrives. Only there will you be proud of your language, and only then will your identity as a Samoan be grounded in your mind, body and soul.
Our Pasifika students will be celebrating in The Hub on Tuesday 30 May, from 12noon -1.00pm. There'll be some performances and a language quiz run by the students. Come along and join in!
You can also check out a calendar of events across Aotearoa New Zealand on this page.
Spread the word about Samoan Language Week with a wide range of resources including posters, language cards, social media content and web banners. There's also word and phrase of the day video clips - check them out here!
Published on 29 May 2023
Orderdate: 29 May 2023
Expiry: 29 May 2025