Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary

4. Pronouns

4. Pronouns

These are declined by means of the same particles and prepositions as the noun, except the accusative, which takes the preposition used with proper names, and in addition an euphonic particle te, as Ia te aʻu, ia te ʻoulua. That it is merely euphonic seems proved by its absence in kindred dialects; e.g., Tahitian and Niuean. The first and third persons, dual aud plural, in every case take i before the pronoun; as ʻo i maua.

The dual is formed from lua, usually by eliminating the l, and prefixing ta, ma, ʻou, la; as taua, maua, ʻoulua, laua.

The plural is formed from tou, a contraction of tolu, which appears in Niue and Tongan, mautolu. To this is prefixed the particles, ta, ma, ʻou, la; as tatou, matou, ʻoutou, latou. The same rules which regulate the o and a before the genitive of the noun regulate also their use with the pronoun.

The inclusive form of the pronoun is used when two or more persons speak of themselves inclusively; as Tatou te o, let us go. The exclusive form is used by two or more persons speaking of themselves to a third party not included: Ua matou o mai ia te ʻoe, we are come to you.

The sign of the nominative, ʻo, is subject to the same rules as in the nouns—except the third person. For euphony the ʻo is sometimes used after the verb: Ua alu ʻo ia, He is gone.

page 11
Personal Pronouns
first person


  • N. ʻO aʻu, ʻou, ta, I.

  • G. o and a aʻu, of me.

  • D. mo oʻu (moʻu), ma aʻu (maʻu), for me.

  • A. ia te aʻu, or ia te ita, me, in me.

  • Ab. e aʻu, by me.

    From me requires two prepositions, mai ia le aʻu.

Dual. (Including persons addressed.)

  • N. ʻO i taua, we two.

  • G. o and a i taua, of us two.

  • D. mo and ma i taua, for us two.

  • A. ia te i taua, or ia ʻi taua, for us two.

  • Ab. e i taua, by us two.

ʻO i maua, we two (excluding the person addressed) is declined in the same way as taua.


  • N. ʻO i tatou, we (including person or persons addressed).

  • G. o i tatou, or a i tatou, of us.

  • D. mo i tatou, or ma i tatou, for us.

  • A. ia te i tatou, or ia i tatou, to us.

  • Ab. e i tatou, by us.*

ʻO i matou, we (excluding person or persons addressed), is declined the same as tatou.

second person


  • N. ʻO ʻoe, thou.

  • G. o and a ʻoe, of you.

  • D. mo and ma ʻoe (contracted to maw and mou), for you.

  • A. ia te ʻoe, you.

  • Ab. e ʻoe, by you.


  • N. ʻO ʻoulua, you two.

  • G. o and a ʻoulua, of you two.

  • D. mo and ma ʻoulua, for you two.

  • A. ia te ʻoulua, you two.

  • Ab. e ʻoulua, by you two.

* Examples:—

N. Ua tofia aʻu, I am appointed.

N. absolute: ʻO aʻu nei, ʻou te alu, As for me, I will go.

G. ʻO le fale ʻo aʻa lenei, This is my house; more usual, loʻu fale. ʻO le mea a aʻu lena, That is mine; more usual, laʻu mea.

D. Tuʻu mai le vaʻa moʻu, Leave the canoe for me. Au mai lea maʻu, Give me that thing.

A. Ua fai mai o ia ia ti au, He told me.


N. O le a nonofo i taua, We two (including the party addressed) will remain. ʻO i maua nei, o le a nonofo i maua, We two (excluding the party addressed) will remain.

G. ʻO le fale o i taue lenei, This is the house of us two. The possessive pronoun is usually used, ʻO lo ta fale.

D. Au mai le of u lena mo i maua, Give that garment for us two (excluding the person addressed).

Ia ʻai le iʻa nei ma i taua, Let us two eat this fish for us.

A. Uu felalai le alii ia i maua, The chief spoke to us two (excluding the party addressed).

Ua agalelei o ia ia te i taua, He was kind to us two (inclusive).

Ab. Ua uma ona faia le fale e i maua, The house is finished building by us (excluding those addressed).

page 12


  • N. ʻO ʻoutou, you.

  • G. o and a ʻoulou, of you.

  • D. mo and ma ʻoulou, for you.

  • A. ia te ʻoutou, you.

  • Ab. e outou, by you.

third person


  • N. ʻO ia, * he or she.

  • G. o ia and a ia, of him or her.

  • D. mo and ma ia, mo ona (mona), and ma ana (mana), for him, etc.

  • A. ia te ia, him or her.

  • Ab. e ia, by him.


  • N. ʻO and a i laua, they two.

  • G. ʻo and a i laua, of them.

  • D. mo and ma i laua, for them.

  • A. ia te i laua, them.

  • Ab. e i laua, by them.


  • ʻO i latou, they, declined as ʻo i laua.

The personal pronouns are used of rational beings, animals, and trees. They are not used of inanimate objects. Not Ou te faʻatau ia i latou, of articles of trade, but Ou te faatau ia mea, I will buy these things.

possessive pronouns

It is probable that these are formed from the personal pronoun by prefixing the articles le, se, and then eliding the e; as le aʻu, laʻu, se aʻu, saʻu. The latter is an indefinite form.

In the distributive pronouns, taʻitasi is more restricted in meaning than the English “each.” Thus, ia taʻitasi ma sau would mean, let each one come separately.


  • Loʻu and laʻu, lota and lata, my.

  • Lou and lau, lo ʻoe and la ʻoe, thy.

  • Lona, lana, his.

  • Lo and la maua, our two.

  • Lo and la taua, our two (inclusive).

  • Lo and la oulua, your two,

  • Lo and la lana, their two.

  • Lo and la matou, our (exclusive).

  • Lo and la tatou, our (inclusive).

  • Lo and la outou, your.

  • Lo and la latou, their.


  • Oʻu and aʻu, my.

  • ʻOu and au, thy.

  • Ona and ana, his.

  • O and a maua, our; (and so on throughout the dual and plural).

* Na is also used, but only in the nominative; as Na na fai mai, he said, instead of Na ia.

Ex. Ua fai la laua galuega, They two are doing their work.

page 13
distributive pronouns

Taʻitasi, each.*Taʻitasi uma, every.

So before a personal pronoun; as—

So maua, one of us two. So ʻoulua, one of you two, etc.

demonstrative pronouns


  • ʻO lenei. this; sinei, a diminutive.

  • ʻO lea, ʻo lena, ʻo lela, that.


  • Ia and nei, these.

  • Na, those; (la).

Sea, sisi, siasi, sinasi, diminutives.

indefinite pronouns
  • Nisi (ni isi), isi, some, others.

  • Ni. some, any. Nai, some (a few).

To avoid an indecent word it is better to omit the ʻo before these. Where it must have ʻo, as at the beginning of a sentence, then use isi: ʻO isi.

  • Se tasi, le tasi, one, another, the other.

  • Le isi, the other. Se isi, another.

  • Au mai ni niu. Bring me some nuts.

  • Au mai se tasi, Bring me also another.

relative pronouns

Personal pronouns are also used as relatives: O ia te i latou tupuga, whose are the ancestors; lit. there is to them ancestors.


  • ʻO le, who, that.


  • ʻO e, who, that.

Ai is also constantly used in a relative sentence; as Ona taon[gap — reason: unclear]lea, oti ai. Then he was crushed, by which he died. It is used for him, O le aupito ane i ai. He that was next to him. Her: Oe mai ai le tasi Tui, Another Tui answered her. Them: Seʻi lua silitonua mai ai, Ask of them. Where: Se mea e saofaʻi ai, A place where to sit. There: Ua i ai le aitu, The god was there.


Here also as in the personal pronoun the ʻo of the nominative is omitted, except in the third personal pronoun following the interrogation: O ai i latou? Who are they? O ai o ia? Who is he?

* Taʻitasi ma alu i lona aiga, Let each go to his family.

Sau ia so oulua taeao, One of you two come to-morrow.

ʻO se tama itiili sinsi, This little child.

page 14

In asking the name of a person, o ai, and not o le a, is used: O ai lona igoa? Who is his name? (For Eug.: What is his name?)

ʻO ai is declined in the same way as the personal pronoun. The singular and the plural are the same.

  • ʻO ai? who? singular and plural.

  • ʻO le a? what? (singular). ʻO a? (plural).

  • Se a? what? (indefinite). Ni a? (plural).

  • Le fea? se fea? which?

Such of these as are declinable, are declined as the personal pronoun; ʻo ai, who; o and a ai, whose; mo and ma ai, etc. The others take i with the accusative; i lona, his; i lenei, this.