A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary
Every noun in the singular, except proper names, must take the article, because its omission makes the noun plural; as ʻo le tagata, the man; ʻo tagata, men.
Nouns of multitude take the article; as ʻUa tele le iʻa i le mea nei, There are many fish in this place; ʻUa tuʻua le faʻapotopotoga, The assembly is dismissed.
The article, with the name of a country, indicates a man of that country; as ʻo le Samoa, a Samoan.
The definite article is used when the noun has been previously mentioned: Exod. ii. 7, 9, ʻOu te alu ʻea e ʻaʻami se fafine? … Ona ave lea ʻo le tama e le fafine, Shall I go and fetch a woman? … then the child was taken by the woman.
The article is used as a pronoun; as ʻo le ʻua alofa, the one who loves. It is often used where the English would put the indefinite article; as, Sa i ai le tagata ʻua gase lona lima, There was there a man who had a withered hand. It was not any man, but one particular individual, definitely marked by his withered hand.
An appellative, used to signify a whole class, takes the definite article: Ps. 144, 3, Se a ea le tagata? What is man? So in describing different fishes, etc., as, ʻo le anae, ʻo le atule, ʻo le malauli, etc., the mullet, the herring, the schnapper. Abstract nouns are used in the same way; as, ʻO le mataʻu ma le fefe, Fear and dread.
The article is used with a verb to form a participial noun: ʻO le sau faʻalua lenei, This is the second coming.
The definite article is used when the object is definite in the mind of the speaker, though not previously mentioned: Ona vaaia lea e Sina ʻo le gogo sina, It was that bird, and no other, present to her mind.
The whole, totality, takes the articles: ʻO le atoatoa ʻo le aofaʻi, The whole of the gathering. Also with tonu, thus making it a noun: ʻO le tonu lenei, This is the correct (account).
Proper names, derived from some peculiarity of the place or person, have the article; as, ʻO Lepapalaulelei; ʻo Letuʻituasivi.
The article is used before verbs to form a participle; as ʻo le a maliu mai, the coming one. The plural is formed by changing le to e; as ʻo e ʻua oti, those dead.
The article is omitted after the expression e fai ma; as e fai ma taula, to become an anchor, or to be instead of an anchor. With the article before the noun, in such a connection, an indecent meaning is conveyed.
The article is also used to form the participles: ʻO le a aʻu alu, I am going: ʻo le na alu, the (one) who went. It is then a relative pronoun. Gen. 21, 3.
The article is used with the units in counting; e sefulu ma le fa, ten and the four. The omission of the article in this case would make an indecent word. The article is also used with tens and hundreds when page 29 coming after a larger number; as e selau, ma le luafulu, ma le lima, a hundred, and the twenty, and the five.
The indefinite article se is much more restricted in its use than the English a or an. When the idea is definite in the speaker's mind, the le is used; as Sa i le nuʻu o Usa le tasi tagata, There was in the land of Uz a certain man. Only when the object is entirely indefinite, answering to any, is se used; as ʻOu futia se iʻa, se lautua, I will draw up a fish, one from outside the reef.
Se follows verbal particles, used to signify the verb to be, and having a comparative meaning; as ʻua se umu le fale nei, this house is like a cooking house. Se is also used before verbs in such sentences as ʻo se fia alu, any one who desires to go; in full, ʻo se e fia alu, or ʻo se tasi e fia alu. Perhaps of late use is se with lelei: E leai se lelei i le aiga nei, There is nothing good in this family.