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



The adjective follows the noun, and agrees with it in number; as ʻo le fale lelei, a good house; ʻo talo tetele, large taro. When two adjectives qualify one noun, the second takes the article, and thus, in fact, becomes a noun; as ʻo le tagata malosi ma le ʻaulelei, a strong man, and good-looking. The same is the case even with a plural noun, the second being in the singular form; ʻo vaʻa fou ma le lelei, new canoes, and (the) good.

One adjective cannot qualify two nouns, but must be repeated with each; ʻo aposetolo paʻia, ma perofeta paʻia, holy apostles, and holy prophets.

The pronominal adjective lenei may either precede or follow the noun; as ʻo lenei le fale, or ʻo le fale lenei, this is the house.


There is no real superlative. The idea is expressed in various ways; E silisili ʻese lava Ieova, Jehovah is exceedingly excellent; ʻO le faʻatoʻa fale tele lenei, This is the first big house; ʻUa tasi lava le vaʻa, The canoe is unique; ʻUa leaga naʻna le ʻupu, The saying is too bad; ʻO le uso aupito iliiti, The brother, the last of the little ones.

Sometimes it is expressed by repeating the adjective, and adding the intensive particle lava; E leaga, leaga lava, It is bad, very bad.


There are different ways of counting; thus, besides those already given, e tolugafulu i le fa, thirty-four, lit., thirty in the four; e limaga-fulu ma ona tupu e fitu, e ono sefulu aʻi, fifty and seven over towards the sixty. ʻO le aso lima, the fifth day; but ʻO le tausaga e fitu, the seventh year. With months ga is added; ʻO lona onoga masina lenei, this is her sixth month. Numerals may either precede the noun, as e tolu aso; or follow, as ʻo aso e tolu, three days. Odd numbers are expressed as above by the phrase ma ona tupu, and that which is over; ʻo matau e sefulu ma ona tupu e lima, ten fish-hooks, and five over. Round numbers are expressed by ʻaʻato, from ʻatoa, complete; e luafulu ʻaʻato, twenty complete. In things counted by couples, an odd oue is expressed by fai soa; ʻo popo e limaga oa ma le fai soa, five couples of nuts, and an odd one.

Peculiar among the distributives is the sentence ʻUa taʻitasi ʻuma ma alu, Each and all went.

A kind of distributive is expressed by a; as, Sau a aiga, Come by families.