Samoan language should be prioritised

A 79-year-old man says schools in Samoa should encourage the use of the Samoan language.  

Speaking as an expert on this matter was retired culture and language trainer, Apulu Sefo Fonoti. 

The man from the village of Ale’isa says it is essential that the young generation of Samoa hold on to their language and culture because it is their identity.

“Samoans have a unique culture that distinguishes them from any other country in the South Pacific,” he told the Village Voice team yesterday. 

“I am really concerned about the young Samoans who forget the value of their culture.”

“Culture is the identity of every single Samoan around the globe and hearing them speak more English is a concern.” 

In his work experience around the Pacific, Mr. Fonoti says language and culture are valuable identities.

“I have been travelling around the Pacific countries for so long and I have seen how people are proud of their language and culture.”

“We know English is the language used in schools and work today, but that’s not our language.”

At his age, Mr. Fonoti is still able to walk more than a mile from his plantation to his home carrying six long sticks for his vegetable garden.

And he also looks after one of his younger brother who lives next door to him.

Mr. Fonoti believes technology also impacts the lives of the young generations.

“Young people have spent more time on new gadgets rather than observing and learning from their parents.”

“They are also busy playing games on their phones and not learning from cultural events during youth gatherings.”

Mr. Fonoti adds children must be allowed to speak both Samoan and English during school.

“I have a few grand kids abroad and I told their parents to converse with them in Samoan.”

“It is a shame if you’re a full blood Samoan and you don’t know how to speak your mother tongue.”

“For our school as well, let’s not just encourage English, we must also encourage the Samoan language.”

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