How to Add Emphasis to a Word or Statement in Samoan


Lava has many uses.  By itself it can be used to mean enough.  Like if someone is pouring some koko lisa in your bowl, when it starts looking like too much, you can politely say, “ia, ua lava”. Or if it’s not enough you can say “Ua lē lava”, as in not enough.  

It’s used a lot to heighten the meaning of a word. If someone asks you how you’re doing, they might say “O fa’apefea mai oe?” You can say “manuia”. But if you want to let them know you’re doing really good, you can say “manuia lava”.  If someone asks if you’re hungry…. E te fia ai? You could say, Ou te fia ai. Or if you’re really hungry… “fia ai lava”.

It can also be used to acknowledge your engagement in a conversation. Like if someone says, “Talofa”. You could say, “Talofa”. Or you can say “Talofa lava”.  The first way doesn’t sound like you’re too engaged, like you could take it or leave it. “Talofa lava” sets the tone for a better or more engaged conversation.

Overall, “lava” is used to intensify your response or statement.

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