How to Use Pre-Verb and Post-Verb Pronouns in Samoan


Video Lesson

Emphatic (Post Verb)  and Descriptive (Pre-Verb) pronouns are necessary to memorize because you will need to know which one to use, and when.  

For example, the pronoun “I” will take on two forms:

  • “I” descriptive = “ou”  This version is used before verb phrases.
  • “I” emphatic = “a’u”  This version is used after verb phrases.

Both forms of “I” mean the same thing, but how you phrase your sentence will determine which one you will use.  

    • Descriptive, Pre-Verb pronouns are used before a verb or main idea.

    Ua ou fiafia e uiga i le teine. / I am happy about the girl.

        fiafia is the main idea/verb.  We use the descriptive form “ou” because it comes before the main idea “fiafia

    • Emphatic, Post-Verb pronouns are used after a verb or main idea. 

    Ua fiafia a’u e uiga i le teine.  / I am happy about the girl.

        fiafia is the main idea. We use the emphatic form “a’u” because  it comes after the main idea “fiafia”

    *use the emphatic form to emphasize the pronoun (person or subject)

    • An exception to this is rule is when you begin your sentence with a noun phrase like “I am”/”O a’u”.  The emphatic pronoun is used before the main idea and uses the noun phrase beginning with the noun phrase indicator “O”.  

    O a’u o fiafia e uiga i le teine.  / I am happy about the girl.

    English:  I am a lawyer.

    Samoan:  O a’u o se loia.  

    English:  I am sad.

    Samoan:  O a’u o fa’anoanoa.

    mai ma’uaus, we (exclusive)
    tai ta’uaus, we (inclusive)
    luaouluayou two
    lai la’uathem two
    matoui matouus, we 3+ (exclusive)
    tatoui tatouus, we 3+ (inclusive)
    tououtouyou all 3+
    latoui latouthem 3+
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