Samoan Pronunciation

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Pronouncing T,K,N,G


Another big question in Samoan pronunciation and inflection is T vs K.  Is T formal and K informal?

For my whole life that’s the way I knew it. My first video that’s how I explained it. People were in the comments saying that’s right, that’s wrong.  So I never talked about it again. 

But I’m gonna speak my truth, Some Samoan people act like it’s one way all across the diaspora.  Samoans are all over the world. For me, T style has always been formal, and K style was informal and casual.

Someone did point out that if an elder was using a stern tone, even in a formal ceremony, they might shift gears to K style to let you know, they’re playing with you. 

But us regular folks.  T words can be pronounced with K

Tama ,   Kama

ta’avale, ka’avale

tupe, kupe

tina, kina

Sometimes I’m making videos and by the end of the video I’m more  comfortable and accidentally slip and say words in K style.  And that’s why I do that, I get comfortable and switch gears and pronounce my T words with a K

Now, words that begin with K are only with K.

Kalapu or Club is not Talapu

Koko alaisa is not Toto Alaisa, 

No one is gonna eat Toto alaisa

One thing everyone seems to agree on is if you’re speaking in T- style, don’t be switching gears back and forth to K-style in the same conversation, especially not in the same sentence.  

Me personally I don’t think of T-style and K-style as just difference pronunciation. It’s like switching gears from using my work voice, and once I see you’re cool now I’m speaking in AAVE .  How would I sound if I’m going back and forth from work voice to cool voice in the same sentence.  You would think I was shocking.

This principle is the same with words with the letter n and g.

N is pronounced n

G’s are g like ng like sing

N’s are like the T’s

they can be pronounced with with n or g

For example, manino means clear

Mafananana means warm

We said these in N style

Because N’s can be said with G’s, you’ll hear people say “magigo” or “mafagafaga’ once they switch gears.  

But it don’t work the other way around.  Words with g are only pronounced with G

galo is to forget, it’s not nalo

galuega is job, it’s not naluena

Samoan consonants 

Tofa Soifua or Kofa Soifua

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