Samoan Language Books

This is a list of resources which you may find useful if you're trying to learn Samoan.

Language books

  • Gagana Samoa: A Samoan Language Coursebook — Galumalemana Afeleti L Hunkin, Pasefika Press
  • Teach yourself Samoan — C C Marsack, London English Universities Press, 1962.
  • South Pacific — Lonely Planet Phrasebooks
    • This book gives good background information and lets you see how similar Samoan is to related languages. Beware of the mistake on p. 194: "supo ese" is thankfully not a real soup!


  • Samoan Dictionary — GB Milner, Cambridge University Press, 1967.
  • Tusi 'Upu Sāmoa — Papaāli'i Dr Semisi Ma 'ia 'i, Little Island Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-877484-17-9
    • This is a two volume work, with English-Samoan and Samoan-English sections. At first glance, it looks like the largest, most up to date dictionary out there, but the quality is disappointing. Typographical errors and mis-translations aside (it is the first printing, after all), the alphabetic ordering is inconsistent. This means some words are entered twice, on different pages. Read with a pen in hand, ready to make corrections.
  • A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language — Rev. George Pratt, various publishers
    • This is available online from Victoria University (with some OCR errors). The first edition of this was well over a century ago, and many of the words are very obscure nowadays. It's mainly useful for looking up obscure respect words, and the grammar notes still apply to modern Samoan.


  • O le Mafuaala o Upu Ta'aloga Fa'asamoa -- Matagaluega o Autalavou, Ta'aloga ma Aganu'u (Ministry of Sport, Youth and Culture), Pacific Printers & Pub. Ltd.
    • A book containing Samoan words for different sports.
  • O le Mafuaala o Upu o le Fale -- Matagaluega o Autalavou, Ta'aloga ma Aganu'u (Ministry of Sport, Youth and Culture), Pacific Printers & Pub. Ltd.
    • A detailed book with terms for construction and parts of traditional houses.

Books in Samoan (or Samoan & English)

  • Tala o le Vavau: The Myths, Legends and Customs of Old Samoa — Pasefika Press, 1976. ISBN 978-0-908597-03-1
    • Contains legends in Samoan in one half, with English translations in the other. Uses a fairly small vocabulary, so good for learning sentence structure without getting too overwhelmed.
  • The Rat and the Bat, and other short stories — Pamerika L Tauiliili, Authorhouse, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-4490-4562-3
    • A bilingual children's book about a bat and a rat.
  • Kuka Manaia Lelei — Donna Lou Kamu, Methodist printing press, 1977
    • A cookbook. Many cooking words are borrowed, so it is quite easy to decipher without a dictionary.
  • O 'Ati, Ma Lona Faamanuiaga — Tootoo Aleki, Le Lamepa Press, 1996.
    • This is the only Samoan language novel I've been able to find. It has no ISBN and does not seem to be stocked online.

Translations into Samoan

  • Apogāleveleve a Charlotte (Charlotte's Web) — This was available online from PREL until a recent re-development.
  • O le Motu o Oloa (Treasure Island) — Robert Louis Stevenson, trans. Fanaafi Maiai, 1958.
  • O le Tulipe Uliuli (The Black Tulip) — Alexandre Dumas, trans. Fanaafi Maiai, Le Lamepa Press, 1997.
  • O Oloa a Solomona (Solomon's mines) — Rider Haggard, trans. Fanaafi Maiai, Le Lamepa Press, 1997.

Websites in Samoan