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Samoan language finally official

After 51 years of independence, the government of Samoa has just made its mother tongue the official language of the country. Many did not know that since 1962 that the English language had always been Samoa

It was told with pride by many Samoans who attended these schools how they would be disciplined if they spoke Samoan in the classrooms. Upon entering the school compounds, everyone was expected to speak English. This took place only in the town area, however, the Samoan language still dominated communication then. Sunday schools and pastor schools made sure children were pushed to learn as much as they could on the language by conducting reading and writing classes within their schools. It has changed however, with so many young people opting to converse in English especially those living in the urban area.

The influence of television and the internet has also contributed much to the change seen in the language. Parliament recently passed a law establishing a Language Commission to review the Samoan language, the addition of many borrowed words which are now becoming part of the daily spoken Samoan. All aspects of the language are being dealt with in this commission. The National University of Samoa (NUS) is now making the Samoan language a compulsory part of studies and nobody enters NUS without taking a Samoan paper. Many in the country do not agree with this new policy saying that many of the degrees taken at NUS do not need the Samoan language and it’s unnecessary to have students take on Samoan studies when they’re studying for bachelor degrees in science, commerce and math for example. The Prime Minister says it was important that the commission was set up to ensure the language was preserved and protected.

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