How to Say “Are You Hungry?” in Samoan

If you are visiting Samoa or simply want to connect with Samoan speakers, learning a few basic phrases can go a long way. One phrase that can help you in various situations is “Are you hungry?”. In this guide, we will explore different ways to express this question in both formal and informal settings, while also highlighting any regional variations that may exist.

Formal Expression:

In formal situations, you may want to address someone respectfully. The Samoan language offers a way to convey politeness while asking if someone is hungry. The formal phrase to use is:

“O le a ou ā?”

To break it down:

  • “O le a” means “Will” or “Are”.
  • “ou” is the possessive pronoun “you”.
  • “ā” means “hungry”.

When using this formal phrase, it is important to note that “ou” here is singular and refers to one person. If you want to address more than one person respectfully, you should use “ou te” instead of “ou”.

Informal Expression:

In informal situations, especially when talking to friends or family, you can use a more relaxed phrase. The informal way to ask “Are you hungry?” in Samoan is:

“Ou te ā?”

The breakdown of this phrase is as follows:

  • “Ou” is the possessive pronoun “you”.
  • “te” means “you” or “are”.
  • “ā” still means “hungry”.

Remember that in informal contexts, it’s common to drop the “le a” part of the formal expression and replace it with “te”. This informal phrase is more commonly used amongst friends, peers, or when speaking to younger people.

Regional Variations:

While the formal and informal expressions mentioned above are widely understood throughout Samoa, there can be slight variations in certain regions or among different Samoan communities.

For example, in American Samoa, you might come across the following alternative phrasing:

“Pe ‘e te ā?”

Here, “pe ‘e te” is the local variation of the informal “ou te”, and “ā” remains the same.

Tips for Using the Phrase:

1. Pronunciation is key: Samoan pronunciation can be different from English, so take your time to learn the correct pronunciation of each word in the phrase. Practice with native speakers or online resources to ensure proper delivery.

2. Non-verbal cues: Facial expressions and body language are essential when communicating in any language. If you need to express hunger, you can rub your stomach slightly while asking the question. This can help convey your message even if there is any confusion with the direct translation.

3. Politeness matters: Samoan culture greatly values politeness and respect. When using the formal expression, make sure to address older individuals or those in positions of authority with the appropriate level of respect. This will be greatly appreciated and help you build better connections.

4. Context is key: Consider the setting and the relationship you have with the person you are speaking to. Adjust your choice of formal or informal language accordingly. Being aware of the appropriate level of formality enhances effective communication.


Here are some examples to help you understand the usage of “Are you hungry?” in different situations:

  • Situation 1: Formal setting, addressing an older person or superior.

    You: O le a ou ā?

    (Translation: Are you hungry?)

    Person: E le, fāmalaia malū.

    (Translation: No, I am full.)

  • Situation 2: Informal setting, talking to a friend.

    You: Ou te ā?

    (Translation: Are you hungry?)

    Friend: Ioe, ou te ā.

    (Translation: Yes, I am hungry.)

  • Situation 3: Regional variation in American Samoa.

    You: Pe ‘e te ā?

    (Translation: Are you hungry?)

    Local: Ioe, pe ‘e te ā.

    (Translation: Yes, I am hungry.)

Remember that practice is key to mastering any language! Utilize these phrases with native speakers to refine your pronunciation and comprehension. Enjoy engaging with the warm and vibrant Samoan culture as you explore the language further!

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