Talking about your child

Talking about your child

My son. My daughter. My children.

In the Samoan language, the words you use to refer to your children depend on their gender… as well as yours.

For Fathers

If you are a father talking about your son, you call him your atali’i.

If you’re a father talking about your daughter, you call her your afafine.

For example:

  • E vave le tamo’e a lo’u atali’i. | My son runs fast.
  • O lo’u afafine e poto. | My daughter is smart.

For Mothers

On the other hand, if you’re a mother talking about your daughter, you call her your tamateine.

And if you’re a mother talking about your son, you call him your tamatane.

Examples:

  • O lo’u tamateine e ūmi. | My daughter is tall.
  • O lo’u tamatane e ta’alo latapī | My son plays rugby.

Mothers, however, will often use the short form of these words and refer to her child as just tama – regardless of whether it’s a boy or a girl.

For example:

  • Fai i lo’u tama e sau. | Tell my (son/daughter) to come.

More than one child

Gender doesn’t matter so much if you’re talking about more than one child. Both fathers and mothers can refer to their children as fānau. For example:

  • Ou te alofa i la’u fānau. | I love my children