29 Nov 2004

Former Samoan prime minister says the Samoan language is in trouble

11:07 am on 29 November 2004

A former Prime Minister of Samoa, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, says he's deeply concerned with the ongoing debate surrounding the Samoan language.

He says for the past ten years, three groups have recommended different changes to the language.

Tui Atua says there's the traditional interpretation put together by the missionaries, and two other groups, debating over whether to keep or remove the glottal stops and macrons, which indicate the inflection and subtle differences in words.

He says the stalemate is having a huge impact on the teaching of the language.

"I do not know of any other place where you have a problem of such stature as this one confronting a people for such a long time. It's very important that we get it right."

Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, who was in Wellington recently, says it's the government that makes the final choice.