Thursday, January 31, 2008

What’s in a name?

Not much apparently. Just as the business studies teacher I was sitting next to in the teachers' lounge the other day. His name is Doctor. Ok, it is Foma'i ([foe-mah-ee] male medical person*), but that is Sāmoan for doctor.
*According to our training manual, foma'i means doctor and tausimai'i means nurse. However, foma'i is the word you would use for a male nurse and tausima'i is the word you would use for a female doctor. The words just appear to be rooted in some gender stereotypes.
As far as I can tell most people in Sāmoa have names that are also words. Sure, sure, everybody's name means something. I think my name means princess or something in some language. But that is the thing; you have to translate it from another language to get a word. Otherwise it is just a name. Occasionally in the states you will run in to a Charity or a Cliff or other people with names that are also English words.
However, in Sāmoa everyone has a word name (at least everyone without palagi names like Robert and Steven). Our next-door neighbor is named Try (well Sāmoan for try). One of the former computer teachers at our sister school is named Gift. Numbers are popular. One of our host sisters was named One, one of the teachers at school is named Ten, Cale's deputy pule is named One Hundred. The vice principal of my school is named Family.
I imagine that even more people have word names; I just don't know those Sāmoan words so I don't recognize them. However, as far as I can tell from my dictionary, my pule's name isn't a Sāmoan word, but it is a Sāmoan name.
— Sara

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Good thing I got fat, otherwise, the swimsuit situation could have been distressful..but now I am prefectly willing to cover as much as my jiggle as possible!