Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Reginald Colon
Last updated: June 15, 2019
Public speaking plays a significant role in cultures worldwide. It is a resource that several cultures utilize on a daily basis. Each culture around the world has their different ways of communicating. Some cultures may only have subtle differences while others are drastically diverse. Public speaking is something that can be very nerve-racking to some, but to others, it comes completely naturally. Speaking publicly has often been ranked as one of the number one stress inducers in humans. In the Samoan culture public speaking is usually a little less nerve racking and laid back.
Everyone in the Samoan village is considered family and are all very close to each other.I interviewed my cousin who served his LDS mission on the Samoan Islands. He spent two years serving and learning about the Samoan people. He has taught me alot about the differences styles of day to day communication and also the difference in formal/public speaking. One of the major differences is that the the samoans are a collectivistic culture. Which is very different from what we live by here in the United States. Each individual of a tribe will play there part to help further the success of the tribe.
Every citizen works together as one big family and always look out for each other and help when others are in need. Samoans are very family and friend oriented people. Once you have been accepted by them as friends or family, you will be treated and loved like a brother or sister.
On day to day communication I have noticed from his stories that the Samoan people love to tell stories. When they are telling you story they don’t focus too much on getting from point a to point b, rather, they focus on the details and make sure it is an enjoyable and appealing. They don’t always think or care how long these stories or conversations take due to wanting to make them entertaining for everyone around them. When they tell these stories they love speaking in parables, they love using symbols from the environment around them to explain the history of events and stories. When they are talking to other people in their village they talk informal, unless talking to the Matai.
The Matai is the main chief of the village. Every Matai has his own orator who knows respectful language and higher tenses of the language that expresses ideas of the Matai. The orators speaks and presents in front of the village during village council telling the people of the village ideas or news from the Matai. Some other occasions that people speak publicly in a more formal matter would be at church, village council, and as the patriarch of a family. In an effort to validate what I learned from my interview with my cousin I did some research.
I found an article on “Cultural Atlas: Samoan Culture.” When reading through this article I found some key and interesting differences from our culture and theirs. Samoan people tend to use indirect communication. They use this to avoid offending others or coming of rude, a lot of the time they will be vague and beat around the bush in attempt not to offend you. An example of this on Cultural Atlas is (“Can I walk through the village during prayer time?”), ask if they would do the thing you are inquiring about ( “Would you walk through your village during prayer time?”) However, depending on the situation and who they are talking to they can be very blunt and direct. In most cases, this is when they are talking to close friends and family. They also try to avoid using words like “do not” and instead will try to use words such as “try to” to be more encouraging and positive to others. Samoans are mostly very polite and honorable when speaking to others.
Especially when talking to elders or Matia’s. When communicating to these types of people they use a form of speech called ‘ganga fa’aaloalo’. This form of speech is very courteous and shows the respect they have toward the person that the person is speaking to. The meaning of the words have very similar meanings to day to day words but are are a more formal way of speaking.Another article I found while researching is “Culture Crossing Guide:Samoa.
” Throughout this article it talks about how Samoans are known to be too polite. The reason I say “too polite” is because in many cases Samoans have been known to tell you what they think you want to hear versus what the truth is in attempt to avoid hurting your feelings. I find this very different from the culture we live in today. In america’s society people tend to tell you things exactly the way it is without thinking of your feeling. This can be nice sometimes though because you know exactly what they were thinking when you walk away from that conversation. But in the Samoan society you may be leaving conversation thinking one thing and the speaker thinking another thing. Overall I feel as if the Samoan culture is more of a respectful and kind culture then the American culture. After interviewing my cousin and reading different articles on “Culture Crossing” and “Cultural Atlas” I have learned that the Samoan culture is a very family/ village oriented community.
From what I have found throughout research and my interview I think the Samoan people are more accepting and a loving people and want what is best for others. If you are lucky enough to be accepted into a village you will have some of the closest friends and family.