For single objects use the following:
1. When referring to body or family (inalienable):
- lo’u for my
- lou for your
- lona for his/her/its
2. When referring to things that are not part of someones body or family (alienable):
- la’u for my
- lau for your
- lana for his/her/its
The difference is the O and A.
Use the O when it’s part of you or your body (inalienable objects).
Ex: lo’u lima or my hand –because it is part of me or my body (inalienable)
Use the A when its not part of you or your body (alienable objects).
Ex: la’u nofoa or my chair — because it is not part of me or my body (alienable)
Samoans consider family as part of them. So, to say my mother you would say lo’u tina and not say la’u tina.
You might think that you could say lo’u ta’avale or my car because it is your car and not someone else’s car. However, if a hurricane came and blew all your things away, even the clothes off your back, something not uncommon in Samoa, all that you’d have left is you and your relationship to your family.