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Talofa is the national greeting of Samoa, an independent nation in Polynesia, and is given in many language guides as the island's version of hello.

As in many traditional cultures on all continents throughout history, hospitality to guests is of high importance in Polynesia and Samoa is no exception. From Samoa, talofa echoes in such phrases as "Ta'alofa" in Tuvalu, "Aloha" in Hawaii and even "Aro'a" among Maori Cook Islanders. The Samoan salutation "To life (live long!" properly translated "Ia ola!" also echoes in places such as Aotearoa (New Zealand), where the formal greeting is Kia Ora and in Tahiti (French Polynesia) where it is Iaorana.

Talofa is also the greeting of the island of Lifou (New Caledonia), and of the island state of Tuvalu. The word was brought to Lifou by the Samoan teachers of the London Missionary Society who converted the population from 1841.


Etymology:

The Official Government Website of American Samoa says: "Talofa is short for 'Si o ta alofa atu,' -- which means, 'I am happy and delighted to give you my love.' When you respond, 'Talofa lava!' you are reciprocating with a full grant of your love and affection." American Samoa Official Web Site


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