I usually respond by saying that I've tried to read and write in Samoan as much as possible, and study the grammars. When I was living in Provo, Utah, close to the Missionary Training Center, I'd sometimes volunteer to either interpret meetings, firesides, and devotionals, or to meet with the newly called missionaries who were either English speakers learning Samoan, or Samoan speakers learning English, so they could practice their languages.
In addition, I took a couple of Samoan language and culture classes at BYU, and since moving to Hawaii, I've been able to take a number of Samoan classes, taught in Samoan, at the University of Hawaii.
Though some of my experiences have been unique (e.g., classes at UH), much of what I've done to retain my Samoan language abilities could be duplicated by anyone with the desire, discipline, a few key texts, and a computer. Fortunately, there are more resources now available online than there ever has been before (fodder for another post, but if you must know, leave me a comment).
The newest resource for retaining, and even improving, your Samoan language skills has just arrived, only this time you can have your puligi and eat it too: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created opportunities for anyone--not just its members--to participate in online service projects through the website Helping in the Vineyard.
There's a lot you can do there, regardless of language ability, but let me cut to the chase for the Samoan speakers. We are now able to participate in a community translation project where we can do our part, however small, to translate the Religion 333 Institute course entitled Teachings of the Living Prophets.
Using a slick online platform, you can translate as little as a sentence or as much as the entire manual, all in the comfort of your own living room. The more translators we get involved, the faster this project will be finished.
To get started, create an account at Helping in the Vineyard, sign up to do translation in the Opportunities section, then do the short training to familiarize yourself with the Lingotek program. Before long, you'll be improving your Samoan language abilities and helping out in a good cause.
Sign up now, the due date for the Teachings of the Living Prophets manual is August 31st, 2011!
Ia tatou faʻaauau la tatou galuega faʻafaifeʻau talaʻi, ina ia tatou aumaia o tatou uso ma tuafafine ia Iesu Keriso! Ia Soifua!