Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ni ngai'an nahong un linguahe

Hafa adai! Hafa tatatmanu hao? Na'an-hu si Leilani, taotao O'ahu yo.

As the title of the post says, "One language isn't enough,"  and so I've challenged myself to learn Chamorro in the next few months, possibly years. My goal isn't fluency, but rather to be a part in its revitalization. I've chosen to learn Chamorro for many reasons. On a personal level, three of my cousins on my da's side are Chamorro, so I do feel a personal stake in its survival and revitalization. This is my cousins' culture and language, and I would like for them to live in a world where they can hear their Mother Tongue being spoken freely and abundantly, instead of hearing about their Mother Tongue in academic and linguistics circles as an extinct language from the Marianas islands. Language is such a visceral part of culture and by extension, oneself. So first and foremost, my goal of learning Chamorro is my cousins' cultural and linguistic survival, so that their people and language will always be "here" instead of "was here."

Intellectually, I am fascinated by the Chamorro language. Modern Chamorro shares a lot of loan words with Spanish. Ancient Chamorro is also very similar to the indigenous languages of the Philippines before they were colonized by the Spaniards. As I began reading and listening to the Chamorro language, I was awashed by a sense of familiarity and kinship. It felt like I knew the language intuitively, from the depths of of my soul.

So here begins my journey to Chamorro language learning. I look forward to doing my part in ensuring that my cousins' language will not be relegated as an ancient linguistic relic in the annals of history.

Biba Chamorro!

1 comment:

Royce Sarusal said...

Aloha Leilani, wow this is an interesting post of yours and an intriguing venture. Where/how do you learn the Chamorro language? I wish my kids would look more into learning it than from just Auntie and me.

Give your mom our love! How is she?

Uncle Royce

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl