UOG Hosts Symposium on Future of the CHamoru Language on May 4

UOG Hosts Symposium on Future of the CHamoru Language on May 4

UOG Hosts Symposium on Future of the CHamoru Language on May 4


Chachalani Mo'na
Tun Bill Paulino is interviewed in CHamoru by Jeremy Cepeda and Janice Toves in the media room at the University of Guam.

The public is invited to a free symposium on the future of the CHamoru Language at the University of Guam. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, May 4, in the Lecture Hall on the UOG campus and will be livestreamed on Zoom.

A decreasing number of people speak CHamoru as a first language, and fewer still raise their children speaking it. Because of this, CHamoru is increasingly in danger of being lost and is currently undergoing significant changes. The University of Guam was awarded a National Science Foundation grant under the Documenting Endangered Languages program to document these changes and to document the language as spoken by first language speakers on Guam.

The grant, Goggue yan CHachalani Mo’na i Fino’-ta (chachalani.com), is led by Dr. Robert Underwood, former president of UOG, and Dr. David Ruskin, former chair of the linguistics program at UOG. This project helped train a dozen local students and CHamoru teachers in documentary linguistics to build Guam’s capacity to produce archive-quality audio recordings and transcripts. This cadre of documenters conducted interviews with expert speakers, which are now being transcribed, translated, and marked for grammatical content.

The recordings will be placed at the University of Hawaii’s Kaipuleohone Archive as well as at the Micronesian Area Resource Center. These materials will be freely available to the CHamoru community, the general public, and researchers worldwide to help foster scholarship and understanding of the language.

Dr. Underwood observes, “An exciting development in recent years is the addition of hundreds of second language speakers of CHamoru. This will assist in maintaining the language past the next generation. But we do need to understand how CHamoru was spoken by generations past. Chachalani provides a path forward to use past knowledge to advance new understandings.”

The symposium, co-hosted by I Kumision I Fino’ CHamoru and the UOG College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will discuss the project and the possible futures of the CHamoru language. Speakers include Project members Dr. Robert Underwood, Dr. David Ruskin, and Sña. Janice Toves, Project Consultant Sña. Sera Taitano, UOG Libraries members Dean Monique Storie, Dr. Ken Kuper, and Sñ. Ryan Shook, Kumision members Sña. Rosa Salas Palomo and Sña. Hope Cristobal, Department of Education member Sñ. Jimmy Teria, and a panel of younger speakers including Sñ. Dakota Camacho, Sñ. Terrence Diego, and Sña. Fu’una Sanz.

The symposium will be held on Saturday, May 4th, from 10am to noon, in the UOG CLASS Lecture Hall, or virtually on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/96476836212). No registration is required. Additional information is available at https://chachalani.com/

For more information, contact Dr. David Ruskin (671-727-1266) or Dr. Robert Underwood (671-727-7715).