06 February 2011

CHamoru Language Reference Room Established at Univ. of Guhan (Guam)

Established in the Micronesian Areas Research Centre

Students enrolled in the Fall Intercession class of CM102 Elementary Chamorro II class have been tasked with the establishment of a CHamoru Language Documents Reference Room that will be provided by the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam.

Members of the class consist of Severina Atalig, chairperson; Matthew Taitano Diaz, recorder; Krystal Paco, public relations officer; Sean Sanchez, Joelle Fernandez, Joshua P. Perez, Samantha C. Rivo, Natasha Opena Taitague, Steven John Q. Sablan, and Steven Sonido Sablan.

For decades, emphasis has been on the acquisition of Spanish language documents that have been housed at the center says assistant professor of CHamoru language Peter R. Onedera and instructor during last fall’s intercession period. Little effort has been done to collect documents that have been written in the CHamoru language, and it is timely that the same consideration be given to archive many works that have gone unnoticed and uncollected through the years.

One chief aim for the project is to make available these written works to researchers who will devote time to the linguistic value of the indigenous language. Additional areas that can benefit are orthography, semantics, word origins, antecedents, grammar, lexicons, and other language areas vital to the survival of CHamoru as a member of the Austronesian family of languages. Onedera says that this has largely been lacking in the field of academia and the collection of written works in the CHamoru language will prove valuable as many researchers particularly by the organization of CHIN (Chamorro Linguistics International Network) that was established with Dr. Robert A. Underwood, Rosa Salas Palomo and Onedera as original founding members. The organization is based at the University of Bremen in Germany and includes members from many countries spanning from Europe to the Caribbean, the United States and Asia.

Individuals, organizations, government agencies, private owners and collectors of CHamoru language memorabilia are invited and encouraged to provide copies that range from personal letters, journals, diaries, essays, compositions, books, poetry, lyrics, music, chants, proverbs, booklets, brochures, annual reports, manuscripts, political pamphlets, posters, project proposals, recipes, medicinal and herbal treatment, historical anecdotes, advertisements, legends, myths, stories, public events, organizational charts, ceremonies, religious activities, family tree information, novena books, bibles, guidebooks, scripts and other literary materials that are written in the CHamoru language and can be housed in the reference room at MARC. This appeal is also extended to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas as well as CHamorus now living in the continental United States and elsewhere around the globe says Onedera.

Anyone wishing to contribute these materials may e-mail Onedera at onedera@uguam.uog.edu or ponedera53@yahoo.com.