Sunday, November 09, 2008

Revision work on Chamorro dictionary underway

By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

A committee to revise the 33-year old Chamorro-English Dictionary has started reviewing entries for a new edition that members will be working on for three years.

As part of initial efforts, committee members held a teleconference yesterday with linguist Sandra Chang from the University of California-Sta. Cruz.

The Revision Committee members are Vicente Borja, Rita Guerrero and Gonzalo Santos (Susupe); Carmen S. Taimanao, Noel Quitugua and William Macaranas (Guinifi); Bernie P. Sablan, Paz C. Younis and Manny F. Borja (Langat); Jose Sanchez, Viola Guerrero and Dan Quitugua (Attu'asi); Tita A. Hocog and Magdalena SN Mesngon (Luta); Angie C. Fitial (Tinian); and Dr. Liz Rechebei and Dr. Rita Hocog Inos (Sainan Cho'cho').

Rechebei and Inos are coordinating the committee, which is composed of four working groups.

The three-year project is in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and funded by the Northern Marianas Islands Council for the Humanities.

Rechebei said some of the main activities of the working groups would be to check the accuracy of the definitions and to indicate grammatical errors.

With the use of a software called 2BOX, the working groups would be able to identify some major changes as well as additional entries.

“One working group will give its work to another working group for it to review and after each group reviewed it, it would be handed over to us,” Rechebei said, adding that it would be a long process.

She said they would be consulting experts of the language such as fishermen, farmers, and people who have basic knowledge in other fields such as culture and arts.

“These are the people who really know the language. We will be convening them because they are very knowledgeable in, let's say, about the parts of a house or parts of a canoe. They would be able to define such words or entries,” Rechebei explained.

She said different groups may have different opinions but this is part of the process of putting these different opinions into proper perspective.

“Language is always evolving. We will continue to enrich the Chamorro language,” Rechebei said.

She described committee members as really dedicated and are making a lot of progress.

“It is a very exciting process and we are fortunate that we have these people to put their energies. It is also a great learning experience for all of us,” she said.

Rechebei said they hope that their end product would be used in schools and the public.

Rechebei said that Chang is currently doing a second part of the project, a reference grammar book that would be an oral history of the Chamorro language.


Bryce said...

That is very interesting about the new Chamorro-English Dictionary.

Did you know that Chamorro now has a wiki browser? Be sure to check it out: Chamoru wiki browser

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