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Living Languages and Indigenous Spaces

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By Fermina Sablan Program Specialist Guam Community College fermina.sablan@guamcc.edu

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Abstract: The last 100 years have seen the accelerated deterioration of the native Chamorro language. Unfortunately, we are not alone in this tragedy of language loss. If the Chamorro language is not given spaces for conversations and visibility within our communities, it will become a statistic along with tribal languages that have been lost as the last speaker dies. At this juncture in our native history, there is a resurgence for the revitalization of the native Chamorro language. Based on previous language surveys, the Chamorro language is in danger of continued deterioration. As Chamorro people, we need to have a “Unified Approach” towards language restoration and viability. We have to be strategic, purposeful, intentional, committed, and unified in our efforts to restore the “spoken Chamorro language” within our private and public spaces. We have to build collaborative networks for viable sustainability. The last 100 years have seen the accelerated deterioration of the native Chamorro language. Unfortunately, we are not alone in this tragedy of language loss. If the Chamorro language is not alive within us and given spaces for conversations and visibility within our homes and our communities, it will become a statistic along with many tribal languages that have been lost as the last speaker dies. At this juncture in our native history, there are concerted efforts for the revitalization of the native Chamorro language. As Chamorro people, we need to have a “Unified Approach” towards language restoration, vitality, viability, and sustainability. We have to be strategic, purposeful, intentional, committed, and unified in our efforts to restore the “spoken Chamorro language” within our private and public spaces. We have to build collaborative networks for viable sustainability.

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Based on previous language surveys, the Chamorro language is in danger of continued deterioration.

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Let us imagine what it would be like if we could hear ourselves once again in the sounds of our language, the Chamorro language, the language of this homeland. When I hear the spoken language, it is like music to my ears. 2nd Marianas History Conference 2013 ・ !137

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