Monday, August 31, 2015

Remember your own dialect

from w
I read in today's Fiji Times that in Fiji some of the dialects are now forgotten.  That's a pity as it's lovely to hear the distinctive differences in the Fiji dialects. Of course the Labasa dialect is unique with its deletion of 'k' and 't' most of the time as well as extra words not used elsewhere.  And 'our' family language is still used in Labasa, Mali, Wailevu and nearby.  Bula sia!

Extinct dialects

Sikeli Qounadovu
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
NINETEEN out of about 300 iTaukei dialects are now extinct or probably extinct.
And according to linguist Dr Paul Geraghty, there are many reasons for this. However, the number is likely to increase if nothing is done about it.
"There are many reasons for them becoming extinct. Colonisation, westernisation or more importantly because the people do not value their own dialects," Mr Geraghty said
Referencing a 2003 paper, The Language Situation in Fiji by Francis Mangubhai of the University of Southern Queensland and Francis Mugler of the University of the South Pacific, a further 17 are losing their distinctiveness, in addition to four more losing their phonological distinctiveness. Mr Geraghty added these areas do not speak their true dialects because a lot of words had been borrowed from other places.
"A lot of these dialects have been borrowed from standard Fijian (iTaukei), when there are really words from their dialect that can be used."
He said in order to avoid the extinction of one's dialect one must first learn to respect one's communalect while showing the same courtesy for standard iTaukei.
"Whatever knowledge we have the parents and the old please do share with your family. Do not be embarrassed to speak your own dialect, because the more you are embarrassed to converse in your communalect, the more likely it is to become extinct."
Dr Geraghty confirms that at the University of South Pacific he emphasises to his students to converse and write in their own dialects and value them highly.
Meanwhile the iTaukei Affairs Ministry is worried, Fiji may lose one of their most prized identity and that is its language. And to avoid this from ever happening, the iTaukei Affairs is working around the clock to ensure that this does not ever occur.
In an interview with the Fiji Times Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Mr Savenacala Kaunisela said this is evident as the standard of the quality of iTaukei language is no longer, as compared to the past.
"Some of us cannot speak our language, others there is a mixture of iTaukei and English. There can come a time that we may lose our language."
Mr Kaunisela said they are engaging the iTaukei Trust Fund to see to the protection of the iTaukei identity.
"We have published books, the book comes with pictures which the young can read and understand, and because one thing we have seen is everything is in English so why not have something in plain and simple itaukei language which the young can also understand."
He said as part of Government's initiative they are visiting villages and educating them the importance of preserving and protecting their identity as well as teaching their younger generation the importance of knowing and understanding their identity - language, customs and traditions.
Compulsory studying of the iTaukei language in the education system is another government initiative to protect its unique identity.
However, according to one of the lecturers in the Fijian language at the University of the South Pacific - Mr Sekove Degei while the dialect can be lost, it is impossible to lose Standard Fijian is impossible.
"I do not agree as a sizeable population of iTaukei are in the urban areas, while the rest are in the villagers and it's those in the villages who still speak their language."
"Put it simple, if a child is grounded in his customs and traditions from home he will never forget them no matter where he goes."

No comments: