Plan to preserve language

Highlands, Normal

The National, Wednesday May 27th, 2015

 THE Kere people of the Suwaii Local Level Government in Sinesine-Yongomugl district, Chimbu, will have their language preserved in a form of video documentation to be completed in 2017.

“The videos will serve as educational materials in the Kere community to help the more than 4000 Kere people, especially children, learn about their rich linguistic and cultural heritage,” according to Professor Andrea Berez Kroeker from the Linguistics Department of the University of Hawaii.

The “video-based documentation of Kere language in socio-cultural perspective” will be filmed in the Kere language with Tok Pisin and English subtitles.

“Kere is a language that is closely related to Tabare and Kuman and like many of the PNG languages, is considered by linguists to be endangered because more Kere children speak Tok Pisin than Kere,” she said.

The project will create a series of documentary films showing the Kere language being used in many different situations with an emphasis on Kere-specific cultural activities.

“Historically, PNG with diverse cultures has more than 800 languages, which clearly shows that people have different cultures and speak different languages,” she said.

She said it was vital to preserve such original languages to help the future generation. The project was sponsored by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Kroeker first met Bafinuc Ilai, a local film-maker and Kere speaker, when she came to PNG for a language documentation workshop at the University of Goroka in 2012.

She returned in 2013 and was assisted by Ilai to plan the project.

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