Gerry: PNG needs national language for better representation

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012

PAPUA New Guinea needs a national language for a better representation at the national and international level, an academic says.
PNG-Australia Alumni Association Goroka chapter president and University of Goroka language lecturer Lawrence Gerry said the language dilemma was seen as an impediment to the development of the country.
“With the diverse linguistic and cultural differences, it makes it really problematic for a specific language to be used as a medium of communication throughout the country,” he said.
Gerry said with more than 860 languages, every citizen generally was expected to be a bilingual.
He said these languages went hand-in-hand with their respective cultures such as “the natives of this country are faced with the dilemma of language choice.”
Presenting his discussion paper in Port Moresby focusing on the dilemma of selecting an appropriate and common language as a symbol of national identity, he said.   
Language played a key role in identifying where a speaker was from.
“Papua New Guineans need to clearly distinguish the languages that we have although we have Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin and English as the three official languages,” he said.
Gerry said PNG had an indispensable language issue on hand that was arguably one of the crises all times in its history.
“Language crises are imminent and it is really problematic to come up with a solution,” he said.