[lg policy] Chamorro-English dictionary now has over 10, 000 entries

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 09:25:10 EDT 2018

 Chamorro-English dictionary now has over 10,000 entries

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18 *Jul* *2018*
By Lori Lyn C. Lirio - lyn at mvariety.com - Variety News Staff

THERE are now 10,530 entries in the revised Chamorro-English dictionary,
according to Dr. Elizabeth D. Rechebei.

She said over 100 Chamorro speakers were involved in providing information
and new words in the ongoing revision of the 1975 Topping, Ogo and Dungca

Rechebei, Manny Borja and Tita Hocog are the editors of the revised

She said each entry now includes several definitions and at least two or
three example sentences.

She added that the entries came from thematic work groups with knowledge of
traditional healing, local government and politics, food, cultural
practices such as marriage customs, Chamorro family names and nicknames,
names of places, borrowed Japanese, English and other foreign words, types
of fish, fishing techniques, sailing, weather patterns, and other things.

The dictionary editors also consulted Chamorro speakers in Guam, including
the aging centers in almost all of the villages there as well as some
families and individuals, Rechebei said.

They also consulted people on Tinian, Rota and Saipan regarding words the
editors were not sure about. “The editors continue to reach out to many
Chamorro speakers for specific information such as the local names of
certain plants, fish or abstract terms.”

The people involved in the project are all volunteers, she said, adding
that the revision of the Chamorro-English dictionary started in 2009.

Rechebei said the July 2009 revised orthography was adopted by the CNMI
Legislature in December 2010. It is now the official Chamorro Orthography
for the Northern Mariana Islands.

“It has been adopted by the Public School System and is the orthography
used for all government translations by the CNMI Chamorro/Carolinian
Language Policy Commission and the ongoing revision of the 1975
Chamorro-English Dictionary.”

The CNMI Legislature provided funding through the Inetnun Amutyan Kuttura,
a non-profit group, to cover travel, supplies/materials, and related costs
including the initial publication of the dictionary when completed.

The project was initially funded by the National Science Foundation through
a grant by Dr. Sandra Chung, professor of linguistics at the University of
California, Santa Cruz, and Dr.  Elizabeth D. Rechebei.

The Northern Marianas Humanities Council sponsored the project for three
years, and also funded the workshop to revise the orthography led by the
language commission under the chairmanship of William Macaranas and the
dictionary workgroups whose members included Carmen Taimanao, Bernadita
Sablan, Rita Guerrero, Cindy Reyes, Dr. Sandra Chung, and other former
Chamorro teachers.

“The people who were involved in the early work on this dictionary realized
the need to revise the Chamorro orthography to be consistent with the way
the language is actually spoken,” Rechebei said.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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