Monday, March 28, 2011

There's an interesting article in the op-ed section of today's PDN (  In it, author Elwin Champaco Quitano states that the Chamorro Language Program in our public schools has not accomplished its goal, and proposes a radically different alternative to it.

This differs from the idea proposed by newly-elected Senator Mana Silva Taijeron to increase the length of the program in public schools. (

I have always been of the opinion that perhaps the best classroom for learning a language is the home.  If parents speak to their children in the language, the children will learn that language.  It is not for quaint reasons that the term is "mother tongue."  I think the best teachers a child can have is his or her parent(s).  That means in everything : language, religion, manners, thinking, feeling.

There are others ways of learning a language, of course.  But being in an environment where that language is extensively spoken is usually the best way.  I lived in Saipan in the early 1990s and I had to improve in Chamorro.  I had no choice.  It was either improve or not connect with a whole lot of people.  The environment then was very fino' Chamorro.  I heard our language spoken beautifully, day in, day out.  That was my classroom. 

It's hard to be in a swimming pool and not get wet.  It's hard to be surrounded by people speaking Chamorro and not learn a word here or there; then a phrase; then a sentence.  Before you know it, you're writing novels in Chamorro.  You get the picture.

Fan fino' Chamorro gi halom guma'-miyo!


  1. Good post ... I agree, but how do we get this to become widespread on Guam?

  2. My opinion has always been that we learn Chamorro the way we learned English or whatever was our 1st language : slowly, with a lot of mistakes, but with persistence. I think parents could learn a word a day, like I suggest in the blog, and insist on using that word in the home with the children that one day. There are other methods, but if we keep it simple and persistent, we learn.