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How well do you know Chamorro?

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - For a dozen Government of Guam employees, they'll be put to the test for the next couple of week on their knowledge on the Chamorro language and culture as part of Chamorro Month.

Many questions are being asked during Inakontran Tiningo' Put Irensia, Kottura Yan Fino'chamorro. Department of Chamorro Affairs president Joseph Cameron explains, saying, "It's the competition amongst the departments amongst Government of Guam agency employees, so it's pretty good - it's a competition on language. The content would be on heritage, language, legends, etc."

A dozen GovGuam departments and agencies are pitted against each other in teams of four for the next three Fridays. Today's two competitions were the Department of Education vs. The Guam Legislature and the Judiciary of Guam vs. the Guam Community College. "The purpose is to set awareness and to get the agencies involved in perpetuating the language and the culture, the heritage, the history," Cameron said.

Cameron says the competition falls in line with Chamorro Month's theme of planting the seeds of our heritage among our children. "It starts in the home and these guys are parents, so if you really enforce the fact that you're starting it yourself, you can't help but bring it home," he said.

Cameron says he hopes participants brush up on their history books and dictionaries as every question and every answer is 100% in the Chamorro language. He gives an example of what to expect. "For example, what is a place of learning for children and they say I guma uro tao - another is 'how do you say 15 minutes 'till 1?' and they answer in Chamorro and they might say 'how do you discipline a child?' and one of the answers could be, 'you spank them'. Like that," he explained.

GovGuam employees to school children are invited to attend to learn more about the Chamorro language and culture. The competitions are set every Friday this month from 9:30 to 11:30 in the morning and 1:30 to 2:30 in the afternoon. The first three teams to advance will head to an elimination round and then to the final round set for April 4 at 2pm. All competitions take place the Chamorro Village main pavilion and admission is free.

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