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Mobile app teaches you to speak Chamorro

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As Chamorros across the globe celebrate Chamorro Month, one Guam civic organization, the Young Men's League of Guam, is taking their efforts to the promote the Chamorro language to the 21st Century. Public information officer Wil Castro said, "We spend a great amount of time in our day using mobile devices or laptops, in fact, Forbes Magazine put out we spend about 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on a mobile device and 86% of that time is actually spent on a mobile app."

The league, in collaboration with Niche Creatives, has launched the Speak Chamorro application, an application that provides a Chamorro word of the day to help user learn to speak the Chamorro language. Castro said, "We have the definition of that Chamorro word of the day, we have the translation of the Chamorro word into English we have the use of that Chamorro word in a Chamorro sentence and the translation of that Chamorro sentence into English as well."

Joe Mesa of Niche Creatives said the words can also be shared with friends and family on social media. However this is just the first phase of the project, with much more ambitious goals still to come. Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, who is the honorary chairman of the Centenial Committee, shares his hopes for future versions, saying, "When you go on Google Translate for example, if you can press on the speaker button for example, if you have somebody's voice that says the word and the sentence in Chamorro, so you know you might be able to read it but you don't know where the inflections are, you don't know where the emphasis is placed on the right syllable or where the glota, and how the glota works into the word, that's an important part of speaking the language."

The future version may include audio, a search feature, lesson plan, as well as historical tidbits about the Chamorro culture. Young Men's League of Guam president Bob Pelkey said, "This app opportunity is a great way to expose the Young Men's League of Guam and the language, perpetuating our language and culture."

He said the drive is part of the organization's drive to 100, a drive to increase membership and raise $100,000 in celebration of its 100 year anniversary in 2017. The app, which is free for download, has already been launched on Google Play , and will be available on iTunes in the coming weeks. 

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