Chamorro language competition held for island students
by Brittany Calvo
Guam - With Chamorro Month in full swing, the island's school children put their language skills to the test. For Mount Carmel School 5th grader Pulani Peredo, practicing the Chamorro language is part of preserving the island's culture.
"We need to speak the language, do the culture and all that," Peredo said. This is Peredo's second year in the competition - and she's hoping to impress the judges with her storytelling skills. "I am telling the story about Ping and his donne. It's about this little boy that always asks for candy and the grandpa says there is nothing so he saw the candy on the shelf which wasn't candy. It was donne. Then he took it down and he ate it and he was yelling. He was like, 'Help me, help me, I'm dying - aiiii', and yeah, he was yelling and then his mom came and scolded him," she explained.
Peredo along with a thousand other school children from kindergarten through 12th grade are demonstrating their proficiency in the Chamorro language. UOG Chamorro language professor Ruth Mendiola said, "The language and the culture. The language is the spelling, the oratorical, the proficiency. And then the restorative which is the story. That's our culture. We also have the chant and then we have the male and female competition on the songs. And then we have the ege, which is the skit."
Mendiola is excited about the turnout and believes Guam's youth are showing a strong interest in learning the native tongue. "This is one way to really showcase their work in their language whether its speaking the language or even participating in the culture dance and chant," she said.
Peredo says others her age can learn too - they just have to ask. Peredo, who is inspired by her dad, frequently asks him to explain words she doesn't understand. "If you're going to learn Chamorro, just ask what it means in Chamorro. I mean, a lot of children and students out there want to speak Chamorro, but they don't learn," she said.
Tomorrow marks the final day for the Chamorro language competition as well as the annual celebration of the University of Guam's Charter Day.