Sunday, March 19, 2017

Learning Chamorro Website Launches!

For several years I have been assisting Siñora Rosa Palomo and Professor Gerhard Schwab who are my colleagues at the University of Guam with the development of an amazing, new, free language learning website built around the learning of the Chamorro language.

Humuyongña i na'ån-ña "Learning Chamorro." 

After years of tirelessly working on building the site, it was launched last week. A Pacific Daily News article about it, was picked up by USA Today and shared several thousand times on social media. The website would not be possible without the love labor of GuamWebz and Rhaj Sharma. Some media on the launch can be found below.

Sen magof hu na put fin in baba este na website.

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Date: March 12, 2017

We take this opportunity to thank everyone of you for registering and continuously visiting our website. All of us together have visited our website more than 1.7 million times. It is your continuous encouragement and support that has kept us going. THANK YOU !

We are delighted to officially launch our website on Monday, March 13, 2017 at the University of Guam. Dr. Robert Underwood, President, and Dr. Anita Enriquez, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs of the University of Guam will be the main speakers at the launch.

We are committed to continue the development of our website in order for all of us to continue to enjoy learning Chamorro.

Sincerely;
Señora Rosa S. Palomo, who teaches Chamorro at the University of Guam,
Mr. Rhaj Sharma from GuamWebz, and
Drs. Michael Bevacqua and Gerhard Schwab also from the University of Guam

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LearningChamorro.com launched to keep language alive
by Isa Baza
March 13, 2017
KUAM

The 2017 Chamorro Language Competition kicked-off at the University of Guam today, celebrating storytelling and also announcing the launch of a new website that aims to help people of all ages learn Chamorro.

UOG professor Dr. Michael Bevacqua said, "Nowadays to learn Chamorro you have to be brave, hardworking, courageous - you have to basically be willing to put in a lot of work because you don't hear the Chamorro language as much anymore around the island, and so a website like this is very important for those who didn't get a chance to learn it as a child, to try to learn it as an adult."

You can visit the website at learningchamorro.com.

Meanwhile the Chamorro Language Competition continues tomorrow with a focus on categories including storytelling and poetry.

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 University of Guam Launches Online Chamorro Language Resources
by John Borja
Pacific Daily News
March 3, 2017
The Chamorro language is now more accessible than ever, thanks to a locally made website that teaches the native tongue. 
LearningChamorro.com is an online, learner-driven resource geared towards teaching the language, whether you’re from Guam or abroad. Gerhard Schwab, website founder and University of Guam social work professor, gave an online tour during the website’s launch Monday at the university.
The website’s mission is to further advance the Chamorro language and help people improve language fluency.

“The whole emphasis behind learning Chamorro is a very pressure-packed movement,” UOG President Robert Underwood said at the website’s launch.

Underwood recalled how, in his younger days, others spoke Chamorro more fluently than him and he sometimes found it difficult to keep up with them. The language will be easier to learn now with the website’s resources, he said.

The website is free and easy to navigate through, Schwab said. To begin, a user must create an account that requires a name, email address and password. The user then has access to the various teaching materials, which are a combination of audio, visual and interactive text. The user gains skill levels as they engage in more of the website’s features, Schwab said.
Schwab explained that the website has five main features:
  • a dictionary with more than 12,000 Chamorro words and their English meaning;
  • Chamorro lessons that teach various words and phrases in the language, depending on skill level;
  • a grammar section that explains Chamorro sentence structure and various pronouns;
  • basic conversations in Chamorro that are useful at home, work, school and more;
  • and a media section that gives the user access to audio clips, video and real-life documents to use as learning tools.
A significant feature of the website is the integration of the dictionary in the Chamorro lessons and dialogue. As Schwab explained, users just need to hover over a Chamorro word to find out what it means in English. Another option allows the reader to see a breakdown of a Chamorro sentence, detailing its structure and meaning.

The website is still growing and more content will be added to enhance the Chamorro learning experience, Schwab said.

LearningChamorro.com began as a class assignment four years ago in UOG’s Chamorro Studies program, Schwab said. As a student in the program, Schwab was inspired by the language and decided to pursue it outside the classroom. Schwab said he received help from web developer GuamWebz and the contributions of more than 100 people to put the website together.
UOG Chamorro professors Michael Bevacqua and Rosa Palomo are the main contributors, with the latter as chief editor, according to Schwab. Rhaj Sharma from GuamWebz provided technical support, Schwab added.

Schwab said there currently are more than 2,900 users on the website. Fifty percent of them are from Guam, 40 percent are from the U.S. mainland and the rest are international users living in countries such as Japan, Afghanistan, Australia and France.

“Learning Chamorro means different things to different people and poses particular challenges,” the website states. “It is much more than learning words, you participate in and shape cultural and historical processes."

Pacific Daily News
 
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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