Arawak Language to be revived in Orealla /Siparuta

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 22, 2019

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2019 as International Year of Indigenous Languages and the Indigenous Affairs Ministry is throwing its support behind the residents of Orealla-Siparuta in the perseveration of their native Arawak language.

In the Region6 Indigenous community, the language revival was initiated by the residents after a visit from linguists who researched their native tongue. While on a visit to the region, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Valarie Garrido-Lowe committed to supporting the revival of the Arawak language.

“We will agree to pay for two tutors for twelve months throughout the International Year of Indigenous languages programme,” she told residents.

Apart from the tutors, the ministry will also print simple lessons and Arawak phrases as well as provide Arawak dictionaries to the communities.  There will also be a music competition in the village and other villages as part of the nationwide observance of the year.

Speaking at a community meeting, Coordinator of activities for year, Ovid Williams highlighted the need to preserve Indigenous languages. “We are trying to revive the various Indigenous languages so that we can speak among ourselves, thereby preserving it… the researchers said every two weeks a native language becomes extinct because we are not practising it.”

He noted that while the early churches educated the Indigenous people, they also prevented them from practising their inherent language. This, he said, is partly the reason why several Indigenous languages are not spoken today.

“Our languages are oral, all our history, the legends the myths that we have, are handed down by talking. In the evening, we have a campfire or even before you sleep like bedtime stories, our grandfathers and grandmothers would tell stories, that has stopped in our languages.”

Williams advises Indigenous peoples to embrace their culture and practice their native languages. He also disclosed that he has established a translation service for persons requiring assistance in the translation of Indigenous languages Interest person can call telephone number 592-664-4987.

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