During each of my University of Guam classes, one of my last lectures revolves around language revitalization. When I first started doing this, my students were quite confused. They could not understand why they were talking about Chamoru language revitalization in a History of Guam class. However, by the end of the lecture, they gained a much better understanding of the fact that the present language situation is rooted in so many historical factors. Events of the past have affected the present. I try to make them see that what they do will lay the foundation for the Guåhan their children and grandchildren will live in. This is a sample of a story I was brainstorming regarding a future of the Chamorro language in which we do absolutely nothing right now to revitalize the language and make sure it rolls off the tongues of children. Hope you enjoy this small snippet!
The sign reads “Ayugue na gof takhilo’ i fino’-ta.” This is definitely my idea of a Sunday afternoon. Despite its dusty air, dirt-stained floors, and dilapidated walls, this ancient structure has always been my second home. The tiny desk near the “Fino’ ” section of the 4th floor has the perfect amount of light from the sun and has the only desk in the entire building that does not squeak as you sit. It also has just the right amount of solitude. Nobody comes to the 4th floor of the Guam Museum anymore. They say this museum was built in 2016 and everything started to make sense to me. This museum was built 89 years ago! I am sure when it first opened, the floors were so clean you could eat off of them, but in 2095, I would prefer to eat off of a toilet.
I have always found peace here on the 4th floor. There was something very calming about hearing the recordings of that ancient language called Fino’ Chamoru. A 30 minute video with 10 elders from 2016 is kept on loop here on the 4th floor. Nowadays, it is the only place you can hear the ancient language. Nobody speaks that here anymore.