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Closed Book publications in Ambrym languages

Port Vato, Vanuatu

Closed Book publications in Ambrym languages

Fill 100x100 original krifka foto

endangered languages, education

M. Krifka from M. KrifkaWrite a message

I am the principal investigator of a project on languages of the island of
Ambrym in Vanuatu, South Pacific (see Our work is document at the video blog

Before our project, there was practically no publication on, or in, these languages. We have developed orthographies, compiled dictionaries, recorded narrations, and wrote them down in the new orthography. This was done in collaboration with the language committees that were established by the people. For the language Daakie, there was also a wish to have a children's bible translated, and perhaps additional texts. I have done this as well.

There is a first publication available on two languages by Kilu von Prince, and we have distributed 200 copies last year. It can be ordered for a small price at Amazon (just look for "Daakaka"). Now we want to do the same for Daakie. There is a children's primer with illustrations, a collection of stories with translations to Bislama, a translation of a children's bible with illustrations, and a dictionary. Preliminary versions can be downloaded at the following links:

Vanuatu is a very poor state, and people in Ambrym hardly have the money or know the means to buy these books. So, if you want to support the production of as many copies as possible, you can help me by giving financial support to this project. If you send 30 Euros or more, I will make sure that your name will be printed as a sponsor in one of these books; but then please do so before May 31, 2013.

The printed books mean a lot for the people of Ambrym, for the education of their children, and perhaps also for the survival of their languages. Children now learn to read and write in French and English, which constitutes a huge problem, as they have to learn a new language right from the start when they enter school. Also, the teachers are not very well trained, and there is very little school material. Starting alphabetization with the native language will without doubt simplify teaching in the kindergarten class. Furthermore, as there are now books in their own language, and a standard orthography that makes writing and reading easy, the languages will acquire a new status within the communities.