Na'la'la' i hila'-ta, na'matatnga i taotao-ta : Chamorro language as liberation from colonization

Kuper, Kenneth Douglas Gofigan
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
This thesis aims to explore the connection between decolonization and language revitalization in Guåhan, an island in the Marianas archipelago. This thesis argues that one could better understand the manifestations, obstacles, and complexities of decolonization by looking at language revitalization. It also explores the liberatory potential of language and language's importance to a people. This thesis argues that the main obstacle to decolonization is its emphasis on state-centric approaches, and that effective decolonization should be rooted in indigenous values and perspectives. Language revitalization is not only used as a metaphor for decolonization, but is also argued to be a core method and component of effective decolonization. Through an analysis of the history of language oppression, Chamorro-english dictionaries, and community language projects, decolonization and language revitalization will be shown to be intimately connected. Language as a core component of a people will be shown to be an avenue of reconnection, an avenue of empowerment/resistance, and an avenue for community building. Lastly, this thesis breaks down hegemonic ideas about decolonization in Guåhan and calls for a vast Chamorro reimagination.
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Chamorro, Guam, Language Revitalization, Decolonization
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