2017 Chamorro Language Competition celebrates storytelling, launches new Chamorro learning website

by Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D., College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Guam
Stripes Guam

Mangilao, Guam - On March 13-14, 2017, the Chamorro Studies Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Guam will hold its annual “Inacha’igen Fino’ CHamoru,” or Chamorro language competition.

Each year, hundreds of students from both private and public schools throughout the Marianas gather to compete against each other in categories that test their knowledge of speaking, reading, writing, and singing in the Chamorro language. The theme for this year’s competition is “I Fino’ CHamoru: Ta Hungok, Ta Li’e’, Ta Sångan, Pues Nihi Ta Mantieni!”: "The Chamorro Language: We Hear, We See, We Speak, So Let’s Hold On to It!”

The first day of the competition will take place on Monday, March 13, from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the CLASS Lecture Hall and feature categories for individual contestants. On this day, students will compete in the storytelling, oratorical and poetry recitation categories. The second day of the competition will take place on Tuesday, March 14, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Calvo Field House. This day will feature large group elementary and middle school dance and chant competitions in the morning and high school competitions in dramatic performance, singing, and language proficiency in the afternoon.

Each competitive event will be judged by members of the community who are fluent in the Chamorro language. For each category, gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded for first, second, and third place finishers.

On Monday, March 13, this year’s Inacha’igen Fino’ CHamoru will begin with a press conference and demonstration in the CLASS Lecture Hall of a new website, “Learning Chamorro,” which can be accessed at www.LearningChamorro.com>. The website is a collaboration between Chamorro Studies and Social Work faculty at the University of Guam, most prominently Dr. Gerhard Schwab and Siñora Rosa Palomo. By working with Chamorro Studies majors and Chamorro-language DOE teachers, they have created a free website that features lessons, activities, and media designed to fit the needs of any level of Chamorro-language learner.  

The Inacha’igen Fino’ CHamoru is made possible because of our generous sponsors: the Office of the Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Guam Visitor’s Bureau, Quality Distributors, and the Young Men’s League of Guam. The organizing committee for this year’s competition includes the following Chamorro Studies and Chamorro language faculty from the University of Guam: Siñot Joseph Franquez (co-chair) and Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua (co-chair), Siñora Rosa Salas Palomo, Siñora Ruth Mendiola, Siñora Teresita Flores, Siñora Ann Rivera, and Dr. James Viernes.

This event is free and open to the public. The entire community is invited to come and watch this celebration of the indigenous language of the Mariana Islands and support efforts to perpetuate it for future generations.

Media Contact:
Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D.

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