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UH Hilo takes leadership role in international language consortium

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642
Director, Media Relations, University Relations
Posted: Mar 18, 2011

Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has accepted an invitation to take a leadership role in language revitalization for the Consortium for Training in Language Documentation and Conservation (CTLDC). Kaleimamo Galla, an assistant professor at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, will serve on the international organization’s steering committee.

The CTLDC held its 2nd International Conference of Language Documentation and Conservation February 11-13 at UH Mānoa. The conference was followed by a field study hosted by Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani on February 14 and 15 at UH Hilo.

Larry Kimura, assistant professor at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, spoke at the Mānoa conference. His plenary presentation, “The journey for the survival of the Hawaiian language: Connecting some dots before 1981 in creating Native speakers of second language parents,” previewed what participants would learn at the Hilo field study.

The field study and He ‘Ōlelo Ola conference, “A living Hawaiian language: To know the world through the Hawaiian language,” attracted approximately 70 participants from across the United States, Canada, Aotearoa, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, Rapa Nui, Russia, Scotland and the United Kingdom. The field study and conference allowed Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani to share expertise and knowledge with those who are striving to revitalize their indigenous languages.

Participants sampled classes taught in Hawaiian language from the infant/toddler level through the university level, followed by panel presentations at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i. The majority of the panel presentations were in Hawaiian with simultaneous translation in English.

Some of the topics discussed were: Hawaiian language in media; the role of the university in Hawaiian language and culture revitalization; archived written and oral documentation and intergenerational language transfer.

“This is the most powerful conference I have ever attended in my life,” said one participant.