Post Courier Language preservation a challenge

PARENTS in urban areas ought to take more responsibility in imparting knowledge on their native tongues and culture to children as language preservation in urban areas is an increasing challenge as PNG continues to develop and modernise.

Director of the PNG National Research Institute Dr Osborne Sanida made these remarks at the 54th International Conference of Linguistics Society of PNG where both local and international linguists have convened to discuss the challenges and solutions toward preserving PNG’s unique languages.
He said PNG is a multilingual society whose 800-plus languages ​​are deeply rooted in the cultures and identities of people and their preservation is vital.

“As far as continuous speaking of the languages ​​is concerned, in a rural setting, it may not be a problem because all children grow up speaking the indigenous language before learning English. However, it is a challenge in towns and cities, where children learn to speak English first and probably many don’t get to learn their parents’ mother tongue,” he said.

He said that the responsibility to impart knowledge on language and culture lies on the shoulders of parents who should take a serious approach to it.

“This is a challenge that perhaps adults need to address in terms of whether they teach their children and their indigenous language and the motivation to do so,” Dr Sanida said.

The International Conference of Linguistics Society of PNG was a two-day event that concluded yesterday at National Research Institute.

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