13 Dec 2012

Academic says new law upholding Palauan language will preserve its sophistication

1:38 pm on 13 December 2012

An academic on Pacific Islands development says a new law upholding the Palauan language will ensure people speak it not only informally but on formal and ceremonial occasions.

The law, enacted last week, states that all public and private schools in Palau must offer courses in reading and writing in the Palauan language to students from the first grade to the twelfth grade.

The Director of the Pacific Islands development programme at Hawaii's East West Centre, Gerard Finin, says the law will have positive long-term benefits on the language and ensure people keep speaking it formally.

"It's always important to anticipate that without support for a language it can wither over time. In my experiences in Palau it's still widely used, however the levels of sophistication, reading and writing, certainly are aspects of the language that need to be emphasised."

Gerard Finin from the East West Centre in Hawaii.