Online Dictionary app will help preserve Cook Islands language
An expert in minority laguages at Auckland's University of Technology says a new online Cook Islands dictionary will play a strong role in helping to preserve the language.
An expert in minority languages at Auckland's University of Technology says a new online Cook Islands dictionary will play a strong role in helping to preserve the language.
The CI Dictionary app was launched at AUT in New Zealand and contains 17,000 words.
Tania Ka'ai told Indira Moala the app will allow Cook Islanders to celebrate their language and culture through digital technology.
TANIA KA'AI: It's a tool to help bridge communication, foster communication, foster a sense of identity for Cook Islanders in the communities. It's a way of hooking them in. It's about them, it's about their language and their identity. And there's cultural knowledge that can be loaded onto the app as well so it's more than just a dictionary. It has images and photographs. And you know, we've got that happening with the Mangai'an dictionary - they're very advanced in putting material up. They can meet their community, the language community, through this app.
INDIRA MOALA: So there's a bit of a social networking feature on this app?
TK: Yes, yes. It's important that we understand that we're socializing the app through Facebook, and through social media so that our communities know that it's not just about language it's around cultural knowledge as well.
IM: So do you think this app will help strengthen and preserve Cook Islands culture, even internationally?
TK: Yes. Wherever our communities are, we see them all over the world, from London, you know we see them in stands watching the world cup, you see them in Australia, in the West Coast of U.S., Hawaii, Japan, you name it. They're there. Our communities are there. Living off island to try and create new lives. But they can take and carry language and culture with them. And this is one tool, one way, that will help that to be realised and make them better communities. Stronger, healthier, communities.
IM: That's awesome. You mentioned going back next year on a trip to the Cook Islands and recording audio of the locals speaking the reo. How important do you think it is to hear the natives speak the language?
TK: It is important because so much in a language is around intonation and clarity. The way in which you may speak. You know, to say a word, and the way you express that word as a native speaker, is important for us to have those examples. Those exemplars for us to be able to know how to pronounce words. Because we could make mistakes that could actually change language and change the meaning. So having native speakers of the language record their voices, and you know, female and male speakers, it provides that benchmark that we all want to achieve. You know, that level of language, the standard of language, that we all want to achieve as second-language learners. So it is vital we hear those voices. And we preserve them forever. That's marvellous, we preserve those voices forever.
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