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Project Team Crisscrosses Island to Survey 6,500 Community Members

Language SurveyersPa’a Taotao Tano’, a nonprofit organization dedicated to perpetuating the cultural traditions of the indigenous people of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, conducted a one-year Language Preservation and Maintenance ANA project in 2010 to assess the status of the Chamorro language in Guam.

Working with faculty from the University of Guam, a six-person project team developed a survey to shed light on the extent to which people of different age groups, genders, and geographic locales could understand, speak, read, and write the Chamorro language; how they used the language; and what were the prevailing community attitudes toward the language.

After developing the survey, five team members traversed the island for six months, visiting all 19 of Guam’s villages, carefully ensuring that 10 percent of each village’s population was surveyed.

During the survey period, the survey team attended island festivals, cultural events, flea markets, concerts, and night markets, and went door to door, collecting 6,542 surveys, equal to slightly over 10 percent of Guam’s Chamorro population. After analyzing the survey data, the team produced a report on the status of the Chamorro language in Guam.

The team distributed the report to all 19 Village Mayors, the island’s academic and teaching community, and other groups interested in preserving the language. The project team believes this information will assist the island’s political, academic, and cultural leaders in developing effective strategies to perpetuate the Chamorro language.