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By Kennedy Edene

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 26, 1999 - Independent)---Koiari people around the Sogeri Valley area in Central province now have a dictionary of the Koiari language.

The dictionary has been released, but a bigger and better one is already under way and will be ready by 2001 or 2002.

Victor Dumo Tom from Kailaki village in Sogeri is responsible for the translation project.

Although the project is funded by the Australian National University (ANU), all translation work is being done in Papua New Guinea before materials are sent to Canberra.

Mr. Tom said the main purpose in developing the dictionary is to make communication easier for outsiders and the Koiari people, especially the elders.

The dictionary will be used in all Koiari elementary schools and by those who want to learn about Koiari traditions, he said. Beginners will learn to read, write, speak and understand more easily and quickly and avoid mistakes by using the dictionary.

So far, he has distributed dictionaries to Itikinunu and Ogotana elementary schools and plans to introduce them to other schools within the Koiari area soon, from elementary school up to Sogeri National High School.

"Because of the rapid social changes, the true or mother tongue style of speaking and pronouncing words is varying, and it is necessary to be prepared and to be equipped to teach the younger generations before they totally lose their local language or even do not understand it," Tom said.

The dictionary is produced in two parts: bi-lingual, where the Koiari words and meanings are defined in English, and mono-lingual, with Koiari words defined in Koiari itself.

For additional reports from The Independent, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Independent (Papua New Guinea).

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